Quitting Toxic Blogging Positivity Culture

It sounds strange, doesn’t it? That positivity can be toxic.

However, over the last year, it’s really become increasingly clear to me that our culture has an unhealthy obsession with being happy, perfect and productive 24/7. We see it play out time and time again in media and advertising, on social media, and blogging in particular. But it’s more than that — it plays out in the real world, too, and has serious effects on our lives and mental health. This mentality wreaked havoc on my life in 2020 — and frankly, I’m done with it.

Now I don’t mean this in any sort of a bad way — especially since doing so would make me a hypocrite — but overall, the vast majority of blog posts that lifestyle bloggers produce have to do with productivity, goal-setting, or somehow creating the perfect life. Which I guess is sort of the point — if you’re a lifestyle blogger, you’re selling your lifestyle. It makes sense that you want it to look as good as it can possibly be. After all, everyone shares only the absolute best parts of their lives on social media and many (if not all of us) have exaggerated here and there every once in a while. The issue I want to talk about isn’t sharing the best moments and images of your life on social media, though. What I’m talking about — and hoping to fix in my own life — pertains pretty specifically to blogging.

Think about it. How many times have you seen a lifestyle blogger (myself included) share a post listing the numerous different ways you can change your life to be productive, or organized, or successful? Posts that create an image of a lifestyle that the blogger is living where they wake up early, work out, eat healthy, take perfect care of their skin, hair, and makeup, are successful and their job, with full social lives to top it all off? Maybe it isn’t spelled out directly, but it’s often implied. “Do this, and your life will be perfect.” While some people post practical guides, many of these guides are impossible to follow to a T. Simply put — the lifestyle depicted in these blog posts is not a realistic one.

I know I’m not the only one guilty of making posts like this. But do you really know anyone in real life who lives like that? I know some crazy successful people — but I don’t actually know anyone who can “do it all”. There’s only 24 hours in a day, and everyone has to pick and choose. I promise you, regardless of how it may seem online, absolutely no one’s life is flawless 24/7. I know some of you out there won’t believe me, and I know some of you know this in theory but often forget it in reality. But I promise you no one’s life is as perfect as it looks on social media. Not that influencer you love who seems to always look perfect, or Kylie Jenner, or the girl who seems like she owns everything you could ever want — not even the small blogger who seems to have their life 100% put together. None of them.

So why are we pretending that our lives ARE perfect? There’s a good chance that even if you think you’re not, you still may be. I want you to ask yourself if holding yourself to this standard is helping you, or if it’s actually hurting you. Of course we all want to put out a good image on social media — it’s not like I’m going to start posting pictures of myself without my hair washed and in my grossest old PJs on my Instagram — but what is up with going above and beyond lately? Why do we have to pretend like we’re productive and positive 24/7? Like our lives are busy all the time? Even a pandemic didn’t seem to stop the tirade of pretending to be productive all the time. So what will?

It wasn’t until last year that it really became abundantly clear to me just how damaging toxic positivity and hustle culture can be. While it’s certainly been a problem far before 2020 ever began, watching the world lock down due to a global pandemic really shone a light on how deeply ingrained and problematic this issue is within our society. I didn’t see it at first — in fact, for the first half of the pandemic, during the most emotionally challenging time I’ve ever gone through, I fell victim to it. No matter what life threw at me, I felt the need to “bounce back” as quickly as possible. In reality, though, it was impossible to keep up.

Tw: Death. I get into some pretty personal stuff the next few paragraphs, so if you don’t want to read it for whatever reason, feel free to skip past the italicized text — I promise I return to the main point afterwards!

Back in March of 2020, I was dealing with the grief of losing two very important people to me over the span of 5 weeks right as stay-at-home orders were put in place. I studying for my Biopsych final, which would decide whether or not I graduated from UBC, and on top of that, I was coming off what had been one of the most stressful and uncertain years of my life. In early 2019, I received the news that despite all the times I checked my graduation requirements, and my friends checked my requirements, and I had university advisors check over my requirements, I was somehow missing a class that I needed in order to graduate. I’d heard stories from friends of the same thing happening to them, but I’d been so careful — I figured there was no way it would happen to me.

