Categories
Growth Inspiration Lifestyle Mindfulness Wellness

Self-Care Journal Prompts for a New Month

Every month I try to take some time to reflect. Jot down my highs and lows from the month, what I’ve learned and what I’m looking forward to. I don’t believe that you need to be moving the needle forward all the time – then we wouldn’t truly appreciate and live in the moment. But it’s always a good idea to have dreams, goals and plans for getting to where you want to go, while being happy with what you currently have. 

I typically start with my monthly reflection by journaling and then I’ll finish by creating a mood-board on Canva or creating a new Pinterest board. Having a visual representation really helps me to zone in on what I’m looking forward to and sets the tone for the rest of the month. I usually create seasonal vision boards (check out how I created my spring digital vision board here), but lately I’ve been gravitating towards monthly inspiration like the one below!

If you’re looking for some guidance on where to start, here are some of my favourite journaling prompts for monthly self-reflection. Take what resonates, leave what doesn’t! 

Looking back:

  • What were the top 5 highlights from this past month? 
  • What are 3 things I’ve learned this past month? 
  • What do I wish I would have done differently?
  • Did you run into any challenges this month? How did you face them?
  • If I could describe the past month in one word or phrase, what would it be and why? 

Looking ahead:

  • What am I looking forward to this month? 
  • What are my top 3 goals for next month? What are some things I can do to achieve even just one of these?
  • What is one milestone I’d like to achieve this month?
  • How am I using what I learned from last month and paying it forward?
  • What affirmation, phrase or quote am I gravitating towards for inspiration this month?
  • What am I manifesting for next month?
  • Do I see any obstacles this month? If so, what are some ways I can face them?

Happy journaling! Are there any other prompts you like to use? Let me know in the comments below.

Categories
Crafts Holidays Inspiration Mindfulness Wellness

The Best Hobbies for Stress Relief (And They Make Perfect Gifts)

During the last few years and in the midst of a pandemic, I found myself so wrapped up in work and stressing about what was happening in the world that I somehow lost my “play”. At the end of the workday, without any social activities, or the regular routine, I found myself burnt out. But I couldn’t figure out why or even how? In my head, it didn’t make sense. I’m not commuting any longer, I’m not socially drained or going out late at night (lol as if I did before the pandemic, but you get what I mean), so what gives? Short answer? I didn’t have a way of effectively managing my stress. Sure, I love yoga and meditation, but those also seemed like tasks that I needed to complete. 

Enter: crafting. Some of my fondest memories were summers spent at my grandparents house knitting, painting, woodworking, sewing, making cards – you name it. We kept busy by being creative and taking time to learn new skills – for fun. With no purpose other than to create. I wanted to pick back up the hobbies that brought me so much joy and as a way to remember my grandparents to stay connected to the memories that I hold so dear. What I didn’t anticipate was the stress relief it would provide. After doing more research, I found that having leisurely hobbies is actually linked to lower levels of depression.

So, my question to you: when was the last time you tried something new for the first time, just for fun? Get on YouTube, watch some video tutorials (there are so many helpful channels with exactly what you’re looking for) and get started! 

Here are some of the best hobbies to try for stress relief, especially as the weather gets colder here in Canada! Plus, they make the perfect gift for those in your life who love to get creative. P.P.S. All of the shopping links are from Canadian Small Businesses on Etsy

1. Embroidery

There are so many helpful tutorials online, plus many of the beginners kits have detailed instructions, plus all of the materials and tools you’ll need! This is on my list for my next crafting project.

2. Knitting

My grandmother taught all of my sisters and cousins how to knit when we spent time at her house up north during the winter and summer breaks. I only hope to be as great at knitting as she was one day!

3. Puzzles

How beautiful to be able to frame a puzzle that you’ve spent so long working on!? Whether for yourself or a gift – this is a great leisurely hobby. This one is my favourite from Fits Puzzles.

4. Watercolour

Okay, this has been by far the most rewarding hobby I’ve started the past few months. And I’m currently making my own Christmas cards with watercolour! It started off rocky, but I kept practicing and started following tutorials (like the one below) and slowly started to get it. There’s something so satisfying about mixing colours together and creating something that I’ve never been able to do before.

5. Colouring

A classic! There’s so many fun adult colouring books now and a pretty inexpensive hobby to pick-up.

