Today is Sunday! Yay! I love Sundays. For me, they’re like a breath of fresh air. No matter what kind of week I’ve had at school, whether I’m sinking in eight foot waves or tenderly floating in the kid’s pool, Sunday comes as a release. It’s a day that I’ve made sacred, not only because I’m a Christian, but also for my sanity.
It is my self-care day. I try to make the most of it, making it a slow, relaxing day. It makes Monday a bit more beautiful, and helps me to release any stress I’ve accumulated throughout the week. Here are some practices that I like to employ to make sure Sunday is one of my best days:
This one can be hard for some people. It wasn’t hard for me to do, because I check my email very often during the week, and I often only have subscriptions in my email. I confess that I have broken this one in recent weeks. Due to the extent of my schoolwork, I have not been able to check my email as much as I’d like to, and when the weekends roll around, I finally find an opportunity to check it. But, I haven’t checked it today and I’ve felt really good about that.
Yes, it does pile up, but there is this sense of relief that no matter how many emails you get, you are not required to check it and it does take a weight off of you. Even if all you have is subscriptions, you will find that there is a noticeable lack of some stress. It may only be a little, but it ends up making a big difference. Your mind is free to forget about any notifications that might be too stimulating, and you have more time to do the things you really want to do, instead of replying or checking your email for a half hour.
This has been a game changer for me. Last Saturday, I worked seven hours straight on schoolwork, and just this Friday I did the same. When Sunday comes, I have one rule that I never break: No working. This isn’t just because I’m a Christian, although it is nice to take a day off of work to focus on my spirituality. It also helps keep me sane. All week, and possibly a huge chunk of Saturday, I am working. It takes a lot out of you, and by the time Sunday rolls around, you deserve a break. You need it.
This ritual is an act of self-care, primarily because I know I’d go insane without it. I feel like it’s almost a race. You start on Monday, and you have to run all the way until Friday or Saturday. If you don’t take a day off to take a breather, you will end up collapsing when the next Monday rolls around. Not only does this breather give you a chance to focus on other things like hobbies or spirituality, it also gives your mind a chance to be cleansed of any stress that has piled up during the week as you’ve been working so hard. Think of it as a facial for your brain, cleansing your pores and washing out any excess stress accumulated during the week.
This brings me to my next practice: relaxation. A breather is meant to provide you with rest, and you need relaxation in order to rest well. For me, I love meditating and imagining my heart. It’s a spiritual practice for me, but it doesn’t have to just be spiritual. I love to indulge in my hobbies: making art, writing (like today), listening to music, etc. I took a nap today too.
It’s not confined to one thing, it can look like so many different things. I’ve started a Sunday ritual of taking a bath on Sunday nights with a cupcake bath bomb. I don’t do this every Sunday, but when I do I just get to sit back and breathe. Sundays are all about slow for me. If I can slow down enough to be in tune with my heart, I can finally breathe, and that makes for a much better Monday.
I am not always caught up on my inspiration during the week. This mostly involves YouTube and Instagram, since I follow a lot of filmers and bloggers. I take this time to soak up any inspiration I can, let my mind wander and daydream, and just be. Sometimes I’ll draw or write or dance, just taking time to enjoy the day. Recently, I’ve joined a book club, so this is also the time when I catch up on my reading.
This month, we’re reading Wired For Joy, a book I highly recommend and one that is teaching me so much about stress and the brain. Sometimes I’ll read poetry as well. Walking into the week inspired really shifts your perspective. You feel as though you can conquer anything the week might throw at you, and even if you leave exhausted, you know that you went into it feeling amazing, and that helps you to remember the good parts of the week even when there are bad parts. Being inspired also causes you to be grateful, grateful for all that you have and the education you are being permitted to engage in, which allows you to be positive and be the best person you can be this week.
Sundays are for sleep. Every Sunday, I try to get to bed early so that I can have the best Monday possible. I’ve found that if you get a great night of sleep, no matter what happens Monday, you will still feel great at the end of the day. And though I try to do this most weeknights, Sunday is the best opportunity to do this since I am not working and I have much more time to prepare for sleep than I might during the week after hours of homework or if I get home later than usual.
If you’d like to find out more about what I do to get ready for bed, you can click here to learn about my night routine and how to make your own.
