How to Steer Your Mind in the Right Direction

How to Steer Your Mind in the Right Direction

Every morning when I wake I either feel light and happy and ready for the day, or an immediate feeling of dread consumes my body and I fear I won’t be able to accomplish anything (at least not how I hope to) for the day. The mornings that I wake up ready to go are my favorites. They’re the ones where I feel the endless possibilities around me and I show up excited to receive them. The other mornings I don’t like as much, naturally, and I’ve been trying out some new ways to turn them around before they determine more than they should. 

Recently I’ve learned that, from the moment we wake up, we begin to ask ourselves questions- whether it be conscious or not. We may talk ourselves into a complete panic with our inner dialogue without really being aware of it. We might ask ourselves “What are all of the things I need to do today?”, or “How am I going to be able to do that?”, “Will I be able to?”, “What if I look like an idiot?”

I’ve also learned that we can change this dialogue by becoming aware of it and more intentional about the kinds of questions being asked. This can actually begin the night before, as you prepare for the next day ahead. Instead of, “Am I really capable of this?”, maybe try something like “How am I going to show up in a way that I never have before?”, or “How am I going to show up in a way that makes a positive impact in the world?” 

Instead of focusing on one small part of your day and stressing out about whether it will go well or not, you can ask overarching questions that have the power to shape the entirety of your day. Asking yourself a question like that, before falling asleep, sets you up to ask it again in the morning to get you in the same mindset. Yes, stressful things are going on, but how will you show up for them? Will you show up in a way that you’re proud of? That makes you happy? That makes a positive difference?

Fear keeps us from doing great things. It is scary to put ourselves out there and open ourselves up to criticism. But this is the kind of stuff that makes life great. Without risk and vulnerability we are stable. And yes, stable is good, but not when it’s the highlight of your entire life. 

Failures happen when we’re trying to do better. When we’re challenging ourselves and learning new things. We should never stop doing that. Even if it doesn’t always work out the way we’d hoped. By asking yourself more strategic questions to get you into a focused and motivated headspace, you can approach your day head on, knowing full well that there could be failure, but there could also be great success. And even if there is failure, you’re still on the right track.

This week was a bit of a strange one for me. I just couldn’t get into a rhythm. But asking myself these kinds of questions had me feeling like I was still on the right track. The brain is designed specifically to solve problems, and, when left unattended, will go off and start trying to solve all kinds of problems that don’t even exist. Which, in turn, leads to anxiety. But, if we are conscious of our thoughts, we can direct them in the way we wish them to go. Asking questions forces the brain into problem-solving mode, and when we’re in charge we can direct it to solve realities we’re actually dealing with. Just have to point it in the right direction. 

My favorite question to ask when I’m stressed or nervous about something, has been “How can I make this playful?” As kids, we’re so good at creating and playing and using our imagination, without any regard for criticism. As adults, we tend to lose that magic skill, and we begin caring way too much about if we look stupid or not. If we can immerse ourselves in what we are wishing to focus on in a true and meaningful and playful way, we’ll get a lot more out of it and be able to create much more amazingness than had we been worrying about what others would think the whole time. 

This week was a weird week over here. But feelings come and go. And life sends us through cycles of highs and lows and it’s or job to know what we need and when we need it and trust that, when we’re in the low moments, that better vibes are just around the corner. And in the meantime, we can ask ourselves those questions that point us in the right direction. And also go on a walk with our dog and a seltzer. Solves pretty much anything if you ask me. 🙂 

What Makes You Feel More Like You?

What Makes You Feel More Like You?

A couple of weeks ago, I posted on Instagram asking what made you feel more like you. It’s something I’ve been thinking about a lot recently. I’d been feeling super off and a little down. I was struggling to find inspiration, motivation and confidence and I couldn’t figure out why that was, or how to get it back. I felt helpless to the idea that these feelings would come and go as they pleased, without much of my own say in the matter. 

BUT. What I realized last week in my big, BIG epiphany, was that I DO have a say in the matter. I do get to decide if I feel confident and inspired and motivated. Sure, I may not feel it intrinsically at times, but we do have the power to create it for ourselves. And, the more we do this, the easier it is to get into the swing of it again and again and again. It’s amazing really. How much power we truly have. It’s just hard to see it when you’re struggling to get out from under that little dark cloud that won’t stop following you around. 

What’s really funny about this epiphany that I had though, is that I knew the answer to my question all along. I already knew how to get myself out of a funk. In fact, it’s literally the entire reason I started this blog in the first place. And yet, I forgot. I forgot what made me feel like me. What inspired and motivated me and made me feel unstoppable. 