6. Bullet Journaling

Take a regular journal to a whole new level. There are so many page variations you can do, from themes to favourite books to mood trackers. The choice is all yours! Pinterest and YouTube are great sources for inspiration.

7. Paint by numbers

This is one I haven’t tried yet, but have given paint by numbers as a gift and the response was positive! Painting made straight forward, and kits (like the one above) gives you everything you need!


Happy crafting! 🧵 What hobby are you most excited to try? What else would you add to this list? Let me know in the comments below!

Categories
Lifestyle Productivity Wellness

How to Build a Digital Vision Board for Spring

Hey friends!

I love putting together vision boards to help set my intentions and goals for the future. Recently, I’ve been updating my vision board seasonally and have been loving it.

Instead of doing the classic magazine cutout method every season (because that’s a lot of work lol), I’ve built my own digital version using Pinterest and Canva! In the video above I’m sharing a tutorial on how I put mine together. See the final product below!

*All images you can find on my Pinterest board here.

If you’re still into the original method of putting together a vision board, check out my blog post about it here.


Categories
Lifestyle Wellness

5 Ways I Handle the Spring Forward Time Change

It’s funny. I was born in June, which means I was born when the clocks had already shifted forward, and therefore should be more accustomed to the Daylight Savings Time. I mean, if you believe in that kind of stuff. But there’s just something about turning the clocks back an hour that feels so right to me. So suffice it to say, I’m not looking forward to this year’s Spring Forward. Especially after the year 2020 has already thrown at us. Until the government figures out if Toronto, Montreal and New York will all agree to select a time and keep it there, I’ve come up with a few helpful tips to share so that you can avoid that first week of absolute confusion and not miss out on 1 (or more) hours of sleep. 

1. Go to sleep 15-30 mins early 4-7 days before the time change

While this may not completely reset your natural sleep cycle to adjust for the hour you’re losing, it will at least help lessen the blow by giving yourself some time back throughout the week. Adjusting by 30 mins is more gentle than a full hour. You could even start waking up 15-30 mins early so that you’re balancing out the time shift. 

I don’t know about you, but that first workday morning after the time springs forward is always the hardest. It may be especially difficult now that you’re working from home and rolling out of bed with not a lot of time to spare before logging in. Do yourself a favour and give your body the extra zzz that it will need. I know I definitely will be giving this tip a shot.

 

2. Get outside earlier in the day

…Or, if you’ve been cooped up in your home, get out even a little. Soaking in that vitamin D from the sun will not only improve your mood, but it will help with your circadian rhythm. The earlier you can get outside, whether for a morning or mid-morning walk – the better! 

This one is a hard one for me. I typically have the evening shift with the doggos, so I tend to only get outside around 5pm. In the winter it definitely sucked (unless it was snowy and beautiful and glistening, then it was magical ❄️). 

3. Move your body in the AM

Although we will technically be getting more sunlight in the evening, it’s still a good idea to get your movement in during the morning hours. It’s all about setting the tone for the day, and awakening your body to adjust to the new time zone (since that’s really what it is!). Not ready for a full on HIIT workout? I don’t blame you. Start with some low impact yoga, stretching or even a 20 mins cycle if you have an exercise bike. Once you feel like you’ve adjusted to the new time, then kick it up a notch or two. Bonus points for moving your body even during a pandemic. High five to you! 🙌

Movement is one of those things that I’ve really struggled with during the pandemic (and before that if I’m being honest). We recently purchased an exercise bike and downloaded the Peloton app on our phones and I can honestly say that it’s gotten me back into some sort of physical routine. My goal is to get at least 30 mins of movement in a day (on top of the 45min to an hour walk I have with the dogs). 

4. Take regular scheduled breaks throughout the day

I think back to elementary school and having recess. What I wouldn’t give now to have those mandatory minutes of movement and fresh air. And I thought – well, why not?! I am guilty of not stepping away from my computer (even when I’m not being that productive…). I feel like there’s a weight censored notification button under my seat and if I leave my desk, my boss will know and fire me immediately. Okay…well not that dramatic…but you know what I mean. 

While we’re acclimatizing to a whole new work schedule, give yourself some grace and take those 15 mins to step away from your computer, grab a coffee, go for a quick water break, get outside – or just get out of the area where you work. This is going to be a big area of focus for me. I’m even going to put a lunch break into my calendar so that I won’t be scheduled for meetings to give myself a true rest and recovery period during the day. I highly recommend you do too.  