I haven’t actually practiced this one yet. But recently I’ve been reflecting on unplugging, and I used to do this on Sunday a long time ago, but I stopped. I don’t exactly remember why, I just did. I probably won’t unplug for the whole day, but maybe just an hour or half an hour. I’ll start small, and see where it goes.
When I used to unplug, I found that I was bored often, but it was a good kind of bored. The day seemed to slow down, and I was more present than I would have been with my phone. I’m looking to slow down, so I am excited to see what kinds of gifts this experience might bring me.
Alright, well, that will be it for today. I hope that you were able to take a breather today, whatever that looks like for you. Tell me in the comments what your Sunday rituals look like. Did you get any ideas from this post? Do you have a day that is set aside for slowing down? I’d love to hear all about it.
This post has been on my heart for a while. I feel like this really speaks to where I am right now, and I’m still learning how to do this. Today I am going to be talking about honoring yourself, and how to honor your season. It’s been a continuous walk for me, because, I don’t know if I’m the only one, but I have a lot to say about my life. I jump up on the judgement seat of my life all the time, and you know what the number one thing I say is? “Abbey, you should be here by now, not there. Why are you still there?”
Instead of accepting myself and honoring my process, my continual unfolding, I end up judging myself and deciding where I should and shouldn’t be, which doesn’t really change anything that’s going on. I’m learning to honor myself, my body, my feelings, my desires (true heart desires). It’s a long road that I am just at the beginning of, but it is incredibly beautiful. So, if you haven’t started your own journey already, I am going to teach you how to begin honoring yourself. This practice has many fruits, the biggest of which is becoming more in tune and connected with yourself.
Another one is having no shame. For some of you, including myself still, this seems almost unthinkable. No shame? What? Are you serious? But it’s true, by honoring your process you begin to learn how to accept what is, and that naturally extinguishes shame at its root.
This is a practice of self-care because it frees you to be who you are today with no feelings of shame for your state of being. It empowers you to be honest, and that allows you to address your needs as they come up with compassion and love instead of annoyance or anger.
So let’s get started:
Feeling All The Feels
I used to be someone who never truly connected with my feelings. I’m an INFP at heart, but I never gave myself permission to feel “bad” emotions. I was supposed to be this happy-go-lucky girl with no evidence of my childhood pain nor any problems that stemmed from that. But shutting down my “bad” emotions also shut down my capacity to feel the good ones, and numbness led my life into a place of drought, where no color was able to shine through. Denying your pain won’t make it go away, and shoving your feelings down will only leave you with more to deal with when everything comes back up.
For a lot of my life, I’ve felt like I needed to be this perfect person who did everything right and didn’t feel “bad” emotions. Now, I’m learning to let go of that. I am not perfect, and I actually don’t want to be right. I care more about experiences, loving myself and honoring myself. I’ve learned that there are no “bad” emotions. People say that emotions are neither bad nor good, but I like to think of them as good. Every emotion can serve me if I let it. Every emotion is beautiful in its own way and needs to be deeply felt in order for me to fully heal and truly honor myself.
A Shame-Free Zone
Shame is like a sickness. It seeps into our bones and teaches us to hate what we’ve become, hide our insecurities and deny our problems. So, how do we get rid of it? What’s the secret? If you’re anything like me, your first thought would be to get rid of the problem that is causing you to have shame, right?
That’s actually not the answer. Believe me, I’ve tried that. You cannot just get rid of the behavior or thought-pattern. You have to heal at the root, and the first step of that is to create a shame free zone. I catch myself going into shame all the time. It is my number one go to, it is the first thing I think of when I have a problem. Then I hear Jesus say, “Don’t shame yourself.” Most times, this is said to me multiple times per day, because I’m just so used to going there. I’m so used to shaming myself.
Know that it’s okay, where you are today. It’s okay to still be struggling. It’s okay to be imperfect. It’s okay, and all of your problems are caused by a root, some type of trauma your heart is carrying around that it is continually responding to in the only ways it knows how. Sometimes they’re smart, and sometimes they don’t help you heal. But the first thing you must do is accept yourself. Accept where you are, know that you can honor where you are right now, and that honoring yourself is more important than changing your behavior.