And what is it for me, you might ask, that makes me feel more like me? It’s giving myself some extra time to do my hair and makeup, and dressing myself up a bit. That’s it. Super simple. A little extra TLC to make me feel like my best self before the day begins. And yet, when I’m not in the best mood, it’s the last thing I want to do. Isn’t it funny how the things that will be best for us seem to always be the things we want to do the least? Salads over pizzas, water over pretty much any other beverage, working out over couch potatoing… (that’s right, I made it a verb). 

Here I am, starting a blog to encourage women to do what they need to do to be and feel like their best selves, based on my own personal experiences, and even I am in need of the reminder as well. A reminder that we deserve love. ESPECIALLY from ourselves. And maybe that doesn’t mean putting makeup on everyday. Maybe it’s actually quite the opposite. Maybe it’s as simple as taking your vitamins or remembering to moisturize.

When my Dad was sick, I travelled home to Portland to be with him and my family for the months leading up to his death. I felt so all over the place internally most days that I just wanted to crawl right out of my skin. But in acknowledging that my skin was the one place I will inhabit for the rest of my life, I instead decided to make it a more pleasant place to be. Ergo, my newborn obsession with makeup and hair tricks. 

After my Dad passed, I spent the entire next year committed to doing one nice thing for myself a day. Something that healed me, whether it be physical or mental. I started acupuncture and therapy weekly. I began to get my nails done and do face masks religiously. I honestly had never really found the benefit in any of these things prior, but I knew it’s what I needed. 

I may no longer rely on these things as heavily anymore, but their benefits have never dwindled. And I can see that more clearly today than ever before. Here I was thinking I was healed and that these things were more supplemental  for me than anything. But, in reality, I still need them more than ever. I will never stop needing them. 

Maybe those needs will change, as I do, but what I must remember is that making myself feel inspired and confident and loved are always a top priority. If I am going to inspire other women to unapologetically show themselves love way more often than society has ever taught us to, then I have to do the same. I have to truly live it. You can try your hardest to be self-sufficient and act as though you don’t need any of it, but the truth is, we all do. We all have the basic need of feeling loved and held. And providing this feeling, on our own, for ourselves, is the most healing and inspiring thing we’ll ever do. 

So now I pose this question to you: what makes you feel more like, well… you?

Let The Bad Days, Be Bad Days

Let The Bad Days, Be Bad Days

This past Sunday was a weird day. I wouldn’t say it was bad necessarily, just a little off. It seemed like everything that I tried to do just didn’t go as planned. Nothing major, but when the small inconveniences build up it can still get a little overwhelming. As I was stumbling my way through running errands that evening (since I was literally making everything difficult for myself) I remembered something I’d been told many times before: Life isn’t meant to be easy.

I feel like that’s one of those cliche’s you hear all the time, but never really give any real thought to. Or at least I hadn’t. I’d hear someone say it or read it somewhere and nod vigorously in total, unwavering agreement. Yet, when it really came to applying it in my everyday reality, I’d always forget about it.

But this Sunday was different. Because while I was having an off day, I suddenly remembered this simple, incredibly helpful, fact. For most of my life I had it easy (in most ways, I still do). But once my Dad became sick I kind of had to have a come to Jesus moment with the fact that being alive meant things like this would happen too. And that it was pretty much completely out of my control. What a freaking thing to have to come to terms with in such a short amount of time. In all honesty, I think I am just now getting around to realizing what it means to truly understand and accept it.

My response to it at first was to try with all my might to control it. Or at least predict it. I’d worry endlessly about someone else I loved, or myself, becoming ill, getting hurt, or dying. When someone would refer to the future with such certainty, as I would have in the past, it suddenly didn’t feel right. How could you say so confidently that “there’s always next year?” I’d almost feel that I was jinxing it by saying something like that, so I kept my mouth shut and just prayed for the best. 

Brené Brown says that joy is one of the most vulnerable things you can feel. And now I really understand that one too. I used to feel joy without a doubt in my mind. Now I feel it and immediately follow up with the fact that it won’t last forever. It’s exhausting, always stunting your joy before you’ve even really had a chance to feel it. 

All of this need for control totally took away my ability to just feel happy and relax. Attempting to control everything that happens to you and your loved ones and everyone else in the world, and wanting everything to be perfect and for everyone to feel safe and loved, is a lot to place on your shoulders. Not only is it a lot, it’s setting yourself up for complete and utter failure. And massive disappointment. 