5. Have a morning routine you’re excited to wake up to

We’ve checked off movement and sunshine for our morning to-do’s and although those are great, they may not be the thing that gets your butt out of bed in the morning. Find out what that is and incorporate it into your morning routine. 

I’ve been experimenting with different routines and trying to find one that sticks. Something that always gets me out of bed is… coffee. Yup. My husband is the earliest of early birds and brews coffee when he wakes up, and that smell definitely gets me out of bed. I try to sit down with my coffee (water first, obvs) and journal or read something inspiring on one of my favourite blogs or even watching one of my favourite YouTubers for a quick 5 min video. That piece of my morning makes me happy and it’s something that energizes my day. 

Find what works for you – and yes, it may take a few tries to figure it out, but that can also be exciting! 

I wish you all of the rest and ease heading into this spring forward period. I know it can be a challenging transition for some or a love/hate relationship for others. Whether you’re team #SpringForward or #FallBack (I’m camp Fall Back, that’s for sure!), I hope that you find these tips helpful. 

Categories
Inspiration Lifestyle Wellness

My Favourite Journal Prompts for Gratitude

As I mentioned in my previous post, being “temporarily” laid off has actually been a positive – or at least I’m choosing to look at it that way. I’ve always been the type of person who was busy doing something. I worked full time in retail, while I was studying full time completing my undergraduate degree, I was singing on the side, trying to have a semblance of a social life, stay connected with friends and family, think about building my future, etc etc etc. There’s not a moment where I thought all of it would stop. And yet, now it has. I’m still obviously thinking about my future, but I’m living each day now kind of excited to do things. I’m excited to have my morning coffee and write in my journal. I’m excited that I’m trying out intermittent fasting. I’m excited that I get to walk the dogs when it feels like a good time to walk them. I’m excited about creating content like this. Of course there’s still grief, worry and anxiety during this uncertain time… but it seems like priorities have immediately shifted, and I’m choosing to see the positive in this.

When I think back, I was happiest when life was simpler (wasn’t everyone?). Creating vlogs before vlogs were a thing, re-designing my room every September because I loved the feeling of a fresh start, researching because I was curious about the world and not because it was assigned to me. Simple. This pandemic and what’s happening in the world is terrible, frightening and worrying. But when reflecting on what brings me joy (courtesy of Rachel Hollis’ #Next90Challenge), I realized that when things are a bit slower paced and I am able to really connect with myself, my family and nature, that I am much more fulfilled. I think a big part of this realization though was facilitated by finding and writing down gratitude in the little things. I know that there are plenty of resources on gratitude practices (heck, I’m following one right now), but I figured it could be helpful to share some questions to ask yourself to find gratitude in your day, even if it’s small. So if you’re writing down things you’re grateful for (and if you aren’t, you should) and you need a bit more guidance than just “things you’re grateful for” prompt, then take a look at some questions I find helpful below.

1. What inspired you today?

Ask yourself this question: What inspired your today? Did something bring you joy? Maybe instead of asking what you’re grateful for, you can ask what inspired you. Did you see something on social media? A hilarious meme? An encouraging message?

2. Who did you connect with today?

Just because we’re social distancing right now, doesn’t mean that we can’t connect. Did you reach out to virtually network? Did you have an amazing team meeting? Who did you chat with that brought you joy?

3. What had a positive impact on you today?

Think about an action, task, comment — literally anything that had a positive impact today. Did you try a new at home work out? Did you make a delicious and healthy breakfast? Did someone pay you a compliment? Did you journal or practice some self-care?

4. What is something small that happened that brought you joy?

It can be as small as having a clean kitchen, to watching the sun rise. Ask yourself: what is something small that happened that brought a smile to your face? I must say, having a clean kitchen and tidy space had brought me a lot of joy during this period.

5. What action did you take today?

Maybe you made coffee this morning with your favourite creamer. Perhaps you went for a long walk. What is something that you personally did – for yourself or others – that made you feel gratitude.

These are some of the prompts I ask myself when writing 5 things that I’m grateful for each morning. It’s easy to say “having a roof over my head” and sometimes, yes, given these uncertain periods, it’s absolutely something to be grateful for. But I think you can dig deeper and find the little hidden gems in your daily life. Sometimes rephrasing the question and looking at it through a different lens is what you need to truly see the good that’s in your day.

Graditude Prompts_pinterest

 

What are some things you’ve been grateful for during these crazy times?