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

HOW TO: Keep It Together During Busy Weeks

Photo by Max van den Oetelaar on Unsplash

Hey y’all!

Sooooo, once again, I’m delaying my Lash Lift post. I know, and I’m sorry! At this point I’ve had it done — I just really want the time to take good photos where you can see the effects and really perfect the post for you guys. It’s a post that’s been a long time in the making, so I just want to be sure it’s the absolute best and most informative it can be!

That being said, unfortunately, I’ve still been having a crazy week (clearly…my apologies for the delayed post — again! I swear this is the last time it’s going to happen). Between having a term paper due Thursday, Poetry class assignments (also due Thursday, because of course), a crazy busy week at work (between the amount of Canucks games, Lacrosse games and UFC Fights this week, its been a little overwhelming) and getting ready for my trip to Mexico (!!!) exactly one week today — I have been overwhelmed as heck.

Since I once again had to delay the post I had planned, I figured I’d share with you a little list of ten tips on how I’ve been surviving this week! Hopefully, for those of you with crazy weeks of your own coming up, you’ll find some advice here that’ll help you get through the busy and stressful times and make it to the other side in once piece.

  1. Get some sleep!!! It’s tempting to stay up super late to get everything done, especially when you’re on a roll. But not only will you end up regretting it the next day, but it’ll slowly start to build up and take more of a toll as time wears on — making it harder for you to keep up.
  2. Make sure you’re eating regularly. This one may seem super obvious — but when you’re having a really long day and feel like absolute garbage and can’t quite figure out why — you probably just need to eat more. Plan ahead for days when you know you may have to delay meals (for me, this is longer work days) and stock up on some snacks. My personal fave to get through long shifts are Clif Bar’s Nut Butter and Fruit Smoothie filled granola bars — soooooo good.
  3. Make sure you’re still keeping in touch with friends and family — you really need that support.
  4. Set aside daily time for self-care, but don’t overdo it! Taking time to take care of yourself is a necessity — but there’s a line between what you need and just procrastinating. If you’re having a ridiculously busy week, try to limit yourself to maximum one hour a day. You can always make up for it next week if you need to! But anything more than that may just be a guise to put off important tasks. If you need good self-care ideas to formulate a structured one-hour plan, be sure to check out my list here!
  5. Plan everything out well in advance. Even if you don’t follow the plan to a T (stuff always goes wrong — you can’t sweat it!) just having everything written down will ensure you don’t forget anything.
  6. On that note, be sure to limit tasks that need to be done ASAP to busy weeks — everything else can be taken care of later. Even things that feel super important to you and keeping your life together, such as cleaning, meal prepping, laundry, etc., can slide for a few days if it helps you complete all your tasks on time. Just remember — it’s all about balance!
  7. Obvious one — but stay hydrated.
  8. If you have a lot of tasks that are going to take a while to complete, try to break them up into smaller segments and switch it up every few hours. Maybe it’s just me, but I find this really helps me avoid burning out.
  9. Don’t overdo it on caffeine! It’s hard, I know. Sometimes during the crazy weeks it feels like that coffee is LITERALLY the only thing that’s going to help you survive the next few hours. However, if you’re already feeling kind of exhausted, you don’t want all that caffeine to impact your sleep. Even if you’re still falling asleep quickly, too much coffee can impact your quality of sleep — meaning you won’t wake up feeling refreshed and ready the next day. (If you really feel you can’t go without it, try decaf! If nothing else, hopefully the placebo effect will have you convinced it’s what you need).
  10. Be sure to reward yourself for completing tasks. You’ve been having a rough week — you deserve it! Not only that, but rewarding yourself for checking tricky tasks off your checklist will help to incentivize you to keep going. (It’ll also help to refresh you so you don’t feel like the week is one never-ending struggle — you need breaks!). Try to stick to little rewards after each task, and try to take a whole day off after you finish everything up — you need it! Take the day to relax and catch up on all the self-care, sleep, and alone time you’ve missed since your life got so hectic.

