My favorite blogs and vlogs are:
. . .
Some of my favorite specific posts:
. . .
About living intentionally, and enjoying simple pleasures:
"I intend to spend my days making horrible watercolor paintings with Dollar Tree watercolors and planting wildflower seeds in cracked ceramic pots. I want to sit on my uneven back patio and write. I want to mow the lawn until my hands are numb and give $5 to ten-year-olds so that they will weed my garden for me. I want to watch The Office while I clean the kitchen and read secondhand books in the bathtub and fill up random cardboard boxes with recyclables instead of buying a designated kitchen recycling bin to put next to the trash."
About how everyday life is where it's at:
"My most powerful moments have come to me in the most ordinary of settings... It’s moments, not places, that define you."
On marriage of two very different people, and how it changes us in beautiful ways:
"Now, in this moment, I'm not so sure that we're not as opposite as we are more complete. We are more...whole. There is beautiful exchanging. ...
It is a beautiful thing to witness and experience how utterly good life together really is.
'Chains do not hold a marriage together. It is threads, hundreds of tiny threads, which sew people together through the years.'
My goodness, are we better for it."
About asking "why" a couple more times to dig down to the real reason behind what you're doing. Don't just ask why one time, ask it, answer, then ask it of the answer, too:
"I’ve never really thought about it before: The reasons behind the reasons.
I want a second job.
Because I want more money.
There are reasons. Of course there are reasons. But I almost never think about them in that manner."
On being intentional and working on being happier:
"...there has been a recent shift in my attitude towards adversity: I don’t welcome it, but I roll with it. I take my blow, realize the world was hitting me with a pillow instead of a fist, and allow myself to feel grateful that I was dished only what I could devour. As humans, our resilience is incredible.
And that, somehow, has made this eternal pessimist into some sort of optimist...
I want to be happy, so I’m focusing on happy things. I’m thinking about the “at least”s. I’m forgiving small grievances and taking control of my own life and the stressors that come with it. I’m doing what needs to be done instead of complaining that no one is doing anything about it. And, honestly, I can’t imagine a better time.
It’s spring cleaning time. For my home, my heart, AND my head."
On being intentional, especially about doing something self-care related daily. Because otherwise those important, but not urgent, things will fall to the wayside for days on end while urgent and sometimes unimportant things get taken care of:
"I have been assigning myself a single daily goal. It can be anything from “unload the dishwasher” to “watch an episode of Z Nation” to “paint with dollar store watercolors.” Things that are good and good for me, but I likely would not have pushed myself to do otherwise...
The point of this is that, sometimes, the things you want to do, the things that are healthy for you and good for your psyche, don’t take priority. I am particularly guilty of the mindset that I don’t deserve this, that’s childish, I can watch the season finale of my favorite show anytime, but I have to spiral into misery on Facebook RIGHT NOW.
But this setting of goals makes self care a priority. It forces me to get out of my mindset and feel accomplished: I can check “completed daily goal” off my monthly list AND have improved my mindset either through productivity or simply forgetting about life’s stresses while painting the most god-awful mountain sunset anyone has every seen.
Intentional living, as it turns out, is exactly what my soul has been craving."
About how to step back when things feel awful (either just a little awful, or completely, this still applies), and a list of questions to ask to either help you feel better or give you a little perspective:
Are you hydrated? If not, have a glass of water.
Have you eaten in the past three hours? If not, get some food — something with protein, not just simple carbs. Perhaps some nuts or hummus?
Have you showered in the past day? If not, take a shower right now.
If daytime: are you dressed? If not, put on clean clothes that aren’t pajamas. Give yourself permission to wear something special, whether it’s a funny t-shirt or a pretty dress.
If nighttime: are you sleepy and fatigued but resisting going to sleep? Put on pajamas, make yourself cozy in bed with a teddy bear and the sound of falling rain, and close your eyes for fifteen minutes — no electronic screens allowed. If you’re still awake after that, you can get up again; no pressure.
Have you stretched your legs in the past day? If not, do so right now. If you don’t have the spoons for a run or trip to the gym, just walk around the block, then keep walking as long as you please. If the weather’s crap, drive to a big box store (e.g. Target) and go on a brisk walk through the aisles you normally skip.
Have you said something nice to someone in the past day? Do so, whether online or in person. Make it genuine; wait until you see something really wonderful about someone, and tell them about it. Or leave a good review for a local business you really like (a restaurant, a store, a photographer, etc)
Have you moved your body to music in the past day? If not, do so — jog for the length of an EDM song at your favorite BPM, or just dance around the room for the length of an upbeat song. [Or sway around to your favorite movie or play soundtrack. Whatever makes you feel good to move to.]
