We’ve finally made it! This post is officially my last of 2020. It’s certainly been one hell of a year. It’s been emotional, scary, stressful, and even boring –but to be fair, there is more to be learned from the hard times than there is from the good.
It’s kind of hard reflecting back on this year — it was a really rough one for me, personally. I lost a couple of people who were very important to me, graduated at a time that the job market is at it’s worst, and put up with many difficult situations at my job, with my roommates, and friends whom I had to let go of and leave in the past. That being said, it wasn’t all bad — I graduated university, got to go to Mexico back in February before COVID lockdowns, made some new friends, rediscovered some old hobbies and got some much-needed time off.
And at the end of of the day, this year may have had some ups and (plenty of) downs, I did learn some important lessons that I’d like to share. My hope is that, at the very least I can save someone out therefrom learning these lessons the hard way by sharing them with you now
Take time to appreciate what you have.
Tell your friends and family how much you love them, honestly and often.
Nothing is certain. Planning is important — but you can’t anticipate everything.
Practice compassion. Everyone has something difficult happening in their lives — big or small. Be kind.
It’s okay to take breaks. Burn out is real, and just because you don’t feel like you’ve worked hard enough to earn it doesn’t mean you don’t need it.
Set goals — but don’t get too down on yourself if they don’t work out. It’s important to keep moving forwards. If you miss the mark on a goal, set some new ones!
Take time to discover what it is that makes you happy.
Stop comparing yourself to others. Nothing you see on social media is real — so don’t get down on yourself because your life doesn’t look like other’s Instagram posts. Odds are, their lives don’t either.
Prioritize your mental health.
Try not to worry about what others expect of you. It’s tough to break expectations at first, but you’ll be happier for it in the long run.
Sometimes it isn’t about you. This applies to so many things — from taking a step back when someone’s in a rough place and needs your support, to following COVID lockdown protocols.
Actions speak louder than words. Telling others how much you care about them is important, but you need to show it, too.
Self-improvement comes from the little things. Working out regularly. Eating healthy. Staying organized. Being productive. Taking breaks and practicing self-care. It all adds up.
Spend time on your hobbies. It’s hard sometimes — there are only so many hours in a day. But try to take time to rediscover things you love — such as writing, reading, drawing, or music — whatever makes your heart happy.
Nothing is forever. Appreciate the things and people you have in life while you can. But alternatively — a bad situation is only temporary.
Be kind to others.
A positive mindset influences everything. Going into a situation with a positive mindset will alter the experience as a whole, as well as the results.
It’s okay to say no. Standing up for yourself can be hard, but boundaries are important.
Don’t worry about what others think of you. There’s always going to be someone who may judge or try to tear you down. Do what you love, regardless.
Always remember to love yourself first. Growth is always uncomfortable. It’s okay — be patient with yourself. You’re getting there. And you’re doing better than you think you are.
Happy New Years, everyone, and here’s to better vibes in 2021! It’s been a tough year but we’ve made it through. Let’s not forget to bring all the lessons we learned this year into the new year, to help improve ourselves, our communities and our world.
Personally, my goals for the new year are to keep my expectations small. I’m setting a couple big goals for the year at large, but I think this next year I’m going to try taking it month by month so I can manage my goals and expectations a little better. (Besides, I’d rather be pleasantly surprised by completely smashing my goals rather than feeling a little down if I don’t manage to achieve them).
Sending you all so much love — I hope that all of you have a better year ahead of you in 2021 than you had in 2020. I’m curious — are you guys still setting goals for the next year? If so, how have they changed from the goals you set for 2020? If you feel like sharing, drop a comment below — I’d love to hear how 2020 has changed your perspective!
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.
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!
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.
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.
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.
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.
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!
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!
We’re getting close to the end of the month, which means it’s time to start up my bullet journal for the next month! I started bullet journaling at the beginning of this year, and it’s been a great way to keep track of my goals, to-do lists, and habits. This year has been an absolute roller coaster for me, and while I haven’t always kept up with it regularly, I’ve found it to be an invaluable tool for keeping myself sane during Social Distancing. Since I’ve been finding it so helpful, I figured I’d share some of my favourite ways to bullet journal so they can help you stay on track for the month of May, no matter what it throws at you!
Right now, everything in life is pretty uncertain for all of us — it can be hard to find a balance between staying on top of your goals and responsibilities, taking time to de-stress and taking care of your mental health. I’ve found that bullet journalling is a great way to do this — you can use it in so many different ways, and it gives you a little more freedom and creativity than a regular agenda (which, TBH, I haven’t used once since this all started in mid-March). I’ve included all the pages, lists and trackers I’ve created so far for May, but if you’re already an avid bullet journal user and you have any other ideas that you’ve included for the month, drop a comment and tell me about it! I’m always interesting in finding new ways to expand my journal and it’s many uses.
My Mood Tracker
This one has been my favourite, and so far, my most important use for my bullet journal lately. It’s a lot easier to check in with yourself when you can actually visualize how you’ve been doing. I keep track of my mood with a colour-coded list of 7 possible moods ranging on a scale from really amazing to downright terrible, as well as an “unsure” for when I really just don’t know how I’m feeling. Every night, I fill in each day with how I feel about the day overall right before I go to bed. As time goes on, the chart helps give you a visual of how your mood has been over the month — good or bad, it’s important to know so you can best take care of yourself.
