Self Care During The Holidays – How To Stay Grounded

Let’s face it, the holidays are intense.

Sure, we all love the lights, coziness, gift giving and traditions. That’s what the holidays are all about, right? This is what everyone gets so excited about. Images of fireplaces, decorating the tree and baking cookies dance through our heads. We crave this time of year.

The truth is, there is a downside to the holidays. Crowded shopping malls, awkward work parties, and an overload of time spent with family – these are all an introvert’s nightmare. Not to mention the stress of the delicate financial line that many people walk during the holiday season.

Many people find the Christmas season a very emotional time – many even sinking into bouts of depression despite the eggnog and Christmas tunes.

Holiday burnout is real but also preventable. Holidays are traditionally about giving to others. It is meant to be a selfless time of year. However, it is this exact concept that pushes us out of our comfort zones and into a state of overwhelm. Carving out time to give back to yourself is essential. This holiday falls at the end of the year. Instead of trying to rush, you need to spend processing the past year. You need time to make a game plan for the one upcoming in just a few weeks. You cannot emotionally and mentally process all of this and prepare yourself to enter a new year when you are pouring from an empty cup.

Avoid Holiday Burnout:

  1. Create a budget – finances are the last thing you should be worrying about this time of year. If you feel you must give a gift and it is out of your financial reach, make a quick DIY present. Homemade sugar scrubs and baking go over really well, I hear.
  2. Limit parties – Sometimes it is nice to get out and socialize during the holidays, but choose wisely! Don’t feel obligated to attend something that you really have no interest in. Going to a party and making forced conversation is draining and this is time you could be spending on yourself. Pick the gatherings where you know you will have the most fun.
  3. Take breaks from family – You know how it goes. Your parents are having Christmas dinner at their place, your sister is inviting you over for Boxing Day, your aunt decides she must also have everyone over for dinner…next thing you know, your entire week is booked full. Have conversations early about limiting the family get togethers, or let people know in advance that you may not be attending every single one.

The holidays are the most important time of year to focus on self care.

I have always said that I love Christmas Eve but Christmas Day is my least favourite day of the year. When I was younger, I could never understand why I felt that way. I was surrounded by family, great food and tons of generous presents. Why did this day bother me so much? Why wasn’t this my favourite? Was I ungrateful?

As I have gotten older, I realized that I love the quaintness of Christmas Eve. It is filled with all of the quiet traditions that I look forward to every year. It is a reprieve from the hustle and bustle, a calm moment before the craziness of Christmas morning arrives. It wasn’t that I was ungrateful, it is that there is a stark contrast between feeling so calm and settled to entering into a flurry of people, food and  it’s just that those gifts didn’t matter. It was the time spent where everyone just enjoyed each other that mattered the most to me.

Why do we stress ourselves out when we can make the entire month of December feel like Christmas Eve? Why do we neglect ourselves during this busy time of year?

This year I have decided to take all of the things that I love about Christmas Eve and spread them out over the holiday season. The wonderful times that make you feel warm and cozy on the inside. These ideas are soothing and help you survive the Christmas season. They will also help prepare you for a potentially cold and blustery January and February. No longer will I face the season dreading parties, avoiding wrapping gifts, and the feeling of “ugh, I actually need to leave the house to go to this family dinner”. Instead, bring on the relaxing, the gratitude, the feeling of comfort, and overall holiday well being. Enjoy the eggnog, savour the season and know that you are doing good things to take care of yourself. Finish the year strong in order to start the year strong.

I have created a 12 Days of Self Care – How To Keep Yourself Grounded During The Christmas Season guide. This is packed with awesome stuff to do over the holiday season to help keep you sane and prevent overwhelm. These are the things you love about the season but can’t seem to fit them in. I can’t wait to dive into these ideas myself – I’m craving for it! Sign up below to download the guide!

 

 

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Make Your Life Awesome: How To Choose Which Goal To Crush First

 

If you’re anything like me, you may have a hard time choosing which goal to work towards first.

 

I mean, I’m pretty sure I have a gazillion thoughts going through my head at any given time. Maybe I should blog, maybe I should start an online store, maybe I should start teaching ESL, maybe I should set up an artsy cafe in my town. All of these things are on my bucket list, and they go through varying stages of importance to me. Maybe I’ll give it all up and go live on a beach on some fabulous tropical island. You just. never. know!