Honor your process, feel what you need to feel and don’t shame yourself for feeling or doing something that comes out of that place of trauma. Your heart is still learning, you are still healing, give yourself grace for this moment. You are continually evolving into the beautiful being that is already inside of you, that you’re learning to live out of. You are learning how to be your best self, and that takes time and patience. Have grace for your learning process, because acceptance and self-love are the only things that will heal you, shame only drives you deeper into the wound.
Listening To Yourself
This can change your life. If you would just get quiet for a moment, and check in with yourself, breathe, you might begin to learn something. I’m saying this as a loud person, a person who often runs away from herself by having noise in her life, whether that be music or her own voice. It’s hard for me to be still, to be quiet, but when I do I can sense this resonance. It’s as if my soul says, “Finally! I love being still. I have so much to tell you!”
I recently started a practice. I don’t do it everyday, but occasionally I will take out my phone and set a timer for ten minutes. I don’t speak, and I try not to speak in my brain either (God knows how much I talk to myself; I’m not crazy by the way, just weird), I just listen to my heart. I listen to God, and I learn more in those ten minutes than I could learn in the whole rest of my day.
I’ve also begun really checking in with myself. Abbey, what do you want? What do you need? It’s all one day at a time, this work. Listening and acting on what I need, or even just stating what I need, is a way of honoring myself. I’m caring for myself like a mother would care for her child. I’m starting to ask myself why I want to do things, and I’m getting key insights into my true heart desires. My life is starting to look like I imagined, all because I’m actually deciding to be brave enough to dive deep into my soul and start doing some work in there. Soul work starts by listening, asking what you want and especially what you need, and doing those things, honoring your deep wisdom that you know your true desires and it is actually (at a heart level) good.
Honestly, I could go on about this forever. This is just the tip of the iceberg, and I’m just starting to learn the true meaning of honoring myself and what true self-care looks like. I’d be honored if you shared where you are on your path in the comments. Do you have any other ways that you honor your process? What did you take away from this post? How are you healing and caring for yourself? Tell me all about it in the comments.
I hope you all have a great rest of your day! Do something to honor yourself today (even if that’s giving yourself an ice cream cone; if it is what you want totally do it!).
So…I’ve been off the radar for a while now, haven’t I? I don’t know where to begin. A lot has happened in my life, from getting blood tests to working overtime on projects and trying my best to meet deadlines. I’m okay, I just went to an endocrinologist because I’ve been having a lot of symptoms, I’ve been really exhausted to the point where I can’t get up in the mornings and I’ve had frequent headaches. The doctor thinks it is hormonal, but we’re still receiving test results, so I’ll keep you guys posted.
Anyway, on a more positive note, I am feeling better. So today I am going to share with you my morning routine, plus tips to develop your own. Again, just like my sleep routine, this was hard to craft because I am not a morning person and I didn’t know what to come up with at first. Morning routines are super important, because the morning’s just go so much smoother when you have a schedule to follow. I confess that I often break it on weekends, but I think weekends are for relaxing + sleeping in, so that’s what makes me happy. But on school days, I love to have a rhythm that I can let flow into the day and make my day the best it can be. I’ll be showing you Mon-Fri what my morning’s look like, since I often break it on the weekends.
Here’s my morning routine:
I tend to wake up around six, although five fifty has been my pattern for the past few months. I like to wake up to my Morning Playlist and just arrive in the moment, wake up to the day. I’m not big on waking up with a leap, I usually like to wake up softly and gently since I’m not much of a morning person. With the music playing, I’ll meditate for a few minutes or take a look at my Morning Pinterest Board to get revved up for a good day. I need positivity in the mornings, especially those mornings when all I want to do is go back under the covers and collapse. I started to notice that I was becoming very negative with my symptoms, so I decided to adopt a new philosophy: Every day is a good day.
I know that some days can be horrible, but even on those days there is always something to be grateful for, even if it’s just the sun kissing your skin the next morning. I want to start to be grateful more often, because it’s easy to get negative when things aren’t going as planned, but if you stay positive you’re going to feel way better, I promise you. This sometimes means you need to look at kawaii potato posts on Pinterest, and other times it just means being proud of yourself if all you did that day was get out of bed. Either way, wherever you are, know that good days are always ahead + that I’m rooting for you.