Happy Sunday everyone, and hopefully this next week goes well for you all! (And if it DOES happen to get a little intense, at least you have a little advice that’ll help make it easier!). If you have any other advice that helps you get through the tough times, or just want to vent about the week you’re having, drop a comment below! This week is going to be a bit of an intense one, but once I make it through to the other side I get to head down to Puerto Vallarta for a week, which is making it all worth it. Be sure to stay tuned for next week’s post about my experience getting a Lash Lift (seriously this time, I promise!) as well as TWO new travel posts coming out in the following weeks.

Here’s to surviving this week — or even thriving, if you’re lucky! I hope you all achieve your goals — we’re almost halfway through February, after all!

Much love,

Meredith

HOW TO: Create The Best Possible New Years Resolution!

Happy New Years, everyone!

Now that it’s officially the new year (hello, 2020!), it’s new year resolution time. January is often a stressful month — it feels like you have so much to catch up on after the holiday season, and you’re just thrown right back into work or school without warning. And you have to come up with the perfect New Years resolution on top of all that?

It can be super overwhelming, which really is the opposite of what you want. The best kind of resolutions should feel like they’re pushing you a little, but not so much that they feel unachievable or cause anxiety and stress. Ultimately, while it’s great to be ambitious, if your goals are too much to complete in one year, it’ll deter you from trying at all.

If you’re struggling to come up with the perfect resolution, only have a half-baked idea, or are stuck on how to make the theme of your resolution something you can stick with and achieve — don’t worry, I’ve got you covered. With these useful steps and tips, I’ll have you prepared with the perfect goals to make 2020 your best year yet!

Choose A Theme

What aspects of your life exactly is it that you’re looking to grow or improve in? The best way to set resolutions is to simply start off with a theme, instead of a statement. This way, you can be more flexible with your goals, and adjust them to fit your needs as the year progresses. You probably already have a good idea of what this theme is if you’re looking to set a resolution this year — maybe its health, fitness, studying, organizing, self care, skincare, socializing, tidying, or something else entirely. This is all personal to you, but starting off with a theme, rather than a set statement or singular goal, is a nice, simple place to start when creating your resolution. (Plus, this way you can choose more than one resolution, but set different goals for each theme — just because you have serious goals for one theme, doesn’t mean you can’t improve a little in some others as well!)

Select Specific Goals

Now that you have your theme, you have to select specific goals to help you towards achieving everything you want to by the end of the year. Obviously, just choosing “wellness” or “professional growth” is a little vague — you’re going to want to choose one or more specific goals to help clarify what you’re hoping to achieve. The best way to set goals is to think about a goal that sounds achievable, and then push it just a little further. For example, if your theme is studying, you may want to set goals about the amount of hours you’re going to study per week, or the final average you’re hoping to earn by the end of the semester. So, if it sounds like a perfectly realistic goal to study 20 hours a week and end the semester with a 80% average, try pushing your goal to be studying 25 hours a week and ending the semester with an 85%! In order to change and grow, you have to push yourself a little — if you’re completely comfortable, it means you’re not growing.

Something important when setting goals, however, is to also ensure you’re not choosing anything that requires you to be perfect to achieve them. The problem with doing this is that if you ever slip up (even just a little), you’ll likely end up feeling like you’ve failed your goal. This can be pretty damaging to your self esteem (even if you’ve already achieved a lot), and can even cause you to give up on your goal all together. So, for example, if your “studying” themed goal is to attend every single class during the semester, but you end up needing one day off to catch up, take a sick day, or just look after yourself — you may end up feeling that you’ve failed your goal even when you’ve made a crazy amount of progress. If you really want to set a goal that requires absolute perfection to execute, ensure you set a couple of margins to allow natural slip ups and days off — none of us are perfect, and we shouldn’t expect ourselves to be. (As well, if pushing your goal a little from achievable lands you in the range of needing to be perfect, you might want to consider other themes and goals that could require more work instead!)