 

I have been struggling with this since September hit because I had really been feeling like I wasn’t settled with how my life was going. Things (read: children who never want to be put down) were preventing me from spending focused time at this blog and I just kept thinking “you know, maybe this isn’t it. Maybe this isn’t working for me because this isn’t my groove”.  I started focusing my time and energy into other avenues.

 

Know what happened? I was miserable. It turns out that this blogging gig is my thing because I love every second of it. I love networking, writing, promoting, image creation, I love every last nitty gritty bit of it.

 

I have talked to some of you (you lovely, lovely people), and here’s what I heard you want to work towards: paying off debt, starting your own business, figuring out a way to work from home so that you can stay with your children, getting your game together so you can aceeee the heck out of university. These are all exceptional goals. All consuming, but exceptional.

 

I hear you, guys. I really do. But still there is this burning question:

 

How do you decide? How do you choose what is the right goal to approach at this particular time of your life?

 

As I keep saying, I’m on this journey to be the person that I want to be, and to live the life I know I’m ready to live. So I’m very willingly saying that I am not an expert at this stuff, but here’s what I did

 

Hammer It Out In Your Brain

 

I know, this is really complicated. I don’t mean meditating or spending time on a yoga mat contemplating life. I didn’t meditate. I listened to Scott Helman and Joel Plaskett on repeat for three days while I painted my kitchen. Same thing, basically. For real though, get in tune with what is going to make you happy. For me, zoning out to music that makes me feel great puts me in a place to assess what else makes me really happy. It isn’t a good idea to make life decisions when you’re in the middle of a rut. Make them when you’re at your happiest, feel like you’re in a good place, and go from there! Even if that happy place only lasts as long as your song, follow your gut, your intuition knows what it’s doing, promise. When you feel like your chest is tight because your heart feels like it’s just going to burst, stop right there! That’s it, you’ve found it!

 

Think Logically

 

Once you’ve realized what you want to do, figure out logical steps to get there. Is there a situation that needs to be dealt with immediately? For example, say that you’re in a dire financial situation. Choose the option that is going to get you to a place where you can continue on the path you want in the least amount of time. I need to pay off some debt before March in order to work from home (my ultimate goal). Imperfect Individuals is ranked as my #1 priority, but I also need to find a good way to make a little extra money, so I started the process to teach ESL. Ideally, I would have chosen another goal (let’s go back to that beach, shall we?) but I know that I have to adult, so teaching ESL is my next step. Maybe I can teach from the beach…hmmm.

 

Discuss With VIPs

 

If you’re in a position where you don’t consult with anyone over your life choices, feel free to skip this step! For the rest of us, major life decisions probably need to be discussed with your partners and families. This isn’t to ask permission. No, no. I don’t ask permission (ask my partner, he’ll tell you). This is your life decision, not theirs. This is how I handle a conversation like this: tell them what I’m doing and ask them how they can support me in it. I include my oldest daughter in this. I always make it very clear to her what my goals are and what I need to do to meet them, and what she can do to be part of it. We have similar conversations with her about her goals, and my partner as well. If you are living with your family (partner or not), it is super important that everyone feels that their needs are met and that everyone feels supported in what they’re trying to achieve in life. I’m a firm believer that nothing will be achieved if there isn’t mutual support. So for example, right now our plan is that he gets certain days of the week for sports and the things he wants to work on, and I’m working my schedule around that, which gives me uninterrupted time to do what I need to do.

 

Make A Plan

 

Would this be Imperfect Individuals if I didn’t type these words? Of course, make a plan. Choose your first step, but then also make a rough plan for your future goals. It doesn’t have to be “On May 21st 2018 I’m going to open a store”. I mean, it could be like that. But having a general idea of what you want to do and when you want to do it will help soften the blow if your situation calls for you to choose a goal that was lower on your list. You aren’t making the wrong the decision, it is coming, you just have to get there first. It is nice to be able to “rough draft” your life so that you know what you truly want isn’t out of sight.