I like to get dressed first thing instead of eating breakfast, mainly because eating takes the longest. I used to eat first, but I was rushing to get dressed and it was a disaster, so I decided to switch it around. I’m slowly in the process of getting clothes that are all my favorite. Why have a favorite outfit when you can have a favorite wardrobe? Am I right?
This doesn’t have to be expensive, either. Just make sure it’s something you love. For me, this means lots of warm, soft sweaters and fuzzy leggings. I’m trying to do this for summer too. I’ve actually started a Summer OOTD Board on Pinterest, just to get a vibe for what I want to wear in the summer. I’m not sure I like all the clothes on there, but I’m trying to see what I want for the summer and what I want it to look like, so I’m hoping to get ideas through these images.
After I’ve gotten dressed, I take all of my vitamins and supplements, the usual. Before breakfast, I’ll try to drink at least two glasses of water to start my day hydrated. Then I eat. I have a staple meal in the morning, so I don’t have to think about meal planning or deciding which fruit I’ll eat today. My first food of the day will be a banana, seeing as it provides sufficient calcium, is easy to digest and is a nice starter food for the day. Secondly, I eat a bran muffin because they taste soooo good, and are also good for your digestive system. Finally, I will eat almonds.
I went to a nutritionist recently and she recommended eating protein in the morning since I would often get hungry in between meals. I only eat about twelve, but they’ve made a big difference and I feel much better in the mornings as a result.
This is the end of my routine. I know it’s pretty short, but so are my morning’s. They go by quickly. I jump in my car, say hello to one of the staff members who works at my apartment complex’s front office, and I’m off! At this point in the day, I’m dreaming about the good in my day, thinking about the work I have to do, and noticing the beauty around me right outside my window. Sometimes I’ll visualize my day going well, one where I’ll have a perfect day and end it so grateful for what I have. I know it isn’t always ideal, but sometimes life can be beautiful when we see it that way, and I choose to see it that way in the morning so that my day will be the best it can possibly be, even when it doesn’t go as planned.
I know it isn’t much, but it keeps me grounded. Really, the important stuff happens first thing in the morning, like meditation or listening to soft, gentle music. This is what I crave in the mornings, although my schedule and regular eating habits might contribute to that feeling of calm through schedule.
On to the tips:
Start Your Day Off Right
When you wake up in the morning, what you do sets the tone for your entire day. If you wake up angry, you start the day angry, which is not a good place to be in when you arrive at the office. I like to start my day with meditation, to connect with my heart and restore my soul, and to remember how loved I am. This prepares me for whatever the day will throw at me. I won’t get as frustrated in the day by little things, I’ll be more grateful, and I’ll be connected to myself. So what is it for you? What have you done that’s made your day that much more special?
If you can’t think of anything, experiment. What do you love to do? Do that first thing in the morning. Have a playlist, meditate, have a vision board, light a candle, do yoga, dance, have tea, whatever pleases your soul, do that thing.
Are You A Morning Person or Not?
This one determines everything. If you are a morning person, you may love getting up early before the sunshine and making breakfast and coffee. You may love trying new routines out. But if you’re anything like me, you wake up already grumpy at the fact that you have to wake up at this hour. Just because I have a routine I love, doesn’t mean I don’t looove when the weekends come by. But I have managed to enjoy the mornings even if I don’t want to get up. How?
I personalized my routine. I’ve never been one to read an article on morning routines and just do that. It has to fit me. It has to be personal. Just like my night routine, I cater my morning routine to my preferences, meaning I wake up gently and I don’t jump out of bed right away. Ask yourself, what do I need? What, even if I don’t like mornings, is going to make my morning enjoyable?
Do you need to wake up to positivity, like me? Or do you just need to lie in bed for fifteen minutes in order to be able to welcome the morning like a friend instead of a torturous enemy?
What Does A Perfect Morning Look Like?
Imagine waking up to the perfect morning. This could be a saturday or sunday or even a monday. What does it look like? What does it smell like? What are all your senses telling you? Are you wearing your favorite outfit, eating your favorite breakfast? Is your attitude light and airy, or is it jumping with excitement?
