Tip Tuesday: Gratitude and Fulfillment

I recently finished reading “How to be a Bawse” by Lilly Singh (which was ah-making, seriously check it out if you haven’t already!). I listened to the Audiobook on Audible, which was read by ||Superwoman|| herself! I don’t care if you are absolutely in love with her YouTube channel or if you have never heard of her before, this book inspired the sh*t out of me, and without it this post wouldn’t be here.

First off, I listened to this book while struggling to decide upon a topic for NaNoWriMo. I do not definitively know what in the book helped me pick my topic, but I do know that it inspired me to try harder and write more. Hearing her talk about her dedication and love for her work inspired me to find something I was passionate about. It still took some effort, and some ideas that were thrown out, but I never gave up. Now, I have ideas for not one but two books.

I also found somewhat of a second wind at work. I was absolutely dead a couple of weeks ago. Last week I worked extra hours every single day so that I could take Friday off and travel home and spend the weekend with my family without worrying about a thing. Although I did still worry some, I was able to really relax and be present with those that I don’t get to see every day. On top of that, I felt really great about everything I had gotten done, and that was in part because of how hard I tried.

In addition to all of this, the one thing from the book that has stuck with me the most is how often we take things for granted. I’m sitting here typing this with a Bluetooth keyboard onto my 2018 iPad while watching the Green Bay Packers game on TV and the Milwaukee Brewers game on my phone. My house has a roof and heat, light and internet. I had a great dinner and bought foods that we eat just because we want to at the grocery store today. I have a husband that loves me and made sure the house was spotless before I got home. Even in my darkest times, they really aren’t that dark in comparison. It’s really hard to remember this, but taking the time to think about all the good and practice gratitude goes a long way.

You can have it all, just not all at once -Oprah

Another thing that has really stuck with me, was her discussion of discipline. I still feel like I don’t have enough time for everything that I want to do, but I also feel like I am fulfilled in the things that I have to do. I know that I could rearrange my day; I could try to figure out how to get by on less sleep. I also know that it’s not that big of a deal to me. If it really and truly mattered that I fit everything in every single day, then I would find a way. The important thing now is that I learn not to complain about not being able to fit everything in, when it would be nothing more than a different sacrifice if I decided to try. I need to be grateful.

Sensing a theme here? Gratitude and Fulfillment. I’ve written about gratitude in the past, but I haven’t really written about fulfillment much. At the end of the day, all of the little suggestions about finding gratitude in every day, ties into feeling fulfilled in your life. You cannot control every situation, but you can control your reaction. You can take the baby steps to work towards your goals. You can create a vision board with the things that will truly fulfill you. And, you can find happiness at each step. Understand that your journey is (1) yours and (2) a journey. Take pride in the fact that you are on a journey and keep going.

Have you read anything truly inspiring lately? Do you have a way to practice gratitude? Do you feel fulfilled most or every day?

Weekend Warrior: Quick Fixes

Wouldn’t it be great if we could do something for only a couple of hours and it would work out? I find myself thinking this more so on the weekends than during the week because I want to get so much done and I have so little time. I have been working out with PiYo and I am at the end of week 3 right now. I have “skipped” one day in favor of PM yoga, but really I just swapped my rest day a day early. I needed the mindfulness of yoga and I was aware of that in that moment. I also had high hopes for weight loss when I started this program. But then I did the math, and in order to maintain a 1,200 calorie diet (which is the minimum recommendation for women) mathematically I knew I couldn’t lose more than 1 lb per week. And I really had to be okay with that. I couldn’t compare myself to the people who lose 5 lbs per week, because I knew that just wasn’t feasible. On top of that, it’s not feasible for most people. Continuously losing 5 pounds a week requires an average calorie deficit of 2,500 calories per day. It’s not just about what you eat, but also how and when you eat at this point. There’s an understanding of how your body works, but also, you will not lose weight if you aren’t starving your adipose tissue (fat cells). 

But this post isn’t just about weight loss. I wanted to start with that because it is something I struggle with, and I have seen others struggle too. It’s also about the housework and the errands and the time spent with family/friends. The weekend is such a wonderful opportunity to catch up on things that didn’t get fit into the week because you don’t have to worry about work (for most of us). The downside is, that each day has the same 24 hours regardless of how you fill them. I slept for almost 10 hours last night because I filled my Friday with tons of friends and activities. I wanted to quit about halfway through the night, but I’m really glad I didn’t. It didn’t change any of the errands that I ran today. It didn’t change anything about how I spent my Saturday (except how much coffee I consumed). I wish I could have just snapped my fingers and gotten everything done, but then I wouldn’t have the moments of happiness and accomplishment. I also worked much harder during the week to make sure that little things that don’t take as much time so that I do have some downtime and I am not just running around constantly.