Break It Down

The one most important thing when setting a resolution is to break it down into manageable steps, rather than one large goal to have completed by the next trip around the sun. This is important for a number of reasons — first of all, it helps you keep track of your goal, and ensure you’re progressing forward with it as the year goes on. Secondly, it makes your resolution a lot less daunting — it is impossible to make massive life changes overnight (otherwise we’d all do it all the time!). If your goal seems too large or unattainable, it very well may end up deterring you from even attempting it at all. Think about it, how many times have you set a resolution and done absolutely nothing to achieve it? You’re not lazy or unmotivated — it’s just too much to take on a massive life change in one go.

There’s two ways to break down your goals easily — you can choose one or the other, but I’d personally recommend both at once. The first one, and my personal favourite, is to make one of your goals to set monthly, or even weekly and daily, goals that fit the theme of your resolution. For example, if one of your goals for the year is to reach a certain amount of views on your blog or followers on a platform, break that number down into how many you think is achievable in a certain month and make it your goal to reach that milestone over the next 29-31 days. From there, keep track of your progress and feel free to adjust your monthly goals as you see fit. It really helps you to realize how simple your goal may actually be when you put it into the perspective of smaller goals. Plus, it helps you keep track of your progress in a much more precise way, so you can actually see change and improvement — which will only help to motivate you more!

The second part of this is to start small and work up to larger steps as you adjust to the changes you’re making in your life. As I’ve said, you can’t expect yourself to make massive life changes overnight — even if you manage to stick with it for January, odds are it’ll eventually seem like too much when life starts to pick up and you’ll end up dropping your resolution entirely. It’s better to start small and adjust — it’ll help you get used to the change, so that when you have a period of time when it seems like you can’t keep up, you’ll have already made a habit of it.

To use a classic example, if your goal for the year is to exercise more, try starting off just working out one day a week for January and build your way up from there! If your goal is to start working out five days a week, but you didn’t see the inside of a gym once in 2019 (we’ve all been there), it’s a lot of stress to just jump in to a full-time workout routine. Even if one day a week seems too easy at first, it’ll help you to grow your confidence and create a habit of going regularly so that before you know it, it feels like a regular part of your life. You’ll already be used to working out regularly and feel like you know what you’re doing by the time you increase to two times a week, and you’ll reach five days a week before you even know it! This way, when you have a crazy week and have to take a step back, you’ll still be used (or even want to) hit the gym at least once, and you won’t fall out of the habit entirely if you need to take a week off.

Some goals may only work if you break them down in the first way, and some may cater a lot more to the second. However, for all the goals you set, be sure to break them down at least a little bit — and try to incorporate both methods into any goal or resolution you set! I promise, it might seem silly or unnecessary and first, but it’ll help you start and maintain your goals over the course of the year.

Write It Out

Now comes the final step — finding a way to write down and track your goals. There’s countless ways to do this — whether it’s making a mood board, writing weekly goals in your agenda, setting reminders in your phone, leaving yourself sticky notes, or just the good old notes app in your phone. Personally, this year I’ve started a bullet journal, where I’ve written down my themes, annual goals, as well as created a page for each month’s goals — as well as anything else I may ultimately end up including. It really just depends on what works best for you and what you’re hoping to achieve.

This step is incredibly important, however, as you not only might end up forgetting your goals if you don’t put them down in writing — it really helps to put them down and make them concrete. Take the time to write it out, break it down, and make it important so you’ll not only remember to check up on your progress, but track it as the year goes on. So many people give up on their resolutions after the first month — or even week — of the year, so take the time to transfer it out of your head and into your life. Make it real so you can’t ignore it or forget about it. You may not see results in the first month, but if you stick with it you’ll be amazed by how much you’ve accomplished by the time 2021 rolls around.