This past Sunday, when I remembered that life is not meant to be easy, it finally sunk in that I do not have control. And that it’s actually really beneficial to find acceptance with that. It doesn’t mean you accept the bad things that happen, which is what I think I’d thought it meant all this time. It means that you have to accept that regardless of how hard you try to keep it from being so, bad things will happen. To you, to your loved ones, to the world. Bad things happen everyday. But so do good things. A LOT of good things. And trying to predict and avoid any and all possible things that could go wrong, tear away any opportunity you might have to experience everything that could go right. Plus it distracts and discourages us from doing good in areas we may be able to actually help change, too.

Take it from me, someone who has tried to control everything and has constantly “waited for the other shoe to drop,” life changes for the better when we release our attempts to control things that are already, and unchangeably, completely outside of our control. Bad things can, do and will happen. There’s no way around it. But our reaction to it and how we choose to live our lives in spite of it, is what really helps us through. When we acknowledge that life is actually meant to be a struggle, we won’t be blindsided when shit hits the fan. AND, when shit is not hitting the fan, we also give ourselves permission to fully immerse ourselves in and feel those moments of joy. We realize that no, those moments won’t last forever, but that it’s a privilege to have them at all. When we stop trying to make everything perfect, we can see it for the perfect that it already is. And when we see its perfection we can trust it more fully and live in a way that makes us feel truly alive. Appreciating every little moment, knowing nothing lasts forever. 

You Are Loved. You are You. You Are Perfect.

You Are Loved. You are You. You Are Perfect.

I’ve been reading the book, Untamed by Glennon Doyle. If you’ve read it, or are familiar with it, then you know it’s a story about a woman who colors within the lines, or tries her darnedest, for a majority of her life. Then, something magical happens. She decides to be unapologetically herself and unapologetically happy for it. Naturally, this has me thinking a lot about my currently over-apologetic self and how I came to be this way.

You see, society conditions us (men and women, but for these attributes I’m speaking specifically to women) to be seen and not heard. To be polite and pleasant and always put others before ourselves. We pride ourselves and base our entire worth as a woman on how helpful we are, or at least how helpful others perceive us to be. We feel guilt the moment we share an opinion that might come off as “too strong”, or when we want to do something that might disrupt our own, and others’, comfortable way of living. If we speak too loud, hurt someone’s feelings, do something for ourselves over doing something for someone else, we are pushed into a shame storm that lasts until we can finally redeem ourselves and someone by the grace of God comes along and tells us just how “good” we actually are. That feeling of validation for being someone society wants us to be, is exactly what keeps the vicious cycle going. 

The idea of jumping off this wild carousel ride feels intimidating, almost impossible. As humans, we so badly want to be “liked.” We want others to think we are good. And we’ll do anything to get that stamp of approval. Of course, we don’t want to be running around like a bunch of assholes, but to what extent is making others happy causing us to lose ourselves? If we aren’t careful we might just end up as shells of humans with pretty hair, pretty smiles, and our entire existences spent searching for the next validating moment that tells us that we, indeed, have succeeded as the figure of a woman society so happily constructed for us. 

I find myself lately asking for validation way more than I’m comfortable with. Way more than I think many of us would feel comfortable with. Confirmation to ensure that I’m not being too much, but also reassurance that I am still enough. A tight rope I’ve walked my whole life, that I have only brought myself to question a handful of times. I have put the responsibility of making sure others feel comfortable, that others feel happy, before myself. I will feel uncomfortable, I will feel unhappy. So long as others around me don’t. So long as they think I’m nice and pretty and pleasant.

But within those lines is not where great things happen. Life, real life, cannot happen there. There, we do all the things we think we’re supposed to do. The things we think we “should” do. And then a whole life passes and you look back and realize you never really did anything you actually wanted. You never really lived your life for you. 

We’re told that we can’t be contradictory or controversial. Everyone is much more comfortable with us being calculated, careful. But we can make mistakes and still be good. We can have strong opinions and stick by them even when it makes others uncomfortable. We can exist in our fullness without being sorry for it. What we cannot do is survive in a life where every little action and reaction is given all of our energy to think through it first in fear of how it’ll be perceived. Or where we would rather live with caution, never putting ourselves out there, in fear of rejection. 

Our existence is not purposeful in making others feel comfortable. Our existence becomes powerful when we give others permission to live their lives fully, by living ours fully too. I can think back to many times when society has tried to keep me locked in a perfectly finished little box. It still does. And I still feel the pressure of those walls. Every time I think of myself as lesser I am reminded that they are still there. But there’s a way out of that box. It’s not locked. We can choose to challenge those thoughts and feelings and decide that we are both not too much and more than enough, all on our very own. 