What if I said you could live this dream, right here, right now? You probably think I’m crazy, which while true, it’s not that far-fetched to believe that you could wake up to the smell of lavender or with the sunlight kissing your skin. The more you believe that it is possible and start imagining it, the more it might actually begin to start looking like reality. Maybe you could light a lavender candle in the a.m., or wake up before everyone to ensure that your mornings are a quiet space, at least for a little while. What steps could you take to make this reality? Think about that, and take them.
This might mean you have to change your regular schedule, but if it means being happier throughout the day and feeling great when you go to work, I think it’s worth it.
I hope you found something that helps you in this post. What is the most challenging thing about the mornings for you? What is your dream morning, and how do you want to make that reality? I’d love to hear from you in the comments.
Thanks for reading and I hope you have a great rest of your day!
Today I’m going to share some of my favorite people with you guys. Personally, I love YouTube. I’m such a visual person, and I’m really getting into documenting life through film. These are some of the people who I think are amazing, who I always love to see in my subscription feed:
A college student, Annabelle Gao is an artist, and generally one of the best people to be around. She’s always so positive in her vlogs, and it reminds me to be grateful for what I have. Even on those bad days, she always ends it with a positive note. She is currently going to RISD, which was originally why I followed her, to find out more about the school as an option for me. Now, I can truthfully say I love her vlogs and although I do want to learn more about RISD, I think that she will be in my subscription box for a long time, because her vlogs are always so beautiful, creative, and inspiring. Seriously though, check out her charcoal animation video, she has amazing art skills.
Sarah Nagel is a Canadian holistic health expert living in Columbia. Her videos talk about anything in health, anything that she’s been loving lately, and all natural health and beauty products. Honestly, this channel is what got me into natural living, and I’m so grateful for that because it has helped me make more healthy choices and live a healthier life. Sarah doesn’t talk about health like society does. She’s very gentle and non-judgemental.
I love her videos because they’re informative without being in your face and they really talk about her experiences and her life, not just facts about certain supplements (although sometimes they are in there, she usually talks about her experiences with certain products as well). She’s very keen on self-love and giving the body what it needs to function well. One of my all-time favorite videos is her relaxation/anxiety reducing video.
Ana is a college student currently studying graphic design in Porto, Portugal. She is a great designer, currently involved with New Age Creators. She hasn’t been on her channel for a little while because of NAC and school, so I’ll link to her channel in the heading but to find out about recent activity, you should probably click on the NAC link. The first time I followed Ana, I really wanted to get to know what it’s like to study graphic design and go to college, but now I just love to watch her videos. Ana’s videos are always so creative, and a lot of times thought provoking.
It’s not exactly like that with other youtubers that I’m following. Like, sometimes you just want to watch someone else’s life play out in front of you, and it does make you think, but not as much. Ana’s videos really evoke me to ask questions in my own life and they inspire me to live awake to what’s around me. My favorite video has to be the exploring Porto video, because the music and film is amazing and visually stunning. If you’d like to see Ana’s work you can go to her Behance to view her designs.
Sonia Mandeville was raised in Jakarta, Indonesia. A filmmaker, artist, and all out creative, she creates stunning films and has even been featured on SoulPancake. She’s so many things I want to be, if I’m honest. I love that she is endlessly creative and always thinking of things I would never have even considered. I love her style, the fact that she is so true to her identity, and that she is so beautifully creative. I’ve watched every video on SoulPancake because it is all so inspiring.
Currently, she is traveling around the world, filming, making, journaling. She is also very positive, which I enjoy because I don’t want more negative voices in my head (believe me, I get enough to deal with from myself!). She’s been such a blessing in my feed and I am so thankful to get to see her creativity play out in filmmaking. My favorite creation of hers is her escaping a bad day video, especially the part where she is free-spirited enough to dance in public (I am still working on that myself).
Fran is an Chilean illustrator living in Hastings, UK with her husband and her cats. Her style is beautiful, and kind of cartoony as well. She’s very humorous in her videos, and often makes funny comments or faces. She is all art and very inspiring. She talks all about illustration, from what markers to choose to color theory to how to get started as an illustrator. I’m not currently looking into illustration as a career, but I do love to draw and Fran is so fun to watch, so why not have her in my feed? My favorite video has to be the museum sketches video because I love that we got to travel and look at art with her as well as see her interpretation of the world and how that is translated through her art.
