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

My Stay-At-Home Lifestyle & How I’m Keeping My Life On Track!

Hey y’all!

Super long title, I know. But at this point in time, after a very turbulent start to Social Distancing, I’m FINALLY beginning to feel like I’ve got a good routine going that’s both maintainable and relaxing. I feel like I’m not alone when I say it’s been difficult to not let my life and mental health completely fall apart over the last few months — on one hand, as I’ve been laid off, I don’t exactly have a lot of responsibilities right now outside of blogging, cooking, and cleaning. On the other hand, if I let myself lie around all day, waking up and going to bed whenever I feel like it and just watching Netflix all day, it’ll be a short path to falling into a severe depressive episode and becoming, likely, entirely nocturnal.

Obviously, that’s really not ideal. But I’ve also just come off of the most stressful year of my life — I really need a break. It’s hard to find the balance — trust me, it took me up until now to feel like I was really starting to get the handle of things — but it’s starting to feel like it is possible. If you’ve still been having trouble working out how to keep your life in order lately, or have been feeling as though your mental health is declining, hopefully my little schedule here works for you. You don’t need to copy it out point for point, obviously, but maybe you’ll be able to take inspiration to apply to your own life, or make your own schedule, that helps you keep it together in the face of sitting at home with absolutely nothing to do.

For those of you who have been keeping up with my posts lately, you’ll already know that I worked at a bar pre-COVID-19, which obviously closed to the public once stay at home orders were enacted. As a FOH employee, I was laid off. This ended up being a small blessing as it gave me time and extra energy to focus on my final exams, however, once those finished up the first few days of excitement and freedom gave way to the realization that I really had nothing to do.

For the last year I’ve been so busy that I’ve been putting off loads of tasks for when I had more time — but now I have too much time, and browsing online stores for furniture to complete my apartment and completing a couple of fixes around my home surprisingly aren’t the most time-consuming tasks all of a sudden. As such, I’ve been really trying to focus my energy on this blog, my hobbies and my chores, while still allowing plenty of time to kick back and relax. While my life would quite literally fall apart if I spent all this time doing nothing, spending every waking moment doing SOMETHING isn’t the most sustainable — and it’s entirely unnecessary. I don’t know about you guys, but I really needed this break. So I’m going to take this time to enjoy it — while I need discipline, I also need to not be too hard on myself right now.

The following is my daily schedule that I’ve been following pretty strictly since the last week of April. As someone who’s always tried to keep SOME semblance of a schedule in life, I don’t think I really realized what it was like to follow a schedule so strictly — it’s the sort of thing I honestly haven’t done since high school. While it certainly took some getting used to, so far, it’s really helped me feel as normal and productive as possible lately.

8:30am: Wake Up. This is a lot earlier than I’ve woken up at regularly for years — but it’s actually pretty enjoyable. Mornings are so lovely when you’re actually up to see them, and getting up “early” makes you feel like you have a good start on the day. Overall, I feel a lot more positive when I wake up around 8:30-9:00 am lately than letting myself sleep in everyday until 10:00-11:00 (which was when I used to wake up). Even if you’re awake for the same amount of hours, you feel like you have more time when you wake up early, you feel more refreshed, and it’s been putting me in a more positive mindset to get stuff done.

8:45am: Morning Skincare. I let myself have a little time to get out of bed and face the day, and then I go about my morning skincare routine, as well as brushing my teeth and hair before I go eat breakfast. As well, before I go eat, I’m sure change out of my PJs and into some workout gear.

9:00am: Breakfast. I don’t usually meal prep breakfast foods, so it takes me a couple minutes to throw something together. However, I find the sooner I eat after I wake up, the sooner I begin to feel alert and awake.

9:30am: Yoga. This has become my favourite part of the day. Before I actually began scheduling my life, I used running as my main form of stay-at-home workouts. However, I found running to be a little daunting and since I didn’t have any solid schedule, it was pretty easy to just push working out back endlessly. However, the lack of movement in my lifestyle was kinda starting to take its toll — I really felt crappy (emotionally and physically). When I made this schedule, I decided to incorporate Adriene Mischler’s 30 Days of Yoga to my daily routine. I’ve been loving this as it’s great for beginners, is easy enough to complete every day, doesn’t require a lot of at-home materials and is something I actually look forward to. While yoga is a work out, it’s also a great way to stretch, move your body and relax too — making it seem like less of a stressful workout than running.