We are all capable of amazing things. No favors are done by shrinking into “should.” It is a great disservice, to yourself and to the world, to be anything but you. A you that lives life how they want, on their terms. A you that loves themselves, unconditionally and unapologetically. We must forgive all the apologies from our past, people-pleasing selves, and trust ourselves enough to make way for the new, shiny, unapologetic being that’s been here inside us all along. Just waiting to break free.

She is loved. She is you. She is perfect.

<3,

Sarah

What I Learned During Dry January

What I Learned During Dry January

Let me ask you a serious question. What’s the longest you’ve gone without one single sip of alcohol in your adult life? For me, I honestly couldn’t remember up until this past January. We spent the holidays last year like any other, drinking/eating a lot, and doing fun stuff with people we love. What was different for us this time, however, was that after all was said and done, we decided to go cold turkey on the drinking for the entire month of January. It seemed like such a great way to start the new year fresh and on a positive note, and also didn’t seem that hard to do, at least in the very beginning. Here’s what I learned during 31 days of no drinking:

  1. Your skin looks SO much better with no alcohol in your system. I don’t necessarily break out more when I drink, but my “fine lines” are definitely more visible after a glass of wine or two. I know you’re supposed to drink lots of water while consuming alcohol, to offset the effects of dehydration, but honestly who is on top of that 100% of the time? Not me. Because of this, I REALLY enjoyed waking up to a youthful, glowing complexion almost every morning in January. Will not be taking that for granted!
  2. Your body just feels better when you’re not drinking. I used to wake up slightly hungover even just from having two glasses of wine, but when you’re not drinking you wake up feeling great pretty much every day. Which is freaking amazing. Alcohol also messes with your REM cycle when you sleep, so no alcohol means you get better rest overall. 
  3. Alcohol is actually a carcinogen, meaning it has the ability to affect cell production and cause cancer in the body. I’m usually all about clean eating and avoiding foods/products that can cause harm, so why do I not associate alcohol with this group? Now, I’m not saying we should live in fear and avoid everything just to hopefully live to 150 (cause who wants to live to 150??), but I do think it’s smart to be mindful of what alcohol actually is, so you can remember to consume in moderation and treat your body with respect. Alcohol actually speeds up the aging process, and, while I am certainly not trying to live to 150, I also am not trying to speed things up either. 
  4. I still have anxiety when I don’t drink. For the longest time I have blamed anxious feelings/thoughts on alcohol. Even if I had one glass of wine the night before, if I felt off at all the next day, I’d immediately blame it on the alcohol. Which, could have had something to do with it, sure. But every single time? Probably not. This was an easy scapegoat so that I could carry on throughout my day without actually checking in to see where the anxiety was stemming from. Without alcohol, I had to develop a new practice. Alcohol couldn’t be the reason anymore, so I started journaling more, reading more and generally just doing more great stuff for my mind and body. Which was an amazing perk, and actually led to less anxiety overall. Win! 
  5. Not drinking makes you WAY more productive. Now, I am not an advocate of working more than what you personally feel allows for a balanced, healthy lifestyle, but I will say that not drinking helps you go longer than you otherwise might- like the cute little Energizer bunny. Some days, when I’m done with work, I’ll pour a glass of wine, read an article and relax. And while I love this time to myself, the problem ends up being that I suddenly have zero motivation to get anything else done afterwards. Folding the laundry? Hell no. Doing the dishes? Absolutely not. Doing anything other than getting some chips and watching 17 episodes of RHOBH? Not happening. So, if you’re trying to keep the productivity mode on longer throughout the day, maybe postpone the wine, or skip a drink altogether. 

Many lessons learned on this road we (Dan and I) just ventured down, and I am happy to report that I am so glad we did it. Sure, it was a bit unsettling when in the beginning my first thought every Sunday was to go to brunch and get a bloody mary. And yes, it was much more difficult towards the end and I’m not going to try to convince you that I didn’t almost cave a time or two. But, overall, this experience is something I would recommend to anyone who feels like they’re in a bit of a life funk, and needs to do something drastic to get out of it. Not drinking for 31 days gave my body and mind the reset it needed, helped me stay motivated and inspired to do things I love and that fill my soul, and made me a better human overall. Alcohol, as nice as it can be, can also be an agent for numbing and not being fully present in your life. We only have so much time, so we don’t want to waste too much of it buzzing on the couch staring at a TV screen. There’s so much knowledge to learn and experiences to have! Spend 31 days 100% sober with yourself, and let me know how much more you love and appreciate the “new” you at the very end. 

Cheers! Oh wait, too soon?