But it did, and it was kind of devastating. Any plans I had went up in smoke, and ever since I’ve distinctly felt as though I’ve fallen behind in life, and that I wasted an entire year. For the first time in my life, I was kind of left alone without any sort of plan. Eventually, I picked up a job at a sports bar, often working 7 days a week, while I finished up my classes. My job often asked far too much of me, and took advantage of the fact that I was so capable of being the only host at such a large establishment during their busiest season. Could I handle it? Yeah, sort of. But just because I could push myself to my limits didn’t mean that I should. Yet, due to the very same culture that forces us to act productive and happy 24/7, I felt like I had to power through.

As the pandemic shut down the world, the pressure I put myself under while studying for my final was crushing. I spent almost every day for the first four weeks of lockdown studying from when I woke until bedtime. I struggled heavily with insomnia during those weeks. I was often so tired and overwhelmed with anxiety that I would physically shake for hours as I did my work — even though I knew that I was excelling in the class, and there was no need to be so hard on myself. I cried about losing my friend every single day up until the day that my Grandma passed away — but after that, I simply shut down. The following day after my grandma passed, I stopped crying. I barely remember what the two weeks between then and my final were like — all I remember is I stopped crying and I kept studying.

Through it all, however, I kept posting semi-regularly on my blog. I’d say I did everything I could to keep posting regularly, but I did more than everything I could — I was pushing myself beyond my limits. But so much of blogging revolves around showing others how to live their best life, based on how “perfect” your own life is. So I kept up the facade. One of my closest friends in the world passed away, and I only allowed myself only one week off from posting blogs. At the time, I thought I was taking it easy on myself — I missed a couple blog posts here and there, and while I felt guilty about it, I shared some posts mentioning I was taking a week or two off and did my best to not fall behind. However, every time I missed a post I felt as though I had failed. I felt guilty sharing my Spring FabFitFun unboxing three weeks late — as if it really mattered. Immediately after I finished up my final, I resumed posting twice a week — I didn’t even give myself the slightest break. However, it wasn’t good enough to pretend to have it all together online — I truly believed I had to have my life perfectly under control offline, too.

Back in early lockdowns (and even still now), we were constantly being bombarded with advertisements from companies about “being productive” now that we had the time, and “getting on top of things” while we could. And very quickly, we all bought into it as well. Once one person starts doing it, we all feel the need to keep up. Even though we were collectively going through an incredibly uncertain and stressful period in our lives, we felt the need to keep up with what we saw others doing online. Perfecting a new skill, daily workouts, cleaning your whole house, social media challenges, keeping up with all the biggest Netflix trends, finding a side hustle — I’m sure we all felt the pressure to do one, if not ALL of these at some point back in March/April of last year.

But why? Why did we all feel the need to be as busy as possible in a time when there was, objectively, nothing to do? Why did I feel the need to only take a week or two off before launching into creating a strict routine, sleep schedule, workout regimen and blogging itinerary when I was coping with so much loss and stress? At the time, I thought I was doing what was healthy, what was best for me. In retrospect, however, I can barely even remember what May was like. And while I kept it all up for about a month, it didn’t take long for it all to start unravelling.

After only a few short weeks of following my schedule and staying “perfectly” on top of my life, I had event after event come along and disrupt my newfound routine. Which is life, of course — things happen. It only took a couple little bumps to have my plan fall apart completely. By July, I began this perpetual game of catch-up that lasted months. I was late to post almost every single blog post I shared for two months straight, and every time a post was shared behind schedule, I felt as though I had failed. I had no motivation to keep writing, but I felt I had to — and forced myself to keep going. I couldn’t hold focus for more than a few minutes and I honestly didn’t feel I had anything to share at the time, but it didn’t matter. I had set goals for myself that I felt I had to achieve by year’s end, and I wanted to keep up the appearance everything was fine. I think I felt at the time everything WAS mostly fine — but now I realize it really, really wasn’t.