10:00am: Shower. Pretty self-explanatory. Depending if I have to wash my hair or not, I take whatever free time I have after this to get started on whatever activities I have planned at 1pm — or just relax a little.

12:00pm: Lunch. Also pretty self explanatory, but I figured I’d add how I try to give lunch it’s own separate space — as in, I don’t multitask while I have lunch. I just sit down and enjoy it, and then move on to the activities I want to fill my day with!

1:00pm: Activities. This can kind of be anything, but I try to settle on what I want to do the night before. Whether it’s blogging, grocery shopping, cleaning, getting my May tasks complete, doing my makeup, creating art, playing Animal Crossing — I often plan out which activities the next day will hold during my bedtime routine, and write them out so I don’t forget. I generally try to pick around 2 activities for each day, depending on what I want to do and what I need to get done.

6:00pm: Meal Prep. This only happens every four days, but an hour before dinner I plan, prep and make dinner for that night and the three nights following. I enjoy cooking, but it can be a huge task to undertake — so if I meal prep and already have a home cooked meal ready, it’ll deter me from ordering in some unhealthy or expensive take-out on a whim.

7:00pm: Dinner. Also pretty self explanatory — and once again, like lunch, I give dinner it’s own space.

8:00pm: Netflix & Chill. This one is kind of important — I set a nightly space for Netflix and relaxing. The important part being — I don’t watch TV shows or movies before 8pm. I’ve been sticking with this since before I even made this schedule, and I’ve found it to be incredibly helpful for productivity. Giving myself time to watch Netflix and chill out each night helps me balance out being active in the daytime without overworking myself. It gives me something to look forward to at the end of each day, but also keeps me from lying in bed all day binge-watching shows I don’t even care about — which makes me feel lazy and can cause me to ignore my needs, sending my mental health spiralling. As well, I’m really not a productive person at night, and I hate how crunching in activities before bed makes me feel. As such, this time is for Netflix and relaxing ONLY — and this is what helps to keep my days balanced.

11:00pm: Bedtime routine. Before I go to sleep each night, I make some tea, get ready for bed, do my skincare routine (plus any face masks I’m in the mood for), and then go over my bullet journal. I mark down my mood and all the habits I completed, and read through to get inspiration for what I should do tomorrow/what I want to get done by the end of the month. After this, I turn on a relaxing YouTube video or Audiobook, and lay down for a little bit before bed.

12:00am: Lights out. It’s bedtime!

So that’s my daily schedule! I don’t switch it up ever, not even for weekends. As weekend-days have no real meaning to me anymore so allowing myself to “stay up late” or “sleep in” would just throw off my whole schedule. However, I kind of give myself up to half-hour buffering period with the times on this schedule as it’s very hard to keep everything perfect down to the minute. As well, it wouldn’t really give me freedom to enjoy my day and the ability to complete tasks if I’m rushing to move onto the next thing. As well, there’s no rush right now — and no point in stressing myself out! The point of this schedule is to keep me on track and at peace — not cause anxiety or pressure.

Have you guys been keeping up a routine in quarantine? (I’ve been trying to avoid the work quarantine in my posts due to the negative connotation, but I just couldn’t resist the urge to rhyme — sorry!). If so, I’d love to hear about what’s been working best for you, or how your schedules differ from mine. Maybe a more elaborate schedule helps, or maybe breaking things down by week and month makes more sense to you. If you’ve been feeling like you’re floundering lately and need something to bring a little balance into your stay-at-home life, hopefully this break down of my routine left you feeling inspired! I can’t even begin to tell you guys how much having it, whether I stick to it perfectly every day or not, has helped me and my mental well-being during the last little while.

Hope you’re all staying safe out there, and have a great week!

Much love,

Meredith

Fifteen Tips To Get Through Social Distancing

Photo by Emma Matthews Digital Content Production on Unsplash

Hey y’all!