My Habit Tracker
First of all — I don’t own a ruler and didn’t really consider it “essential” to go out and buy one with the current world situation, so I know the lines are super messy — I had to make do! I’ve been getting in to habit tracking lately and it’s really helping my stay on track of things I’m hoping to do every day (or almost every day). A lot of these are things that I aim to do every night, so when I go to fill in my tracker it helps me to remember if I haven’t done them yet. As well, for blogging and working out, it really helps to to visualize if I’m keeping up with my goal or not — especially since it’s so hard to keep track of days lately. This way, there’s no way I can go a week without working out and not even notice it — I’ll be able to see it in my tracker!
My Goal Tracker
I’m trying to keep my goals pretty small for this upcoming month to help me unwind after the year I’ve had. Yes, I could try to jam-pack this time off with as many goals and plans as possible — but I’m starting to realize more and more lately how much I need to give myself a proper break. A lot of my goals for this month are also hobbies of mine, so it’ll help to keep me busy and productive without pushing me too hard. Plus, hopefully after Social Distancing I’ll be caught up on all the little goals I’ve been putting off for a while (like decorating) so I can properly catch up on my blogging!
My To-Do List
I’m hoping to use the month of May to catch up on all the little things around the house I was putting off while being so busy last year. A lot of my to-do list is just decorating and little fixes, but I want to be sure I get it all done by the end of the month, especially before I start my next job. With this handy little list, I’ll be able to keep track of everything I need to do, and have it all in one place so I don’t forget it. Plus, I’ll be able to visualize how many tasks I have to complete as the month goes on!
My Blog Tracker + Brainstorm Page
In the front few pages of my bullet journal, I have a year-long plan of all the blog posts I’m going to make. I have this page so I can brainstorm ideas of what I may post over the next month, and once I’ve solidified my plans I add them to the year-long calendar! This way, I won’t end up writing stuff down there that’s just a possibility that I don’t end up using, and I can keep track of all the ideas (both good and bad) that I have — which can be handy to reference even in later months.
My Boredom-Cure Brainstorm Page
Social Distancing really is a weird time. While I kind of desperately needed a break from life, it’s not all that relaxing to spend every day lying in bed scrolling through my phone. As well, I know myself, and that I have to be careful about falling into the trap of slipping into a depression when I have nothing to do — once I fall into it, it’s hard to get back out. I’m keeping this list of little things I want to keep myself busy with over the next month, so that when I feel like I have nothing to do, I can check up on my options! A lot of these are past hobbies that I haven’t had time for over the last year, so I’m really excited to be able to pick them back up. As well, I intend to add to this list over the next months with any new ideas I have, so I never run out of activities! (Also, yes, I did buy a Nintendo Switch just to play Animal Crossing. I’m a little obsessed — it was my favourite game as a child. If you wanna visit my island, HMU!).
My List Of Shows To Watch
Something I’ve been finding lately is that as soon as I finish a show, I feel like I’m at a loss for what I want to watch next — which is silly, really, as I have so many shows and movies I’ve been meaning to watch forever. However, when one show ends, it can be kind of overwhelming and annoying to scroll through endless titles — so I end up picking something at random and forget about everything I’ve been meaning to watch. I’ve started this list to keep track of what I want to watch next, so that from now on I never have that problem! Plus, I’m super excited to catch up on a lot of these shows — many of them are my favourites. The best part about this is that as I see things I want to watch, or remember even more TV shows or movies I’ve forgotten, I can just add it to the list!
Chores and Meal Lists
This little page is just for me to remember both recipes I’ve been wanting to make when I don’t know what I feel like eating, as well as my chore list for cleaning days so I don’t miss anything. I’ve seen a couple of bullet journals where people write down their favourite recipes, which is something I’m probably going to do in the future, too. This page is really a work in progress and new to me this month, but I’m hoping to have a more solid list and use for it by the end of May.
Little Daily Schedules
This one probably won’t be super important this month, but on days that I actually have a whole list of things I want to do, I’ll write them down here the night before to ensure that I don’t forget anything. I’m always the worst about just “remembering my lists”, thinking it’ll be fine. However, my list always ends up a little scattered in my mind, or I forget something. Or — especially with all my free time — I decide it can be put off to another day, as nothing right now is really set in stone. I’m hoping with this little page, I’ll be able to solidify daily plans when I need them so I can feel more motivated to get all my tasks done by the end of the month!
And that’s what I have so far for this month! This little journal is always a work in progress for me — I’m hoping to find more practical uses for it over the next month to ensure I use it every day. If you’ve been using a bullet journal to help stay on top of things this year, I’d love to see your ideas! Taking the time to write things out is more helpful than I ever realized before I started this journal, plus it really is fun to design and decorate it. (While it may not be perfect or beautiful, I have plenty of time to practice over the next month!). As well, if after these tips you find you’re still struggling with Social Distancing, you can always check out my fifteen tips to survive Social Distancing to help you through this next month or so.