By September, it all fell apart. After months of holding myself together with nothing but guilt and the belief that I had to keep going, I was too burnt out to continue. I only had energy to coast through life until December came around. However, after a real, proper break — a month at home where I essentially expected nothing of myself, nor did my family — I’m finally starting to feel a little better. I’m trying to get my life back on track — but it’s for myself this time. I’m taking it slowly, and adding things back in with time instead of rushing myself back into a full schedule. Do I still struggle with having heightened or unrealistic expectations for myself? Yeah, of course. However, I’m trying to identify these expectations and why I feel the need to set them for myself nowadays to help myself determine what’s a healthy goal that pushes me forward, keeps me motivated and makes me happy; rather than something I’m aiming for that’s detrimental to my mental health and well-being.

Of course, my example is a little different, and fairly extreme. Who knows why I reacted the way I did to everything last year — it was a difficult year for me, and perhaps it was just the only way I knew to react to such an unfamiliar situation. I’m not here to psychoanalyze myself — although I guess I may be trying to analyze society as a whole. What I’m really trying to say here is — you don’t need to do it all. Choose what you WANT for yourself, and focus on that. You don’t need to work out every morning to have your life together. You don’t need to work through the weekend to be successful. You don’t need to always be busy to be happy.

And not just that — not everything has to be for the sake of being productive, too! Perhaps it’s just some capitalistic belief that the things we do aren’t valuable if they aren’t somehow profitable. But that isn’t true! When was the last time you had a hobby just for the sake of having a hobby? Something that you, perhaps, aren’t even good at? Why do you have to be good at it, after all, if it brings you joy? Balance is key — and while I’ve definitely said it before, you need to balance giving yourself a break, too. But not just cute blogger self-care nights — sometimes you just need a night to do nothing and a nap. Not everything in life has to be picture-perfect — contrary to what I or other bloggers have made you believe.

As lifestyle bloggers, we get sucked into following a bit of a formula — a particular aesthetic, a particular lifestyle, and particular interests. Following April, almost every single post of mine had to do with productivity, routine, schedule, or lockdowns. I didn’t even know what else to write about, as I had pretty severe writers block from all the issues I was facing. So I just kept forcing myself to be productive, and wrote about being productive — as if I were someone who had it all together when really, I had no idea what was going on. But we don’t need to adhere to an aesthetic. Life is more than that! Of course, if your blog is your business, you want to build a specific brand. But just because you’re starting out, doesn’t mean you need to fall into the trap of narrowing yourself down into the very particular lifestyle blogger aesthetic. While the minimalistic, cute, and elegant themes are absolutely gorgeous, there’s no need to wedge yourself into them if it isn’t what fits you. If the typical blogger aesthetic is something you aspire to, or is one that comes to you naturally — go for it, obviously! It’s majorly cute and refined, and I personally adore it — even though it isn’t my personal vibe.

As for what my vibe IS exactly — I honestly don’t really know. I’m working on it. I want to be able to fit every part of me into it, without cutting parts away simply because they don’t match. I feel as though I’m a very different person that I’ve perhaps lead you all to believe — either directly or indirectly. It’s not intentional — after all, I do love makeup, skincare, online shopping, subscription boxes and staying organized — but I also love art, and anime (Attack on Titan fans HMU), and BLACKPINK, and Animal Crossing, and I don’t think these things have to be mutually exclusive. But who know — it’s not like I have to figure it out on a deadline, after all!