<3,

Sarah

Meditation, Simplified

Meditation, Simplified

So I know I just wrote this whole post about not forcing yourself into a one-size-fits-all routine (see Creating Routine That Works For You ), but I should mention one part of my day that I have just started to implement and really enjoy- meditating. I know, I know, it’s a very intimidating idea to sit in silence for any extended period of time when we could be doing so many other things that need to get done, but hear me out. When you begin your day, do you start out slowly, taking in the new sunlight pouring through your windows and getting a moment to peacefully begin? Or do you hop out of bed, rush through all your morning rituals, only to run out the door or hop on a zoom call at the very last minute? 

I for one, typically begin my day as the latter. I have never been a morning person, but, morning person or not, it’s never enjoyable to wake up and instantly feel like you’re already behind for the day. It makes me full of anxiety in the very minute of waking, and I am sure that anyone who does the same can relate to that feeling. So why do we keep doing it? Why not give ourselves at least 5 minutes in the morning to begin our day on a more positive, intentional note? So we can spend the rest of the day more centered and grounded in our purpose. 

This is why I have started to implement meditation into my morning routine. I’ve been working on waking up earlier, which includes going to bed earlier (a HUGE challenge for me), but I am SO much happier when I wake up early and have time to spend my morning how I want to. I know meditation can sound pretty boring or intimidating because what most of us think of as meditating is sitting cross-legged on a yoga mat or pillow, with our hands facing upwards on our knees, our shoulders squared and chin tucked, counting our breaths, not having any thoughts whatsoever, and a bright light emanating from the top of our skull to the heavens when we are doing it right. Right? Just me? Regardless of what you think of when meditation comes to mind, if it’s negative, I am here to tell you it doesn’t have to be. 

What really got me into this idea of simplifying meditation was Dan Harris’ book, 10% Happier. If you haven’t read/listened to it, and are skeptical but curious about meditation, then I’d highly recommend taking a look. I listened to it on Audible during a long car ride, and was fascinated the whole way through. Dan Harris is an excellent story teller, and his is an amazing one to hear. He is actually someone who you probably would never think of as a “meditator,” but he describes his journey to meditation as a way to relieve anxieties, and how he found a way that works for him. So, the key here is to find a way that works for you, too! Here’s some tips that have worked for me so far.

  1. Get out of your head. I mean, that’s really the whole point of meditating in the first place, to become aware of your thoughts, right? To see the inner workings of your mind, that constant chatter that we sometimes can mistake as our reality, for what they really are: thoughts. And we are not our thoughts. Reality is not our thoughts. Our thoughts are an endless free-write session of our subconscious feelings and insecurities. So, when preparing to meditate, try to remember that the reason you are wanting to meditate, is the very same reason you might feel deterred to do so. Your mind will go to great lengths to keep you from shutting it up.
  2. Sit wherever and however you are comfortable. You do not need to roll out a yoga mat, light candles and play spiritual music. You can literally sit on the side of your bed, in your car, or in your chair at your desk. Wherever you are comfortable is where you will be most successful. 
  3. Remember that while meditating, it’s okay to have thoughts. I think many of us become discouraged and give up on meditation the moment we have a single thought during the experience. Your mind is literally made to think, so it is perfectly and completely normal to have thoughts while you’re meditating. This is the whole point and a great opportunity to work your mind! Being able to have a thought, and be aware that you are thinking. That is success in meditation. I’ve heard it described as watching cars drive by, or being behind a waterfall and watching the water come down. The cars, or the water, or whatever other metaphor you’d like to come up with- those are your thoughts. And in meditation you are watching them. You are aware of them. This helps you remember that you are not your thoughts, they do not define your reality, and that you can disconnect from them at any time you want- you just have to have the awareness to do so. 
  4. You do not have to meditate forever! I know some will say they meditate 30 minutes or an hour a day, and that’s great for them, but to me (and to I’m assuming anyone else who’s a beginner), that sounds like I’d just be setting myself up for failure. So, instead, start small and work your way up. I started with 5 minutes and am up to 10 now. Don’t know if I’ll ever get to 30, but hey, never say never! 

Meditating is like a workout for your mind. Unfortunately, our society is so focused on working out the physical, we forget how important it is to be mentally strong as well. While being physically healthy is incredibly important, being mentally healthy, I’d argue, is almost more-so. If you don’t feel beautiful and happy with yourself on the inside, you’ll never feel that on the outside- no matter how perfect of a specimen you may be. And yes, the two can go hand in hand- working out does give many people a form of meditation- but if you’re feeling strong on the outside, but not so much on the inside, then maybe it’s time to take a look at other methods for that. 