At the end of the day, there are a lot of ways that you can try to implement a quick fix. Hire a maid instead of cleaning yourself. Have your groceries delivered instead of going to the store. Eat a lot of salad instead of going out to eat. All of these work, but for me, they just don’t bring the same sense of joy and accomplishment and that’s a problem for me. If it’s not a problem for you, and money allows, then choose those things that give you the peace of mind. 

What is your favorite way to spread out your work so that you don’t feel overwhelmed? Or, what makes you feel overwhelmed that you wish you could do less of?

Fueled by Coffee

Yes, how bad can it be?

Today I learned that there are a lot of quotes about coffee in City of Ashes, and even though it wasn’t on my reading list, I may have to add it because coffee is a special language that I speak fluently. Coffee is a drink of love. Coffee gets me moving and keeps me moving. With coffee in hand I feel invincible! I wish I was better able to convey the superhero image that flew around my head while I was typing those thoughts. Ironically, as I sit typing this post I’m sipping on pomegranate green tea! In addition to professing my love for caffeinated beverages, this post also professes to the Motivation Monday trend we’ve all hopped on.

“As long as there is coffee in the world, how bad can things be?” – Cassandra Clare, City of Ashes

Today I want to motivate you to enjoy what you have in front of you. If you saw my post from last week (Bullet Journal Updates *WIP Wednesday*), you would have seen that I have been doing a gratitude log in my bullet journal. This month, my gratitude is focused on the morning. I have been logging what I am thankful for in those first 5-10 minutes after I wake up. Honestly, without the day behind me it’s a little difficult to come up with things. But my brain is always moving, it’s just a matter of focusing it in on what I want to focus on. Most days my gratitude has been related to my health- I’m happy to wake up each and every day and be able to tackle a to-do list. However, I also sprained my foot recently, which had me on crutches for almost a full week and I’m still limping around, albeit it is diminishing. This means that a project that I wanted to tackle over four weekend days, actually only got one day of work. It’s definitely half done, and as annoying as that might be for me, I also know that I did what I could and I just have to be okay with that.

As a newlywed, I am also constantly happy to have found somebody who loves me for me. I am quirky and weird and annoying, but I have a partner who understand all of that and matches it with his own version of this blend. We’re leaving for our honeymoon in 12 short hours and I am beyond excited to get away and be alone with the company of another, to explore new places, and make new memories. Being away for a week also stresses me out though- all of the what ifs have been pounding through my head for days and I cannot seem to quiet them down. Even so, I know that if I get up and do my best in each and every day then whatever comes will come and I can deal with it when I must. I already have a great lineup of posts for this week, partially outlined, so hopefully you won’t get too much silence from me despite all of my fun! The posts are largely focused on harnessing your happiness, including looking for it in the right places if you feel like it is lost.

What fuels you? Are you a coffee/tea drinker or do you thrive on your love of life? Let me know what gets you going in the morning or on Monday (or Monday morning, ha!). 

Bullet Journal Updates *WIP Wednesday*

Happy Hump Day! One of the topics you will start to see more often on the blog is WIP Wednesday! What is a WIP, you may be saying? Work in progress, of course! Usually a WIP is a crafting term, and of course you will see some true crafts featured on the blog. But this could include some life changes, professional moves, and like today, my bullet journal.

One of the most frequent tips you will see if you search the web for “how to bullet journal” or something similar is that you should evaluate, and re-evaluate, and adjust. I must admit, although I’ve been bullet journaling for over a year (May 2017, according to my first journal), I haven’t been great at the adjusting part. I evaluate often, but honestly, I just search the internet for cool fun ideas and use them. Well, I think I have finally learned to learn what works for me. July is the first month in the past year-ish that I logged in my bullet journal almost every single day, on every single tracker.

FinishedJulyHabitMood.jpg

Habit Tracker I found myself getting discouraged quite easily when I was “breaking the chain”. I tried using the reward system, but honestly, I wasn’t incentivized enough. I finally borrowed the idea of tracking both positive and negative habits. So, there are things that I want to be tracked everyday (green highlights) and things that I do not want to appear very often (pink highlights). This way, I can see both what I am doing good, what I am doing bad, and what I have no control over, but still occurs often. It takes away perceptions of how often I do things, because it’s right in front of me. It also allows me to set goals for things that I need to either get better at or cut back on, and make them conscious efforts.