When I started writing this post out, I had no idea where it was really going to go, honestly. I had a vague idea in my head, and an issue I wanted to discuss, and past that I just let it take me wherever it needed to go. Writing all this out was kind of therapeutic, in a way — really just sitting back and letting your writing take you wherever it will is a great way to discover things about yourself and your story. So I hope you’ve all learned something here today — because honestly, so did I. It may be difficult to let go — I don’t think it’s a change I’ll be able to make 100% overnight — but I’m hoping to put in the work and identify these beliefs and behaviours when they come up in my life, in order to challenge them and make some positive differences in both my life and other’s.

I guess to sum up what I have to say — it’s not like I’m going to stop trying. I’m not going to stop trying to better myself, to be successful, to look my best, to surround myself with happiness. I’m still going to strive forward towards these things. And whatever advice I learn along the way I’ll absolutely share with you all. But I’m done with preaching advice I don’t take myself, or acting like some know-it-all with a perfect life. I’m not. You’re not. None of us are. Life is messy and while it can be beautiful, it isn’t perfect. So this is my little pledge — to stop forcing myself to fit a standard and chastising myself when I don’t reach it. To take real breaks, and not just push myself further after falling behind. And to always be honest with all of you, and share honest advice, and not just what I think sounds good on paper.

Love you all, always,

Meredith

My Fall 2020 FabFitFun Unboxing!

Hey friends!

So, it’s been a minute. I know. I’ve decided to stop apologizing for delays and needing to take breaks this year — in all honestly, I’m incredibly burnt out. The stress of keeping up with the news, trying to stay active, productive and healthy, finding a job, dealing with my newfound seasonal depression and just overall how 2020 has made me feel in general has just left me completely worn out. So I’m not apologizing anymore — this year has been brutal and I’m not going to pretend it’s all been smooth sailing because honestly, anyone that’s told you that their 2020 has been going well is lying to you or trying to sell you something. While I tried to force myself to keep up with my self-imposed blogging schedule, I’ve spent the last two months dealing with not only writers block, but a severe lack of motivation and an overall feeling of exhaustion. Eventually, I was sort of forced to take a step back — I just couldn’t keep up with it all anymore.

However, now that I’ve taken a bit of a break and am feeling a little rejuvenated with the holidays coming up, I figured it’s time to start sharing with you all again. Will I maintain my blogging schedule? Will I always end up posting on time? Who knows. I’m not making any promises. Forcing myself to adhere so strictly to my blogging schedule, regardless of how much pressure I was putting on myself, is how I ended up in this mess in the first place. So, basically, I don’t know. I’m excited to start writing out some holiday and end-of-year content to share with you all, but whether it arrives on Thursdays & Sundays, on time, or just whenever I feel like it will really depend and I’m not going to force myself to do anything I’m not feeling up to.

But all that aside, I do have something I’ve been meaning to share with you guys for a while now — my fall FabFitFun box! Receiving this box was really exciting, not only because I was hyped about the items I was receiving but also to see the changes FabFitFun has been making with COVID and to actively help the environment! Certain changes are very visible — such as redesigning the boxes to be smaller, as well as using 100% recycled materials to make their box, as well as all the tissue paper that comes inside. The magazine also appears to be made out of new materials, as well, and they note inside it that they predict that these changes will lead to a 43.78% difference in their greenhouse gas emissions as well as save 31,302 trees! So yeah, I’m pretty hyped about that — climate change is one of the biggest issues facing us and our planet and it’s great seeing companies take steps to combat it.

Overall, I really couldn’t be happier with this box — not only is it always a lovely pick-me-up at the start of each season, but sending a little surprise gift to yourself really helps to combat the COVID blues. Plus, this time around my box had CRAZY value for my money — while I did add on more items this time around than I ever have before, my items would have costed me $504.49 in real life — which is significantly more than the $117.50 (including shipping, add-ons and all) that I paid. Basically — I really couldn’t recommend these boxes more! I’ve yet to let a product go to waste, and the discounts you receive through FabFitFun are unreal. Plus, each box really does feel like a little gift to yourself. What’s not to love?