 

So, there you have it. My super official and not-exactly-professional method of making a life choice. What do you think? What do you do when you’re faced with making a huge life decision?

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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A Soothing Routine – The Key To Success

 

One of the most underestimated productivity tools is implementing a routine.

I know, this sounds boring. I can guess what you’re thinking already – another routine post. I wish people would stop talking about routines.

Sorry to say it, but there is a reason that everyone is preaching about routines these days. I resisted routine and structure for the majority of my life. I just did whatever I wanted to do, whenever I wanted to do it. You know, living life on the edge. Looking back, though, my life was chaotic and I wasn’t really making any progress towards what I wanted in life – I was a bit of a lost cause.

Maybe I’m just getting old (I’m staring down 30 in a few weeks, the panic is about to set in any day now), but I have come to appreciate the value of solid routines. Once I started implementing routines, things started to fall into place. Just like magic, people!

Why Are Routines Important?

 

1. You Know What To Expect

Once you fall into a routine, you begin to learn what you can accomplish in a specific amount of time. Let’s say your evening routine is eating dinner, clean the house, walk the dogs and study/write. After a while, you know that dinner takes you 40 minutes to prepare and eat. You know that maybe it takes you about 20 minutes to tidy up, then you take the dogs for a walk for about an hour, and then you’re good to study for two hours. You are able to better plan your life when you know what is going to happen.

 

 

2. People Know What To Expect From You

When you have an established routine, the people around you take notice. They know that at 6pm on Thursdays you run. They know that there isn’t much point to try to contact you at 8:00pm because you’re working on your hustle. When they know that you are set into your routines and have habits that you won’t stray from, they become less likely to demand your time during those periods. This is important because friends and families can often become distractions. It is so much easier to say “screw it” and go out to dinner and drinks with your friends, or meet up for a family event, or hang out with your partner instead of doing something you have to work at. When you’re focused, you’re focused and things are good. If you’re stalled, if you’re struggling with your goals for some reason, having a distraction is a great way to procrastinate. Those are the times you need to be putting your all into it, not finding reasons to escape.

 

 

3. They’re Soothing

When you’re having a crappy day and things just aren’t going right, having a routine is very soothing. An evening routine is especially important for this. It feels so good to come home at the end of the day, stop doing what other people expect from you, and just do your own thing. It is nice to relax, but it also feels so good to be able to pound away at your goals in your own time. I find that spending a day doing things for other people just motivates me to come home and go full force at working on my blog because it is my “thing” and this is what I want to be successful with.

 

 

4. You’re In Control

Personal routines really put you in control of your own life. Really, that’s what we’re all after, right? We want to be in control of what happens to us. We want to make our own decisions in life. We don’t want outside influences telling us what to do. Your routines are your one chance during the day to say “I’m going to do what I want to do, exactly how I want to do it”. Nothing feels better than that, trust me.

 

 

 

How To Make A Routine

 

 

 

1. Decide What Matters To You

Figure out exactly what it is that is the most important to you. Do you want to relax? Do you want to spend time alone? Do you want to get work done? Identify these things and go forward from there. It is vital that you form your routine around these core elements. For example, if your goal for your morning routine is to have a calm morning, make sure you incorporate whatever activities are going to make you feel that way, and then time breakfast, getting ready, etc around that one idea. If your goal is to get up and exercise or write, then you need to make that the focus of your routine and go from there.

 

 

2. Write It Out

Yes, you need to write it out. Saying your going to do something doesn’t mean you’re going to do it. Writing it out will give you a better chance. Make sure that you have enough time to do everything. Be realistic. Don’t try to cram things in your morning routine and then end up late for work or dropping the kids off. Ensure that you have enough time, and if you don’t, then either change your routine or change your timing. This may mean you have to wake up earlier or go to bed later. Sometimes you just have to make more hours in the day. Whatever you do, make sure you are doing things that are actually attainable. If you know you aren’t a morning person, and you’re just starting to establish a routine, then stating that all of a sudden you are going to wake up at 5am is most likely going to fail. If you normally go to bed at 10:30pm and you all of a sudden decide you’re going to stay up until 1am, that might not work too well either. The goal is to be healthy and productive and to take small steps to reach your goal, not go all in at once and potentially set yourself up for failure.