Have you cuddled a living being in the past two days? If not, do so. Don’t be afraid to ask for hugs from friends or friends’ pets. Most of them will enjoy the cuddles too; you’re not imposing on them.
Do you feel ineffective? Pause right now and get something small completed, whether it’s responding to an e-mail, loading up the dishwasher, or packing your gym bag for your next trip. Good job!
Do you feel unattractive? Take a damn selfie. Your friends will remind you how great you look, and you’ll fight society’s restrictions on what beauty can look like.
Do you feel paralyzed by indecision? Give yourself ten minutes to sit back and figure out a game plan for the day. If a particular decision or problem is still being a roadblock, simply set it aside for now, and pick something else that seems doable. Right now, the important part is to break through that stasis, even if it means doing something trivial.
Have you seen a therapist in the past few days? If not, hang on until your next therapy visit and talk through things then.
Have you been over-exerting yourself lately — physically, emotionally, socially, or intellectually? That can take a toll that lingers for days. Give yourself a break in that area, whether it’s physical rest, taking time alone, or relaxing with some silly entertainment.
Have you changed any of your medications in the past couple of weeks, including skipped doses or a change in generic prescription brand? That may be screwing with your head. Give things a few days, then talk to your doctor if it doesn’t settle down.
Have you waited a week? Sometimes our perception of life is skewed, and we can’t even tell that we’re not thinking clearly, and there’s no obvious external cause. It happens. Keep yourself going for a full week, whatever it takes, and see if you still feel the same way then.
You’ve made it this far, and you will make it through. You are stronger than you think.
I would also add for my own personal list:
Do you have too many commitments going on and/or do you have too many other stressors like watching the news and feeling down about the world or getting tons of emails that drain you and make you feel guilty for not doing something (especially activist or charity emails)? Unsubscribe from the emails, turn the tv from that news station to an uplifting or funny movie (maybe Secretariat or Remember the Titans or Guardians of the Galaxy or any number of other great movies), and let go of that guilty conscience.
When was the last time you just sat and were present? If it's been awhile it could be good for your soul to just be present for a moment. Sit down with your pet and do nothing but look at them and pet them or make a hot cup of tea/cocoa/coffee and do nothing but sit and sip and look around.
Going along with the above: have you been scrolling social media for too long? Give yourself a pause. Close them all. Stretch. Go do something else for a minute or the rest of the day. Social media can leave our brains reeling with too much stimuli.
Is your house cluttered and messy? Pick one room to tidy up a bit or one type of clutter to deal with (paper clutter strewn around can make me feel way out of control, an overflowing hamper can contribute to my feeling ineffective, etc) or just pick one single task to accomplish and revel in it being done (like a load of dishes).
Did you start your morning by getting out of bed really quickly without any time to just think and process what you were feeling when you woke up? Maybe you need to step back and reclaim your day, assess what you're feeling, journal about possible explanations for why, go through this list.
Do you have a really overwhelming, long to-do list written down? Turn it over, and write yourself a much, much shorter list that you can actually do today (some days you can do more than others, be honest with yourself. You should look at this list and think, I would have half the day left if this was all I had to do today. Because then it's not overwhelming. If you were right and you have half the day left you can feel you accomplished what you set out to do, and relax. Or if you feel like you're on a roll, you can make another, even shorter list. Make it super-manageable)
What can you do at night to make your morning better? Do that now, even if it's not night yet. Set out your clothes neatly for the next day, straighten up the areas you use to get ready (your toothbrush and toothpaste should be easy to grab, the dog leash should be hung up and easy to grab, nothing should be on the floor where you'll trip on it, etc), pack your lunch and stick it in the fridge, wash your face, and set out a fresh mug and tea bag on a clean kitchen counter (prep the coffee pot so it's ready to go). Anything that makes your morning feel more peaceful and feel more like a great start to a great day.
Is something sapping your energy because you're trying to make it perfect or trying to choose the best option? If it's good enough or there are several good options that you can't decide between, know that good-enough is actually good enough! I'm practicing this with blog posts and letters to my pen pal. I can spend hours and days crafting one single post or letter that keeps feeling like its not good enough or is getting out of hand. But if I would just stop at some point and say, good enough, it really would be. Or if I would start with less pressure on it, it would be easier and just as good.
Have a good one,