I’m back from my hiatus and given the current situation and my newfound endless free time, I’m on a bit of a blogging kick. I’m sure, especially by the time of posting, I don’t really have to tell you all about the Social Distancing situation at hand — it’s probably a bit of old news by now, but personally I’m finding that the reality of it all is really starting to kick in.

I’m not going to get too deep into it all, as I’m sure you’ve all heard it already. All I’m going to say about the virus is that apart from this, I won’t be mentioning it — it’s a bit of a stressful topic for many people, and the whole point of this post is to generate helpful ideas and reduce your worry about the situation. However, the world is coming to a bit of a stand-still, and it can definitely be a difficult and anxiety-inducing situation. However, it’s important that we all do our parts, and for now that means limiting social contact and staying inside for the time being.

I’m not sure about you guys, but I’m barely into the first few days stuck in my apartment and I can feel myself starting to go a little stir-crazy. All I’ve wanted for the last few months was just the ability to take some time off and catch up on everything in my life, but as soon as it was actually mandated I became a little overwhelmed with anxiety and at first I couldn’t put my finger on why. I’ve come to realize that just because we’re supposed to stay home all day (which really would have sounded so enjoyable back in 2019), doesn’t mean that I, personally, can just kind of ride the wave of it all and just do whatever, whenever. If you’re feeling the same way, I’ve compiled some helpful tips to help you get through this period as easily as possible!