Anyways — enough rambling from me, let’s get into what I received this season!

Botkier New York Trigger Backpack

When I saw this product in the little “sneak peek” FabFitFun offered into their Fall box, I knew I had to have it. First of all — it’s super cute. But not just that, it’s a backpack!!! Which I adore. My biggest pet peeve is having to carry around a purse that forces me to dedicate an entire arm to simply carrying around the essentials — almost every bag I own is a crossbody or something similar for that exact reason. However — in my opinion — nothing beats backpacks when it comes to bags. I haven’t had a backpack for a while now, but this one is just so CUTE! I’m absolutely obsessed with it. It’s probably one of my favourite items I’ve received in a FabFitFun box, like, ever.

SOIA & KYO Woven Scarfigan With Fringe

Anything that combines cute and cozy is a win in my books — especially in 2020. I’m personally always feeling like I’m lacking in cute sweaters and cardigans, so any chance I have to add one to my collection is something I jump at. This cardigan isn’t just comfortable, though, it’s also really high quality and elevates any outfit you pair it with. I’ve been needing some warmer-weather statement pieces, and I’m absolutely loving that cardigan for this.

JENNY BIRD Leana Pendant

I’m not usually one for jewelry, but lately I’ve been trying to change that. (Evidently, since two of my add-on items were necklaces!). This necklace is SO pretty and classy — and it’s defintely something I wouldn’t have usually bought for myself, which really made it feel like a little gift from me to myself. It’s cute and adds a little statement to an outfit while still being simple, and really adds to almost any outfit.

Masontop’s Glass Water Bottle with Neoprene

There’s really nothing I needed more in my life than good, reusable water bottle. While I do have one I bought off some Instagram page complete with a giant crystal inside it (read: cute but small and impractical), I haven’t had a proper reusable bottle in a while (on account of me often misplacing them). It wasn’t much of a problem pre-COVID as almost any situation involving me leaving the house for long periods of time was to head to work — at a bar, where I could get a glass and refill it with water as often as I pleased. However, that isn’t the case anymore, and while I don’t have many reasons to leave the house nowadays with lockdowns, it feels nice to be prepared for when life goes back to normal.

HIP Cutlery Set

This might sound silly, but this cutlery set actually solves a huge problem in my life. In university, every time I got my life together enough to make myself lunch to eat between classes, I never really knew what to do about cutlery — bringing a fork from home meant I risked losing it, plus I never knew where to keep them without using a plastic bag. Finding plastic cutlery on campus was a pain, but also meant I had to be wasteful and overall wasn’t a great solution. However, with this cutlery set, I’ll be able to be more eco-friendly and prepared for days when I have it together enough to make my own lunch. Plus, the little carrying case looks like a total lifesaver in terms of storing your cutlery in your bag.

Voesh New York Pumpkin Spice Pedicure In A Box

Okay, this was been THE best thing my self-care nights have experienced in lockdown. This box comes with two pedicures — complete with a salt soak, scrub, mask and massage butter for your feet. Going for a pedicure is basically off the table right now (like, I’m sure you can go get one done — but is it really necessary?) but it’s nice to be able to pamper yourself, especially considering the current state of the world. I’ve already made use of one of the two pedicures included in the box, and not only was it massively relaxing, but my feet felt amazing after. I’ve been really getting into doing my own nails in lockdowns — I used to be really good at painting my own nails back before I discovered acrylics. However, I’ve been taking it a step further lately and trying to learn how to give myself the full mani/pedi experience, so I really loved these pedi packages.

NatureLab. Tokyo Perfect Hair Treatment Masque

I haven’t actually had the chance to try this hair mask out just yet, so I’ll keep this one short and sweet. FabFitFun has never steered me wrong on hair care before, so I’m pretty excited to give this product a go. I JUST used up my latest Ouai Treatment Masque (which you all know I love) so I’m going to be able to start on this hair mask pretty soon. It’s loaded with all kinds of great ingredients, such as keratin, so I’m sure it’ll keep my hair healthy and strong this winter.