Don’t Rush It

(Yes, I know, this was from an earlier post but I just love it so much and it fits so well!)

This last part is less of a step and more so a reminder. You do not already need to know exactly what your yearlong goals are, or even what your theme is. It’s better to take the time to work out a well thought-out plan than to create something and stick to it simply because January 1st has passed. If you already had a plan but feel inspired to make changes to it, nothing is stopping you! You have no idea what your life is going to be like six months from now, so there’s no point in limiting yourself. The whole point of a resolution is to be open to change. Setting monthly goals also helps to adjust your goals to help improve your life as it moves forward throughout the year and keep you on track to ending up where you need to be. At the end of the day, as long as you’re happy with the path you’re on and the progress you’re making, this year is going to be a huge success.

Also keep in mind that not all progress is immediately visible. Making adjustments and serious changes to your lifestyle isn’t something that can or should be done overnight — it takes time. If in a months, six months, or even a years time, you’ve been working at it and don’t feel as though you’ve made any progress at all — take a look back to where you started. I promise you’re going to have come a lot further than you’ve ever thought you would when you started out, and you’re only going to go further from there!

I hope you all had an enjoyable and relaxing holiday and had a much-needed reset before the new year and heading back to work. New years can often be daunting and feel they carry a lot of weight — but don’t stress. Ultimately, as long as you keep your head up, your best interests at heart, and keep moving forward, it’ll all be okay. If 2019 wasn’t your year (relatable) hopefully 2020 will be, and if you had the best year ever in 2019, may this year manage to top it and be even better!

Xo,

Meredith

A How-To Guide On Transitioning Into Adulthood

Hey friends!

So, as we grow closer to the end of this year and to the beginning of the next decade (!!!) I wanted to do a little round up my year, since it’s been a crazy one, and share with you all my advice that I’ve learned from it.

While I am on holiday right now, it felt better to save the travel posts for a little later on and rather have a post that wrapped up this year before it ended. This year has been one of the craziest rollercoasters of my life — I’ve gone through so many changes (both positive and negative) that it honestly feels like I’ve packed three years in one.

At the beginning of this year, I was still in university full-time, living in my on campus apartment, an active (non-alumna) member in my sorority, and fully adjusted to university life. Then, April came, and my whole life was upturned — I had to move out of my apartment to a temporary summer residence before moving into my new place downtown, began working full-time, and started my life from scratch.

I feel like I’m heading down the right path, sure, but no one ever tells you really how strange the months following university are; when I finally opened up about it to others, however, I learned we’re all in the same boat. It’s stressful and scary, you feel lonely and alienated from your university friends, unsure if you’re in the right career or ever going to be successful, and it feels like you’re going to be stuck in the premature ages of adulthood forever.

Slowly, you adjust though — I’ve found comfort in blogging, which I think I’m finally starting to get the hang of. I have my close friends and a semblance of a routine (hard to maintain, however, when you’re working in a restaurant without set hours). I know I’m on the right track now, and I’m looking forward to the fresh start of a new year and a new decade to help realize the next part of my life and where I’m headed — and finally getting settled and even finding success.

So, basically, the point of this whole rant is that I’m ready to wrap this year up and kiss it goodbye — it’s been an important time full of monumental changes, but I won’t miss it. While I’ve made good choices and silly mistakes, at least I can guide you all (for now!) on the right path and make all of your transitions into adulthood just that much easier.

Remember To Keep Moving Forward

Everyone always talks about how you need to “appreciate these years, they’re the best time of your lives.” And okay, maybe this ends up being true, but this mentality leads so many people to get stuck in the past, when you never know what amazing things could be just around the corner!