  1. Stick to a routine. It’s so easy just to think of this time as a “mini-vacation” and just wake up and go to sleep whenever your body feels like it. However, I personally found that doing this caused my life to crash pretty quickly into just having no real sleep schedule at all, which was pretty detrimental to my ability to function and my overall mental health. Take a few days to catch up on sleep if you need to, but after that stick to an 8-hour sleep schedule where you go to bed and wake up at the same time every day. It’ll help you keep on track later on once we’ve been at the whole distancing thing for a while. Plus, if you’re someone who struggles with this normally, hopefully you’ll be so used to it by the time this is over that you’ll stick with it in the long run! This also goes for eating meals at a regular time — it’ll help you not lose all sense of time if you’re keeping your days as routine as possible.
  2. Get some fresh air. Make sure you open your windows at least once a day and let the air in your home circulate. Not only will it help move around stagnant air and keep your place from feeling a little gross, but the fresh air will help you feel more alert and a little less claustrophobic during long days inside.
  3. Catch up on everything you need to get done. While it can be easy to view social distancing as an annoyance, it really can be a precious resource for getting on top of your sh*t. Don’t delay it — start now! We have no idea how long this will last, really, but it’ll feel amazing if you come out on the other side completely on top of all your tasks that you’ve been putting off for a while. I’m sure just a few weeks ago you were thinking about how you wished you had some time off to help you get on top of things — so take advantage! This can mean anything, from getting ahead on blog posts, to catching up on schoolwork and work tasks, to home repairs or decorating or anything else you’ve been putting off lately.
  4. Get moving. Even if you don’t exercise regularly, you probably don’t even realize how much movement you’re missing out on right now. Walking to get around isn’t something you’re probably doing for the time being, and if you live in an apartment like I do, there’s not even much space for moving around inside. A whole lot of companies such as Lululemon (as well as many of your local fitness spots) are holding online Instagram live work out sessions that you can partake in from the comfort of your home. It’s easy to fall into the routine of just sitting on the couch or lying in bed, but keeping active will help improve your physical and mental wellbeing, and will help keep your spirits up.
  5. Pick up an old hobby. I’m honestly someone who can binge-watch Netflix for ridiculous periods of time — name any TV show on their site, and I’ve probably seen it. Given the situation, I’ve gotten back into visual art — I was an art student in high school, and I spent just about all my time filling up my sketchbooks. However, with how hectic university was I ended up rarely having time. (Also, I can’t lie, the pressure of having to complete art on a deadline for a grade in first year along with all the other classes I had to complete kind of sucked the fun out of it for me — but that’s kind of just how I am, I can’t turn hobbies into work). I’ve tried a few times to get back into it over the years, but I finally have the time to put real effort into it and I had honestly forgotten how much I loved it. It really helps the time pass when you’re actively doing stuff!
  6. Take time for self-care. I always try to stress how self-care isn’t a luxury, but a necessity. However, time and time again I hear about how people don’t have the time, and don’t realize how important it is to reduce stress levels and take care of your mental well-being. For the foreseeable future, you have all kinds of time to practice self-care. If it’s something you’re not used to, you have plenty of time to experiment and find out what works best for you. Self-care can (and should!) be both practical and enjoyable, so if taking baths or self-indulging isn’t really something you’re interested in, there’s still plenty of other options. Hopefully, if you make a point of it, you’ll get into the habit of taking around half an hour to an hour a day (or a week) to yourself and will be able to add it into your routine going forward. If you need some ideas, you can check out my post on Fall Self-Care Ideas (and don’t worry, I’ll be coming out with a spring edition soon!).
  7. Keep up your hygiene. This one kind of falls into the category of keeping up a routine. Especially if you live alone, it can be easy to fall into the mindset that it’s okay to kind of let things such as showering, brushing your teeth or washing your face slide when you don’t have to go out into the world. However, you should aim to keep your life as normal as possible — it’ll help you FEEL as normal as possible, even though this is a very strange time.
  8. Spring clean. Now is the perfect time to totally Marie-Kondo your life. I’m going to be posting a spring cleaning guide sometime soon, but for right now, just take this time to tidy, organize, clean and sort through your belongings. Regardless of the benefits a good spring-clean can have, just making sure your space is tidy will make it a lot more livable.
  9. Meditate. Maybe it’s just me, but the idea of being unable to leave my house and having no work or class has sent my anxiety through the roof. Why? I have no idea. Just a few weeks ago the idea of time off would have been heaven, but I guess it’s probably to do with feeling like there’s stuff I’m supposed to be doing and being inside by necessity rather than by choice. I know it sounds a little corny, but meditating has helped to mitigate my anxiety in the past — so I’m trying to make a point to practice it at least once a day. Even if you’re not sure how you feel about meditating or don’t see how it would be beneficial, there’s no harm in giving it a chance!
  10. Generate some Insta content. I mean, why not? If you have time to spare, try out that make up look you’ve been meaning to master or throw on some cute spring clothes you want to show off and take some photos of it! I know for bloggers Instagram is a hugely beneficial platform, but I personally find I never have time to create content to post. Personally, I’m going to take this time to stock up!
  11. Limit how often you check the news. Shout out to my roommate, Beth, for giving me this idea. This one is especially important if you’re already feeling nervous about the situation going on, but it’s a good practice anyway. If you’re stuck inside and feeling bored, it’s tempting to check up on hourly updates about what’s going on in the world. While it’s important to stay updated, consuming every piece of news constantly does a lot more harm than good. At the best, it harms your productivity — and at the worst, just fuels your anxieties (which may about news in parts of the world that don’t really effect you). It’s important to stay educated, but you can accomplish this by checking the news just a few times, if only once a day.
  12. FaceTime family and friends regularly. Social contact is important, especially during such isolating times. Texting is great and all, but the best way to feel connected and socially fulfilled is with FaceTime or a good old-fashioned phone call.
  13. Learn a new skill. Back over the summer when I had more free time, I used Duolingo to help me learn Japanese. I lost track of it as things in my life picked up between work and school, but now’s the perfect tome to pick back up where I left off! Who knows, maybe I’ll have a whole new language under my belt by the time this all blows over. It doesn’t have to be a language — maybe you’ve always wanted to learn a new musical instrument, or paint, or sport, or whatever it is you’re feeling.
  14. Take a day off. Again — why not? Don’t feel any pressure to spend every second of this time being productive — not only is that not what life should be about normally, but especially right now. There’s still value to spending time doing nothing. The beauty of productivity in this time is that you can complete tasks stress-free, and it helps you keep your life on track. But apart from whatever your current life demands are (such as homeschooling or #WFH), it isn’t a requirement. Don’t let anyone make you feel guilty for just taking some time to chill — whether it’s Netflix, scrolling through Insta, or just lying in bed — who cares!
  15. Do whatever makes you stay positive. These are really weird times for all of us. Just try your best to relax and make sure to take care of your mental health — whatever that means for you is whatever you should be doing right now.

