My April Bullet Journal!

Hello friends!

It’s the final few days of March, and April is finally just around the corner. The weather is warming up, the trees are blooming, the days are getting longer — and my life is getting busier. As Vancouver starts to, slowly, open back up, it’s beginning to seem like life may, actually, return to normal at some point — which is something that I’m, frankly, rather unprepared for. I’m so used to lockdown life at this point that I honestly can’t even imagine what “normal” life was like anymore — or how I’m going to return to it. It’ll be an adjustment, for sure, but as returning to a more regular life is on the inevitable horizon, I definitely think it’s worth trying to adjust slowly now, while I have the time, rather than forcing it all at once when I no longer have the option.

One way that I’m hoping to keep myself organized and on track is with my bullet journal. I’ve been having a bit of an on-again, off-again relationship with it since the start of 2021 — however, I can certainly say that I’m more on top of things when I keep up with using it regularly. I already keep an agenda for explicitly planning out what I’ll be doing each day, but my bullet journal goes above and beyond with keeping my life on track — especially since it can be tailored so specifically in any way I choose. While I use my agenda to schedule each of my days, my bullet journal helps me keep track of my mood, reminds me to stay on top of daily tasks such as working out and taking pills, plan my blog posts and keep all kinds of lists for all kinds of reasons.

This month, I’m expanding my journal even further and adding new segments, such as a page for brainstorming blog topic ideas — where I’ll write down every idea that comes to mind, whether I end up using it or not — and lists specifically for items I need to buy and what I need to do each week in terms of my job hunt. As well, I’m re-writing my daily schedule, with some slight changes, in hoping that writing it down will help me stick to it better. This way, by breaking down everything further, I’m hoping to make everything easier to track to ensure I’m staying on top of everything.

Mood Tracker

My mood tracker is one of my favourite parts of bullet journaling — not only does it help me to reflect on my day without expecting too much of myself (such as a full journal), but it allows me review how my mood has been cumulatively over time, so I am able to check in with myself and see trends that I may have otherwise missed. Rewriting the past is easy — we often dismiss things as being “not as bad as they seemed” or “better than they were”, but this way I can objectively reflect on how I’ve been doing, and not be swayed by how I’m currently feeling. I keep a list of nine colour-coded options for each days mood, ranging from “absolutely amazing” to “completely terrible”, as well as an option for days when I’m not exactly sure how I’m feeling, and days that are totally crazy where it kind of feels like a bomb has been dropped on your life (which, to be fair, I’ve only used once).

Habit Tracker

This is perhaps the most important aspect of my bullet journal — which I’m also going to be expanding on this month. Each night, as I fill out my tracker, I’m not only able to hold myself accountable for habits I wish to form (ie. exercising regularly), I’m able to cumulatively reflect on how often I’m being productive (ie. working on my blog) and remind myself to complete tasks before bed (such as taking my medications and vitamins). In the past, I only kept six trackers per each month, and sometimes I would switch it up depending on what was important to me that month. However, this time I’ll be tracking ten different habits to ensure I stay on top of everything that I need to.

April Daily Schedule

As I mentioned above, I’ll be reworking & rewriting my daily schedule at the start of this month to hopefully serve as a reminder to stick with it. I really don’t expect myself to follow it perfectly every day (or even any day), but rather I use it for a guideline to make sure I’m getting everything I need to done, sticking to habits I’m hoping to form and keeping a regular sleep and eating schedule.

April Goals

I keep a goal list, separate from my to-do list, to help inspire me to reach above and beyond each month. Rather than forcing myself to achieve all of these goals, they serve as a motivator to push myself to not just do what I have to, but go the extra bit further.

Blog Planner

This is where I keep track of what I’ll be posting on my blog each week. I’ve been trying to get ahead on my blog posts so I can have posts ready in advance and have at least a rough idea of what I’ll be posting each week — so when a post gets written down here, it’s all but final. I don’t write everything down too far in advance — you never know when random inspiration may strike — but for certain posts that I’m absolutely certain will be posted that on specific days, I keep track of them here so I know what’s done and what still needs doing.

Blog Brainstorm

This is something new I’m adding this month, that’ll allow me to keep track of rough ideas and deadlines without convoluting my official planner. This page is both for keeping track of all of my ideas — good and bad, since you never know what bad ideas may inspire your next good one — as well as a rough posting schedule for weeks that I haven’t set in stone yet. I’m hoping, by doing this, I’ll be able to feel more inspired, come up with more ideas (and actually remember them), as well as be able to utilize my planner in a more official way to keep track of finalized blog ideas.

To Do List

Each month, I keep a standard to-do list of everything I need to get done. I add to it as the month goes along, and when I have the opportunity to get something crossed off the list I transfer it over to my agenda to help me remember to complete it. This way, I have everything I need to get done written down in one place — rather than in random iPhone notes or on random paper lists — and as long as I write things down, I don’t have to worry about forgetting them (since I’m the queen of “I don’t need to write that down, I’ll remember it”. Spoiler alert: I never remember it. Figures.).

To Do List – Job Hunt and School Application Edition

Over the last month, I’ve been working with a career consultant (more on that later) to help me work out exactly what it is I want to do in life, and how to get there. Being a post-grad in a locked-down COVID world, I was having a lot of trouble finding any sort of job in my career path of choice, and honestly starting to question if it was really the right one for me. While I’m working with this consultant, I’m keeping a separate to-do list of things I need to get done specifically pertaining to job and school applications, even if they’re already in my agenda, just to ensure everything runs smoothly and nothing falls by the wayside).

Shopping List

As I mentioned above, I am absolutely the WORST about believing I’ll remember everything I need to get done in my head, not writing it down, and inevitably forgetting. In the past, I’ve written stuff down on all kinds of random lists with absolutely NO structure of any kind — which makes it easy to lose track of things. In the past, I’ve kind of mixed my “shopping list” in with my “to-do list”, but I feel it’ll be way more organized to keep them separate. This way, I can keep everything I need to go out and purchase in one place, and know exactly what it is I still need to buy.

TV Shows To Watch

Okay, so maybe TV shows I’m looking to binge isn’t the most important thing to keep track of, but whatever — I’m doing it anyways. Honestly, I already had a list (and multiple, in fact, in the past, that I re-wrote before completing) but I’m hoping that I’ll keep this list in order so I can go through and watch each show one-by-one until I make it to the end, before adding new shows to watch. (Shows that I keep up with week-to-week aren’t included, so this is purely a binge-watching list — hopefully keeping it more organized).

And that’s this month’s bullet journal! I’ve added a lot of changes this month, but I’m hoping they’ll have a positive impact and help me stay consistently motivated and organized for the upcoming month — especially since it’s going to be my busiest yet in 2021. Do you guys keep bullet journals of your own? What kinds of pages do you find work best for you? I’m always in search of new ideas and inspo, or ways to make my current pages more effective! Let me know in the comments what your bullet journal looks like, I’d love to hear it!

Happy Sunday, everyone, and happy last weekend of March! Spring is finally, officially here and the weather is only going to get better from here on out. Here’s to April, may it be a good month to all of us! 2021 may have started off a little rocky for some of us, but it’s never too late to turn it around. With a little effort and a little luck, hopefully April will be 2021’s best month yet.

Cheers,

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

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