Meditating has the ability to ground you and center you into who you really are. It connects you to a higher place within- a place that reminds you that most of the bullshit we worry about really doesn’t matter. It’s funny really, because we already know ourselves and what’s truly important in life, but we get caught up in all the commotion. We lose ourselves to all of these outside pressures and forget that we are perfect, just as we are, and that we are exactly where we are supposed to be.

When I take even 5 minutes in the morning for this practice, I spend the rest of the day feeling happier, more inspired, and more at peace with myself and the world around me. There is so much constant chatter coming from inside our heads, as well as a million other external avenues, on a daily basis. This can cause anxiety and depression and discourage us from becoming our best selves and working toward the life we want. We must find ways to invest in ourselves and center ourselves so that we are more readily able to handle all of this chatter, otherwise we will find ourselves on a never-ending wheel of feeling tired, anxious, helpless, and never be able to stop. Meditation is an incredible way for you to step off the wheel. You can remove yourself from all the noise, if only you allow yourself the opportunity. I know it sounds like a lot, but if you consider the steps I listed above, I think you’ll find, as I did, that it can be one of the greatest assets to a happy and purposeful life.

What has your experience been with meditation? Any tips you have to share? Would love to hear your stories!

<3,

Sarah

Creating Routine That Works for You

Creating Routine That Works for You

I wrote this post last week when I was feeling less than inspired, and it honestly came out as complete and utter bullshit. Sometimes that happens. Writing doesn’t just happen on demand, it has to come from a genuine place and feel inspired. I originally wanted to share about the changes I plan to make in my daily routine so I feel like a more productive person, because last year I didn’t feel that way at all. I think we all fall into ruts in life, where there’s something, or a few things, holding us back from the things that are really important to us. And I want to feel that, instead of this post just giving you some bullet points on how to wake up earlier or hold yourself accountable to work out, that it actually helps you feel inspired to do those things. 

I think the knowledge lies within all of us of what it is we truly want, yet our brains get in the way and keep us from accomplishing it a lot of the time. Last year was a really strange year- as I know it was for most (all) of us. For us, Covid was still new, Dan was working evenings, and we lived somewhere we barely knew anyone. I spent a lot of last summer alone. I’d stay up late and wake up late, and always felt like I was falling behind or wasn’t doing enough. I did go on walks to watch the sunset with Remi and stuck to a pretty structured workout routine, but the motivation behind it just wasn’t there. It felt like I was going through the motions and didn’t have much purpose.

Man that sounds depressing lol but it’s honest. I was okay, really, I just felt uninspired and a bit lost- which is the root of all that is holding you back. And the greatest way to combat this feeling is to spend time doing something you love. Maybe you don’t really know what that thing is yet, and that’s okay. Try different things and see what speaks to you. But make sure it’s something that really feeds your soul. Not reality TV or social media. More like getting out in nature, reading a good book, journaling or listening to a podcast. Anything that leaves you feeling better than before you started it. I didn’t do that enough last summer and I really suffered for it. As soon as I began doing some of the things I mentioned above, my anxiety lessened and I felt more at peace. I felt more motivated to do other things I loved and was inspired to better myself.

Doing these things helps so much because it leads you to your “why,” which is the most crucial piece of the puzzle. What is the point of you doing any of this if you don’t have a reason? The nice thing is you don’t have to put a lot of pressure on this part (none of this should really feel pressured at all). Your why can be whatever it is you think of and pull inspiration from. Toward the end of last year, my reason became myself. I have been on this constant journey of healing ever since my Dad became sick, and for most of it I was just trying to distract and stay afloat. But last year I finally got a chance to slow down and not feel guilty for it. I spent so much time with myself and finally got to learn more about the new me. I am not the same person I used to be, but I like this version of myself more. Finding that new love and understanding helped me feel more purposeful in my days again. No, I wasn’t finding that purpose in running around like a crazy person doing things for other people, I was finding it in how good I felt in everything I did for me.

I guess my main message here is that, if you’re currently pressuring yourself to stick to a new routine you came up with in order to feel good, just remember that it’s not going to work unless you are inspired from within. You have to do it for you and your “why,” not just to fit into some box that you think everyone expects you to be in. The truth is we don’t see the behind-the-scenes of anyone’s life. We all struggle to stick to schedules and beat ourselves up when we aren’t able to. What if instead, we allowed our routines to change from week to week, day to day? Life’s natural rhythm does not work in such strict terms, so why should we? We are going to feel different every single day, and we have to be able to listen to that and decide what our next move is based on where our energy will be best spent in that moment.