Mood Tracker July was my first attempt at a mood tracker, and I was very worried. This was something that I added because I thought it looked fun. But honestly, I was pleased. You can see that I did miss one day, but for the most part I have a very colorful pineapple. I discovered that I spend much more time being happy and thankful than sad and grumpy, which wasn’t what I expected if I’m being honest. It was actually really fun for me to sit down and think about what mood dominated my day and fill in the pineapple. August’s mood tracker is a beach scene and I am even more excited to track than I was in July.

Gratitude Log This was also a first for me. I saw the sunshine and it spoke to me. Of my trackers, this was the one that I used the least. Honestly, I just kept forgetting that this was a page in the bullet journal that I needed to be paying attention to. For August, I’ve decided to do a morning log rather than an evening log. I like this idea because what you’re grateful for will shift from morning to afternoon, and I think it’s going to be very interesting for me to compare the two. I also think it’s important to have the variety in my tracking. Much more insightful this way.

AugustNotes.jpg

Notes Page I find that I am often thinking of things, scribbling them on random sheets of paper, and then losing them for weeks. I am hoping that having a designated page in my bullet journal (which is with me 99% of the time), I can take notes and find them later.

AugustConditionalToDo.jpg

Conditional To-Do List This is new for August. I read an article that I found via Twitter about conditional to-do lists for productivity. The concept is simple: create one to do list for high energy days and one to do list for days when moving your @$$ is a struggle. Every item on the to-do list is important in it’s own way- even if it’s just about self-care. I added a tracker for how often I choose each option, mostly to spread the wealth amongst the items. I don’t plan on using this to-do list daily, but rather consulting it when I’m sitting around with some down time and using it to my advantage. I’m hoping that it will help me be better about practicing certain habits, such as practicing a language and tidying up more often.

What’s your favorite page from my current bullet journal? Do you bullet journal? What’s your favorite type of tracker and why? Leave me a note in the comments, I would love to hear from you!

Overall Health Continued: Mentality

I have many new followers, so I want to start out this post with a huge THANK YOU for all of your support. Regardless of how you found this blog, I am so glad that you liked it enough to click the follow button!

Today’s post is both about gratitude and more about health. It is Thankful Thursday, and I found that my gratitude meter was absolutely overflowing this morning. I woke up next to a wonderful man who has agreed to love me unconditionally and will meet me at the alter in 183 short days. I donned a dress and boots that my mother got me for Christmas that are so me, and I feel absolutely incredible in them. I have financial freedom even as a graduate student and I can do things like pay for more of my wedding than I dreamed possible, and to use my own money to help me with my startup dreams. I even have enough “free time” that I can work out every day, cook all of my meals, and work on a side hustle. I have enough energy to work out every day, cook all of my meals, and work on a side hustle. However, no matter what you see when you look at someone, no matter how blessed you may feel, that doesn’t mean that a person cannot be hurting on the inside.

bullshit-meter

Yesterday, I posted the story of the Washington State quarterback’s suicide to Facebook. Although I believe that discussing mental health should be a top priority of health care reform, I admittedly do not speak out publicly about it very often. The reason I chose to share this post now was because the most popular comment on the NFL memes post where I first saw it declared that this particular man did not feel sorry for anybody who commits suicide, because it is the most selfish act in the world. Even just reading that brought tears to my eyes. Seeing the 300+ reactions to it and the arguments in the comments felt even worse. Suicide is a sign of a much more serious issue, and not a selfish act.

If you have ever felt alone in a group of people, you probably understand what he was going through, if even to a lower extent. The problem is that we have not broken the stigma surrounding mental illness, and therefore people do not know what to do in a time of need. Even those who do know what to do may be too embarrassed to take action. This is ultimately why I am challenging myself to speak out often. I already use my voice and my social media presence to promote physical fitness, but mental fitness is equally as important. I don’t want people to feel ashamed for reaching out and talking about their reality.

“Understanding is the first step to acceptance, and only with acceptance can there be recovery.” – Albus Dumbledore

For today, I would like to ask not one but two things of you:

1. Practice gratitude every day that you possibly can. Remind yourself that you are good enough. Thank yourself and those around you for everything that they have done, and are willing to do for you.

2. Find something you care about and SPEAK UP. If it is important to you, then your voice will do far more for your message than you can imagine.

If you or somebody you know needs help, please check out the following resources for further investigation. I pray that everybody touched by this message stays happy, healthy, grateful, and empowered.

National Suicide Prevention Hotline – Phone: 1-800-273-8255

National Suicide Prevention Hotline– Online Chat & More Info

Signs, Symptoms and Resources (LiveScience)

More Signs, Symptoms, and Resources (NIH)

 

In loving memory of those who have gone before us, especially those who left this world in the worst of circumstances, alone.