 

 

3. Inform Other People

This is especially crucial if you live with other people. If you live with your spouse, all of a sudden your alarm going off earlier in the morning probably isn’t going to be the best way to wake up. If you’re used to crashing on the couch watching tv all night and now you’ve decided you’re going to start going to the gym in the evenings, this is something they need to be told about. My general rule of thumb is that if your actions are going to impact their routine, then involve them in the discussion. It is vital that you get the support you need at home because as I stated earlier, family and friends are big time distractions. If you are worried about taking your evenings away from “couple time”, implement a schedule that also includes spending time with them. Please note that I said involve them in the discussion, not the decision. You need to make the decision to work towards your own goals on your own. You can have joint goals, but having someone negatively influence your plans is going to hold you back. Decide what you need, inform and ask for support. You’re looking to do this because you want to be better as an individual.

 

 

 

Feel Better – 7 Secrets To Make Your Day Better Right Now

feel better

 

Everyone has crappy days and you want to feel better. Things aren’t going your way. You aren’t motivated. You’re at work wondering how you ever got stuck there in the first place.

When we get into this mindset, it’s challenge to change your train of thought. Your whole day can very quickly go down the drain if you don’t pull yourself out of it fast. You become consumed with everything negative that has happened, is happening, or could happen. The rest of the day is covered by a dark cloud of negativity and mental complaints. You have to make a decision: either you pull yourself together and own your day and rock it, or you spend the whole day wallowing in self pity and waiting for the next bad thing to happen.

The right decision is always to rock your day.

Here’s 7 ways that you can make your day better right now.

1. Make A Plan

Make a to-do list. Add something you’ve already done. Check it off for an ego boost. Evaluate your time. You are more likely to complete a task if you write it down.

2. Brain Dump

We have so many thoughts running through our minds at any given time. Write everything out – every tiny thought, every task you need to remember, everything that it bothering you. Get it out, refresh and get on with your day.

3. Work It Out

Spend 10 minutes getting some energy out. Do whatever you are capable of doing right now. Stuck at work? Desk yoga. Always.

4. Drink Water

Fill up your water bottle and chug! Hydrating makes you feel healthy and feeling healthy will make your day better. Promise.

5. One Minute Rule

Look around you. If there is something that can be done in less than one minute, do it right now. See how productive you are?

6. Have A Laugh

Talk to someone you know makes you laugh. Look up funny cat pictures. Do whatever it takes to put a smile on your face.

7. Money

Have a quick look at your finances. Figure out where you stand and where your money is going. Maybe this is depressing, but at least you know what you’re facing. Ignoring it won’t make it go away. It’s called being responsible. Being responsible feels great.

Self Care Routine – Why You Need It + Free Printable

Self Care

 

Self Care is a popular buzzword these days. Everyone is talking about it and how they aren’t getting enough of it.

So what is it? Self care is unique to each individual. Meditation, baths with candles and mani/pedis often come to mind. In fact, self care is anything that makes you feel like you are investing in yourself. If meditation sounds like the worst thing in the world to you, no fear- you can still have a self care routine.

You are most likely suffering from a lack of self care if you aren’t taking the time to rejuvenate yourself throughout the day/week/month/year. Working excessive hours to the point of burnout, caring for family members without much help, or being in a general situation that exhausts you emotionally or spiritually are all signs that you are in desperate need of self care.

Self care is something that I struggle with in all aspects of my life. Last year, I was working 12 hour shifts, sometimes up to 55 hours a week at an emotionally taxing job. I would then come home and try to deal with my over tired, mother deprived children who needed every second of my attention. Sleep, shower, repeat. It was a miserable situation. One thing that would have made it better was being able to implement some sort of self care routine. I always felt like I was too busy to do this.

Cue a year later and although I am on maternity leave, my work load is entirely different. I have three young children, two of whom are almost entirely dependent on me for their every need. Although I have help in the evenings for bath time and bed time, it is still taxing to manage a family and home. Self care once again was not a priority.


It became increasingly apparent to me as I was constantly on the verge of a tearful emotional breakdown in both of these situations that I needed to carve out time for myself. A self care routine was of the upmost importance. You cannot give to others if your cup is empty. Burnout hurts and it is necessary to do whatever it takes before you get to that point.