At every stage in my life, I’ve seen so many people get caught up in the past, whether it be High School or University, that they can’t let go — and it really does suck to watch. Transitions can be scary, but the best thing to do is embrace them, or else you may miss out on opportunities that are right in front of you because you’re too busy thinking about what’s behind you. Keep your memories and treasure them forever, but remember that it’s never fun being the last one at the party, and it’s best to let go when it’s the right time as to not tarnish what you had by drawing it out to the point that it’s just not the same anymore. Just because people say these years are meant to be the best time of your life doesn’t mean you need to peak at them — keep going forward, and you’ll have amazing times ahead of you as well.

Keep A Close Circle Of Friends

Something I’ve come to realize recently is that while it is great to have a huge amount of friends and a large social circle, your close friends are really all that matters. Knowing all kinds of people wherever you go is fun and rewarding in the moment, and certainly has some benefits — but your real friends are the ones who’ll be there for you during the tough times and difficult transitions. It’s important to know who these people are, and keep them close. You guys are all going to need each other for mutual support during your transition into adulthood — its a rough time, but you’ll all make it easier for each other.

Work On Self-Improvement And Validate Yourself

The best way to set yourself up for success for the next period of your life is to ensure you’re always improving yourself. Just make sure you’re doing it for YOU, and not for validation from others. If you’re working out, eating healthy, focussing on how to present yourself in a way that makes you feel good and being happy, your own confidence will grow — and people will notice. People are drawn to confidence — it will make you more successful in every single aspect of your life in the long term (and there’s no better time to start than right now). So keep up with your skincare routines, hit the gym regularly, practice your makeup, curate a stylish clothing collection — whatever it takes to make you feel good! It doesn’t matter what other people think of it, because all they’re going to notice is how confident you are.

Keep A Balanced Schedule

This one can be a little challenging, I know — I’m still working on it too. But the best way to truly feel like an adult and that you have your life in order is to keep track of your schedule. Not only will this help guarantee you’re on top of all your tasks — but it helps you make time for other important things as well. For instance, it’ll help you keep on track with important aspects outside of deadlines and goals — such as exercising, cooking, and cleaning. Even more importantly, it’ll help you make time for yourself and your friends. If you budget your time, you’ll have more time available to socialize or keep up with your hobbies — or even find new ones! No matter what, keeping track of your schedule is beneficial in all kinds of ways.

I hope that this list is helpful to those who are finding themselves struggling or overwhelmed by a transitioning period in their times, or who are about to go through a transition and are already nervous about it. Just remember you’re not alone — even if it feels like it, you still have a support system and everyone around you, no matter how together they seem to have it, is going through the same thing.

Here’s to a stellar 2020, hopefully the new year treats all of us well! Before I go, I just wanted to remind you all to try to leave whatever baggage from the 2010’s you can in the past in the new year. Obviously, dropping all your past traumas isn’t easy, and some things are just too big and heavy to be put down simply. Take this time to reflect and reexamine your feelings about events from the past. I saw a quote recently that said “Just because things could’ve been different, doesn’t mean they would have been better.” This quote really struck me, because I think I personally spend a lot more time than I should dwelling on things in the past that didn’t go my way, and how much happier I would have been if they did.

The truth is, we’ll never know what would have happened if those things came to be. Would things have been better? Maybe. Would it really have had a huge impact in the long run though? What would have happened if say, things went your way initially but ended up worse after all? The truth is you’ll never know, but overall things really may have not been that different. Whether it was failing a class (or multiple), losing an award, a bitter break up, not even getting into a relationship you wanted, losing a job, whatever happened or didn’t happen, try your best to take the lessons you learned from it and leave the rest of it in the past. It can’t be changed, so there’s no point dwelling on it to the point you miss out on opportunities in the future. Everyone has suffered through their own personal rejections and failures — I for one am certainly no stranger to it. But 2020 is a new decade, and it’s going to be our time to shine! So don’t let what happened in the past hold you back in the present. It’s time to move on and make the best with what we have. (And for those of us who can’t, who’s problems are a little more challenging to unpack and live with — I hope 2020 brings everything you need to make the load a little lighter to carry.)

Peace out 2019,

Xo,

Meredith