I hope you guys are all doing well out there! I know it’s weird and difficult, but do your best to stay inside and minimize contact with others. The more we stick to it now, the sooner this will all blow over and we can all return to our normal lives. Just keep in mind that this “social distancing” isn’t about you — even if you’re absolutely certain you’re going to be fine, it’s about those who may not be. Please try to keep them in mind during this difficult time.

Be sure to stay tuned tomorrow for my all-time favourite post of the season — my FabFitFun Unboxing! I’m already loving my spring box so much, and I can’t wait to share it with you guys! And in the meantime, stay safe, stay indoors and feel free to hit me up for Netflix recommendations (I have plenty!).

Much love,

Meredith

Advice To Help Deal With Depression

Hey guys,

So, full disclosure — this was actually a post I wrote when I first started my blog nearly a year ago. I wrote it as one of my very first posts, but I hesitated on sharing it until now. Unfortunately, there is still a massive stigma around discussing mental illness, and while there has certainly been steps taken in the right direction, as a society we still have a long ways to go. Sharing this post is a little scary for me, I won’t lie — it feels very uncomfortable to open up too deeply on the internet to everyone who knows me (and countless who don’t) about my personal struggles with mental illness. It still is challenging to open up like this, but I’m hoping that by sharing this I too will be helping take steps in the right direction to help open up discussion between others, and I’m hoping I’ll also be able to help anyone who’s struggling and doesn’t know where to start.

Mental illness is something I have struggled with for just about as long as I can remember. However, the stigma around talking about it is something that I knew about far before that. The first time I ever had to receive help for my mental illness, I was only twelve years old. At the time, it was something so seldom spoken about that it was even kept a secret even from my sister. This is not something that should reflect poorly on my family — that’s just how everyone dealt with mental illness at the time. In the last eleven years, things have certainly changed a lot — but there’s still a long way to go. My family now is very open with each other about mental illness, and how beneficial it has been has been clear as day. I’m hoping that by sharing this I can help others to be more open to discussion, and help those who are struggling to feel comfortable opening up to family, friends, or doctors. As well, if you don’t quite feel comfortable with that yet, whether you know me personally or not, I’d like you to know you can always talk to me. I may not understand what you, personally, are going through, but it always helps to talk it out in a judgement-free space, especially with someone who could potentially relate. (If you don’t know me personally, you can always feel free to reach me via Twitter DM). As well, if you don’t feel comfortable with that either, no worries — I’ve also attached some crisis hotlines at the end of this post for those who need it.

As a final reminder, the advice I’ve attached below is just what has worked for me personally. It may not all be helpful to everyone, and some of you reading this may think that none of it sounds useful whatsoever. Everyone has different things that work for them; depression is a complex disease and there is no one simple and easy cure-all. I’m just hoping that at least one item on this list may help someone, even the smallest change is still change. The rest of the post following is the original post I created last May.

I know this is something I have discussed before briefly but I have struggled with mental illness my whole life. While some of my diagnoses come and go, depression seems to have stuck around for the long run. Now, I know this is a difficult subject and not everything here works for everyone. Honestly, some people may read this list and think that none of it sounds legit. However, this is what tends to help me out best and I figured I’d share on the off chance it may help someone else.

Living with depression is something that takes constant effort to persevere through. Not everything works for everyone. Some people manage their illness alone, while some use therapy to assist. I myself take medication to help alleviate my symptoms. However, as my doctor pointed out one visit — antidepressant medication helps, but you have to put in the effort to make it work. Simply taking antidepressants while putting in no additional effort is rarely effective. So here’s a list of some of the things I do to help make my medications work best! Even if you don’t take medication, chances are some of these tips will help you out too.