The Beauty Crop Glow Milk in Blind Date

This little liquid highlighter came at just the right time for me. I’m a huge fan of CoverFX’s Custom Enhancer Drops, but sadly I just used up my bottle. While I’ve purchased makeup here and there this year, it feels awfully pointless to be spending loads of money on makeup right now when I’m hardly leaving the house or wearing any (especially since Sephora no longer carries CoverFX, so I’d have to go out of my way to buy it). This liquid highlighter definitely isn’t quite the same, it’s more in line with what I need right now. It’s not as pigmented, which gives a nice, natural, every-day glow — unlike CoverFX, I can wear it without a full face of makeup and it would look perfectly normal. I’m really happy to have received this product in my box, and I’m hoping that I’ll have more chances to test it out soon!

Add On: FOXYBAE 25mm Curling Wand

When I saw this curling wand available for this season’s box, I knew I had to have it. I haven’t owned a hair curler of my own in SO LONG, so it feels nice to finally have one again. I really don’t know much about hair, so buying a hair curler myself was a bit of a daunting idea — I really wouldn’t know where to start on finding a good one. However, I trust FabFitFun to not steer me in the wrong direction — PLUS, I got this $100 hair curler for only $15, so it made it feel like a much less daunting commitment. I’ve only gotten once chance to try it out so far, but it works probably, without exaggerating, as least 3x better than any curler I’ve ever owned before and I couldn’t be more excited about it.

Add On: Genevive Jewelry Heart Necklace and Jennifer Zeuner Star Double Necklace

I decided to add these on to my box this season to add to my little jewelry collection. Not only are they super cute, but they collectively cost me $50 — a FAR cry from the $250 I would have spent if I bought them retail. I don’t know how FabFitFun manages to offer so many products at such a large discount, but I won’t question it.

I hope you guys all enjoyed this post! I won’t lie, it actually feels pretty good to get back into writing and doing something productive for myself. While forcing myself to write only ended up adding to the stress that this year has already caused me, writing in itself is one of my favourite hobbies and is usually something that brings me peace. Here’s to hoping that for the rest of 2020, I can get back on track with it and maintain it as an escape from burnout, rather than a source of it.

If all goes well, I should have a lot of new and exciting posts coming up for you all! I’m going to hold off on posting my favourite products on Thursdays until I’ve built up a good backlog of reviews as one of my biggest sources of stress over blogging was sharing my Thursday Favourite’s posts. While I do love sharing them and I hope you guys have found products you loved based off my reviews, they can be a little more challenging to write as the scope of what I share in each post is more limited and I felt I was always playing catch-up trying to get each post out to you guys each Thursday. In the meantime, I’m going to be writing up a whole bunch of Holiday content — such as my Holiday Gift Guide series some of you may remember from last year, as well as New Years 2021 content! I’m also going to be sharing my first EVER ColourPop Cosmetics haul with you guys soon, as well as my Winter FabFitFun Unboxing!

Thank you all, once again, for being so patient with me as I’ve learned to be patient with myself. This year has been a rough one, but slowly I’ve been learning to get myself back on track without pushing myself too hard or causing myself too much stress. It took a while, but I’ve learned that progress doesn’t happen overnight and trying to force it to just leads to a cycle of burnout and needing to take time off. 2020 hasn’t been easy for any of us, and while it may seem like everyone is preaching productivity in lockdown, it’s okay to cut yourself some slack. This year has been stressful enough without you adding a larger burden on yourself.

Much love,

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

Fifteen Tips To Get Through Social Distancing

Photo by Emma Matthews Digital Content Production on Unsplash

Hey y’all!

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

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

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

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

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

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

Much love,

Meredith

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