My Self Care Routine

The first thing I did when I started implementing self-care is to carve out a specific time of day for this. I decided to choose evening because that was really the only time I could relax and focus. It is important that you schedule this in to your day. Writing it in your planner is a great idea. It’s an appointment with yourself.

I decided what I was going to do. For me, reading and writing is therapeutic so I began downloading tons of books and made a habit of reading. Writing and planning is also something I really enjoy, so I added those in there as well.

Water is great for calming and relaxing so I try to fit in a “therapy shower” every night. It’s nice to wash the day off.

Last in my evening self care routine is stretching. I don’t do an entire yoga routine (although this is a great idea if you enjoy it) but I do like to do a few stretches before heading to bed.

I’m working on implementing more self care through the day, but that is something I need to do over time.

How To Make A Self Care Plan

  1. Carve out your time.
  2. Choose your therapy.
  3. Implement

It’s necessary to make time for weekly self care as well. This may include something that takes more time, like a hike or a weekend adventure. Self care doesn’t just have to be done alone, either. Bring your partner as a way to work on your relationship at the same time. As long as you get to take a break from life, you’re golden.

Since I know how difficult it can be to fit self care into your day, I’ve designed a Weekly Self Care Plan to help keep us on track. Sign up below to download!

5 steps to declutter your space and have a fabulous, productive life

 

 

 

 

 

clutter

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The most important thing I had to do before I could really sink my teeth into changing myself was get rid of clutter.

That meant cleaning my house. My entire, overly messy house. This disaster was distracting, exhausting even. The clutter in my space was taking up all of the time I should have been working on myself. It was holding me back!

This wasn’t messy due to my lack of cleaning. In fact, I felt like I spent the majority of my time tidying and cleaning, but every time I turned around it all needed to be done again.

One of the things I know best about myself is that I was not going to be able to move ahead with my life if I didn’t move the mess. I’m sure of this because I use it as a procrastination method. More than one day in university was spent cleaning my apartment from top to bottom as a way to ignore the paper that was due the next day. I am a procrastinator and I like to declutter as an excuse. In fact, I spent time watching “Clean with me” videos on Youtube before actually getting down to business. Who doesn’t need to procrastinate about cleaning by watching other people clean?

It was at this point that I realized how badly I needed to get our cluttered, messy house under control. I needed to be able to breathe and focus on what I was trying to accomplish. I felt like I was trapped by the mess and needed to get out of it. Realizing this helped me understand that I needed to put my own foot down in my life and declutter. Unless I got my shit together, all of the important things I wanted in my life weren’t going to happen.

5 steps to cut clutter in your space and have a fabulous, productive life:

Just get it done– I finally had to look hard at myself, realize that I was the one standing in the way of having a clean space, suck it up and do it. That first “big clean” is always dreadful because you are tackling so much at one time. It gets easier, I promise. Your house will not get clean watching other people on Youtube, so it turns out.

Decide on your methods- Are you going to clean room by room or layer by layer? Everyone has something different that will work for them. I prefer to go room by room so that when I look around, one thing is completely done!

Enlist Help – Unless you live on your own, you didn’t make this mess by yourself. Enlist your partner, kids, whoever is able to help. Delegation is an acquired skill, but one that needs to be acquired fast.

Set a Timer – The thing that really changed the way I clean my house is setting timers. I hate cleaning, so breaking it up into short bursts instead of a cleaning marathon helps keep me motivated. I give myself 15 minutes for really messy rooms like the kitchen or playroom, and 5-10 minutes for rooms that need less work.

Accept that it won’t  be perfect – You may not need to have an immaculate house. Just clean it to the point that it won’t distract you, and you won’t take up all of your time trying to maintain it.

 

Several resources really helped motivate me to get my cleaning game on. Clutter Bug Youtube channelUnf*ck Your Habitat: You’re Better Than Your Mess, and How to Manage Your Home Without Losing Your Mind: Dealing with Your House’s Dirty Little Secrets were of particular help to me!

Do you use cleaning as a procrastination method? What’s your best method for moving past your mess?

 

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