Kind of like writing. If you do it from a place of just needing to get it done, then it’s going to fall flat and feel meaningless. But if you listen to yourself and follow your rhythm, then perhaps you will feel more flow. You’ll stop fighting against it all, and have more energy to give to what’s right in front of you. 

While we may desperately seek routine, perhaps it’s not so bad to fall out of one. Sure, they provide structure, but they can also cause stagnancy. Newness in our days helps us see new perspectives, follow different paths and hopefully guide us to truer versions of ourselves. The in between can sure be nice with a little routine sprinkled in, but if we want to grow we must rise to the occasion when change inevitably comes our way. I think with this mindset, a routine that really works for you, and meets you where you are in life, will naturally follow. And what better kind of routine, than one that feels genuine and true to you? One that you wake up and are excited to move through- that’s the dream right there. 

If you’re anything like me (a control freak planner), then this post probably isn’t the perfect answer you were hoping for lol but I do hope it helps you on your journey and in being kinder to yourself when things don’t go as planned. When did you last feel out of sorts and in need of routine? What did you find that helped?

<3,

Sarah

The Importance of Trusting Yourself, and What To Do in Moments of Self-Doubt

The Importance of Trusting Yourself, and What To Do in Moments of Self-Doubt

I woke up this morning in a great mood, ready for a productive day. Then, out of what seemed to be nowhere, a thought popped into my mind. An invasive, unwelcome thought, about how I’m not good enough. Not good enough to finish my workout, not good enough to get all the things off my to-do list, not good enough to make my biggest goals a reality. These feelings also stem from unworthiness- who am I to be doing all of this and what does it matter, really? 

Sound familiar?? Our lovely brains just love to work overtime, and, if we aren’t careful, that train can get derailed real quick. 

I know this is a common human experience, one most of us would rather not, and rarely do, share. But I think it’s important to acknowledge that we all experience this feeling to some degree. Some more than others, sure, but we all do nonetheless. And with this knowledge, we can hopefully find understanding that we are not alone in this feeling, and that even those who we think have it all together and never have moments of self-doubt, in fact, do. And if they’ve been able to break past those limiting beliefs, then so can we. 

So, when this thought does spring up on us, what is there to do? Well, luckily, there are lots of ways to curtail it. Not avoid or get rid of it all together (because that would just be us living in complete denial), but to be able to see it for what it is- a road block based in falsehoods. Keep in mind however, that, unfortunately, though there are many things we can do, it is likely that in these moments of self-loathing that you will want nothing to do with any of it and rather just stay in bed binge-watching your favorite reality TV show or something else completely unproductive. It’s tempting, I know. In these moments, we can simply begin by being honest with ourselves.

The moment you pause the endless chatter in your mind and analyze it from an outsider’s perspective, you are immediately able to disconnect yourself from the idea of those thoughts as your reality. You can look at them as though someone else were speaking them to you, and determine how you feel about it in that scenario. I’m assuming that, when your mind is running down a self-deprecating rabbit hole, that you wouldn’t like your inner dialogue much. And you certainly wouldn’t like it if someone else were saying all of those things to you. Would you say those things to anyone else? If you’re a nice person, then probably not. So why do we do this to ourselves?? We are our own toughest critic, but those thoughts are not based in any kind of truth. In fact, it’s simply our brain doing its job. Trying to keep up safe. 

Once we are able to see these thoughts objectively, they suddenly feel a little less heavy. No, they won’t go away immediately, but that’s okay. You’ve at least prevented them from becoming all-consuming. At this point, the best thing to do is something to get you out of your head and into the present moment. Change your scenery, your activity, the vibe- whatever it is that works for you. Turn on some music and dance. Go for a walk. Get a good workout in. Read a book. Go out in nature and breathe. Meditate. Journal. One really amazing thing you can do is look at yourself in the mirror and smile. I know that sounds SUPER weird, but how often do we really give ourselves that kind of attention in the mirror? Normally we just use that time to criticize ourselves, so why not make it a more uplifting experience? Smile at yourself and tell yourself what a beautiful, capable bitch you really are. It makes a difference!

See what I mean? There’s a million things you can do to get out of this rut of not believing in yourself, we just have to get ourselves in motion. It is so incredibly difficult to go through an entire day with this kind of negative self-talk and really get anything done. At least not efficiently or effectively. Self-doubt is the root of all evil (at least I think it is) and it should not be given any more time and energy than it deserves. You are not your thoughts, and you do not have to identify with them.