  1. Get out of bed as quickly as you can in the morning. It’s hard, but do your best not to hit the snooze button too many times. Chances are if you’re able to push through it you’ll feel much less tired while waking up, as well as throughout the day.
  2. Set an alarm every day, even on the weekends. Having a routine is key. Even if you have a day off, you should still do your best to wake up and stick to it.
  3. Have a morning routine you follow everyday. Do your best to follow the same steps every morning. I’m not too sure why, but this one really helps me.
  4. Eat healthy. I personally find the key to maintaining a healthy diet is moderation. If you try to stick too hard to eating 100% healthy, odds are you’ll end up binging or even fall off the wagon completely and end up in a phase of super unhealthy eating (I know I do). So try to eat healthy, allow yourself an unhealthy snack when you want it, eat some junk food everyone once in a while, and just try to keep a normal balance.
  5. As a side note, try to eat breakfast every day. I find it helps keep you on track to eat at least three meals, as well as help jumpstart your day. I’ve gone until dinner without eating more times than I can count, but if I eat breakfast I often follow with other scheduled meals as well.
  6. Keep yourself busy throughout the day. It’s exhausting, but at least you’ll be ready to sleep whenever your scheduled bed time is.
  7. Take some time for self-care. This is important for everyone, but it’s especially important to check in with yourself if you struggle with mental illness.
  8. Get outside. Just go for a walk if you’re not feeling up to something big. The fresh air always helps me clear my head.
  9. EXERCISE. Yes, people say this one all the time. It really is for a reason. If you can learn to love working out, it will improve your mental health SO MUCH. Personally I’m being a bit of a hypocrite here as I haven’t been to the gym in months. But whenever I get into the routine of working out I notice immediate changes in my quality of life. In particular, if you’re in a more severe depressive state, about halfway through your work out you can literally FEEL the endorphins have an effect on your brain.
  10. Socialize as much as you can, based on your schedule. Even if you’re tired and stressed. Spending time with people you love, who don’t cause you stress, really does help. It doesn’t have to be anything big, either — it can just be hanging out at one of your houses doing nothing at all.
  11. Try to plan out your day as best as you can. At my best times, I schedule my life almost to the hour. It helps keep you out of bed if you’ve written down that you have somewhere to be.
  12. Clean your space. I really knew my medications were starting to work when I started keeping my room clean. Back before I started taking them, my room was a MESS. Nowadays, I keep my space tidy, do my laundry regularly, and even make my bed every day. If you’re not ready to deep clean everything, just try to tidy up. If you’re already pretty tidy, try to make a routine of stuff such as vacuuming, mopping, and regularly cleaning up your space. If you’re ready for it, do a whole Marie Kondo-style clean up of your things. Her show really did inspire me to go through my stuff and clear out things I didn’t need. Keeping a clear space helps me to keep my mind clear and reduce stress.
  13. Try to present yourself well when you go out. I don’t mean start doing your hair and makeup every day if that’s not something you usually do. Just do whatever it is that makes you feel presentable when you go out in public, even if you aren’t going to see people you know. It helps with your confidence and overall happiness when you aren’t worried about how you look.
  14. Make changes in your life. This is more for people in severe depressive episodes who can’t seem to get out of them. Shake things up a little. I recently had to move out of my old apartment, which wasn’t my choice, but the move to a new space really did help me out of a bad phase. It doesn’t have to be something that big, but if you can do something that really makes a change in your life, go for it!
  15. Lastly, talk to your doctor. Even if you’re coping 100% fine on your own, it doesn’t hurt. Talking about things helps. On top of that, you may not even realize how bad things are — I know I didn’t. I thought I was coping just fine on my own, and was totally missing the signs I needed medications and was back in a depressive episode. With Major Depressive Disorder, it is possible to go into remission. However, even if you’re in remission and doing fantastic right now, you may slip back into a depressive state without even noticing it. Medical professionals know what they’re doing, contrary to many people’s beliefs. They know how to help with psychiatric issues. You may feel like no one understands what you’re going through, but that is the nature of depression. Your doctor may not “get it”, but they will know how to help.

I know that depression presents itself differently in everyone and these tips will not work for everyone. But I really hope that for some of you guys reading this, you find something here that helps. If anyone wants to chat with me about anything, I’m always open to discuss! It may seem on the outside, especially over social media, that everyone else around you is living an absolute perfect, struggle-free life, but that is rarely the case. Big or small, everyone has a battle in life you likely know nothing about. Remember how important it is to be kind. And lastly, if anyone has any of their own tips they’d like to share I’d love to hear them.

Love you all,

Meredith

Crisis Hotlines

Distress Line Numbers BC

Greater Vancouver: 604-872-3311
Toll Free: 1-866-661-3311
TTY: 1-866-872-0113
Senior’s Distress: 604-872-1234

International Crisis Hotlines

1-800-SUICIDE: 1-800-784-2433