Negative thoughts about yourself really just come from the outside world. Our society constantly telling us we’re not good enough. And we don’t have to listen to any of it. My best advice, that I’ve found to be helpful, is to begin your day in a way that makes you feel inspired and loving toward yourself. This way you can hopefully keep those unwanted thoughts at bay, and keep doing the things you love that reinforce your trust in yourself and your abilities. Start the day with 5 minutes of meditation, read, or write in a journal. Hell, do it all if that’s what does it for you! Anything that allows you to set an intention for the day and puts you in a positive space.

You have so much magic to offer the world, you just have to get out of your own way. And, the comforting thing to remember is that, even if you do fail once or twice (or even more than that) you can look yourself in the eyes at the end of the day and know that you are trying. And that’s more than most people can say. You are living in your truest form, doing what makes you happy, and sharing that beauty with the world. And that’s pretty damn cool if you ask me. 

Now go on, you beautiful, capable b*tch! 

When was the last time you were feeling down? What did you do to get out of it? Would love to hear your thoughts and stories! 

<3,

Sarah

Happy (Dry) New Year!

Happy (Dry) New Year!

Happy New Year everyone!! We’ve officially made it through the whole year of 2020. I feel like that was a very difficult level in a video game, but we made it- hello 2021! Here’s to hoping this year makes up for all the shit the last one threw our way. It wasn’t all bad though.. I’d say I learned quite a bit about myself and the world around me.

First being that I have it really fucking good. I think 2020 showed that for a lot of us. You never know how good you’ve got it until it could all be taken away. The beginning of the year was pretty nerve-wrecking. As things began to shut down back in March, we really had no idea what to expect. How serious was this new “Covid” thing? And why was all the toilet paper gone at every single store we went to? I remember going into Target the day the WHO had classified the situation as a pandemic, and everyone had panicked and cleared the shelves. That was an eerie feeling, and definitely a little post-apocalyptic. 

But I also learned that, even when things are feeling a bit like doomsday, a lot of beauty can be found as well. Sure, there were people ransacking every store they went into and getting into physical fights over cleaning products, but there were also so many who were coming together to help one another out. I remember finding a girl on Instagram who was collecting things in my area to help those in need. I got as much toilet paper and non-perishable goods as I could find, and dropped them at her doorstep to be delivered. We also bought some items at a Walgreens one day, for a nurse who was checking out ahead of us. It looked like she was about to go in for her shift, and we wanted to do what we could to say thank you and make sure she knew she was appreciated. 

I saw SO many posts/videos about people helping others, and I seriously shed a tear about it Every. Damn. Time. I was scared out of my mind, as I know so many of us were, but at the same time I was enamored by the beauty that shined through. In darkness we can find light, and find the light we did. Many of us got to be home with our loved ones for periods of time usually unheard of- and spend true, quality time with them. People online made up dances and recipes and music to entertain us, and we all got to do some extra organizing or binge-watching than we otherwise would have. Dan and I had to postpone our wedding, but that gave us more time to plan and save. We also adopted the cutest little kitten (Sloane) and had so much fun with our new family dynamic. We had a year to relax, recharge, and realize some truths about our lives.

Oddly enough, I didn’t make any New Year’s resolutions this time around. I think it’s because the whole year kind of felt like one big resolution after another. I found my voice and overcame a lot of my social anxieties, I started working out more and stopped drinking as much, some friendships that weren’t right for me anymore ended while others became stronger, I became more aware of my own privilege and worked to have tough conversations with others around me, and I was able to let go of my trying to control everything, and just try to enjoy the exact moment we are in- just as it is. 

I feel more motivated and energized right now than I have in a really long time. My trajectory has shifted in ways I didn’t expect, and for that I am so grateful. I am grateful to have had so much time to slow down and really think about what I want to do with my life, and the kind of person I want to be. Oh, and I also started waking up earlier. Big win right there! Dan and I are also currently in the midst of Dry January, so I suppose that is a resolution of some sort. Either way, I think the point is that we can become better versions of ourselves whenever we want to. It doesn’t have to take a pandemic or a new year to get us there, but it does seem to help. Even in the midst of what feels like so much turmoil, we can rise to the occasion and find the beauty in it all (and create it ourselves!). 2020, thank you for all of your lessons, but I think we’re all very ready to get back to our new, better version, of normal. I know I am. 

What New Years resolutions did you guys make? How do you feel you’ve changed/become a better version of yourself in 2020? Anyone else doing Dry January? Please share your thoughts and stories, I’d love to hear from you!

Wishing you all a very happy, healthy, and mostly pandemic-free (hopefully) 2021!

<3,

Sarah