Claudia Machado is a hip-hop dancer currently going to college in Porto, Portugal. I originally found out about her through Ana’s NAC video, and I love her free spirit. This is such a fun subscription to have and I love to watch dance. I’m kind of getting into hip hop, especially through what 1 Million is doing in South Korea. It’s so fun to watch, because you can see the passion that a dancer has for movement and motion. I love that about Claudia. So this is just a fun subscription, but my favorite video is her most recent, about dancing bridges instead of crossing them.
Those are my favorite vloggers right now. I don’t know if they’ll change in the future, but I’ll be sure to keep you updated. So, what are your favorite vloggers? Did you like any of these vloggers? Tell me all about it in the comments. I hope you have a great rest of your evening and I hope that youtube gives you lots of inspiration or at least a good how-to!
We all know how important sleep is. We’ve read all the articles, seen the infographics, and woke up feeling like we never went to sleep at all. I have personally been there more times than I can count.
But today, I am sharing something very special with you guys. Scientists and doctors and sleep experts alike often say one of the key practices that helps you get a good sleep is a nightly routine. For a long time, it was just a dream for me. I’d read the articles and think, “Yeah, that’s your routine. But it doesn’t quite fit me.” I wanted to do it, but I wasn’t really into baths and I wasn’t really into spas, I just didn’t fit a lot of the criteria, and I didn’t know how their routine would fit me. It just wasn’t me.
Maybe you’ve been feeling that way too. So today, I’m going to share my routine, but I won’t just leave you hanging there. I’ll share how to develop one too, and give you the tools you need to develop your own.
My Sleep Routine
Honestly, I don’t know when I started this. I just know that one night I did a few things that helped me to sleep and I just decided, “Hey, I really like this. I think I’ll do this tomorrow night too.” And so it began.
I try to get ready early, but a few nights out of the week I have to be out late, so this is going to be an example of a good night, and though the times may be a bit different some nights, the routine is always the same.
This is the time I start to get to winding down. Sometimes I don’t do anything for these thirty minutes but sit and look for relaxing videos on my phone, but I do try to start to get into sleep mode. This means Night Shift on my IPhone, slow, calming music, and relaxing videos or pinterest. I have a board called Sleep & Relax that I’ve been trying to use to wind down; I have pictures of beds and baths (though I don’t like to take one, apparently my heart loves the pictures) and dim lit rooms. It sort of casts a vision for a night ahead, almost like saying to my brain, “This is what the night will look like. Yes, your bedroom may not be as nice as that one, but it can be very relaxing.”
Shower time. I like to be warm when I go to sleep, but not right out of the shower, you know? I’ve got to give my hair some time to at least partially dry. I love to take long, hot showers, especially in the winter, I find that the heat tends to help me wind down. If you take your showers in the morning, a great thing you can do in the night is to have a bath or a body shower. One of the best nights I ever had came from a nice body shower. I also try to wear protective hairstyles to bed so that I don’t look like a complete monster when I wake up (of course, that still can happen from time to time). My go-to hairstyle right now that I have done for years is the braid, although I’ve heard of a bun being one as well. One pro with the bun that I’ve heard is that your hair will just roll nicely out of it, though I prefer the braid because when I take it out it creates nice curls in my hair.
This is where a lot of my time is going towards preparation for the next day. I make my lunch, stick my sandwich in the fridge, and lay out my clothes for the morning. I take all my meds, check my phone a few times, have a glass of water or so. Generally, this is the time for the technical stuff. Some pros to doing this are that you don’t have to waste time in the morning doing this stuff while you could have been doing something more meaningful, or that you just already have everything in place and you don’t have to worry about a thing.
This is the time I have some real rituals and routine. The first thing I like to do after a long day is put some Rose Water on my face and skin. I find it helps with acne, stretch marks, blackheads, and it generally feels soft on my body. It also smells good. I find my skin is clearer and softer in the mornings. It can also help if you have puffy eyes or any type of skin irritation (it even is proven to work for Dermatitis). The health benefits of Rose Water are endless, so I say the more the better.
After this I like to either check my phone a few times or watch some TV for a little while, maybe even read. Reading is my go-to, but my family sometimes wants to watch TV, so I hang out with them for a little while and chill with them.
This is when all the electronics are off. Well, that’s if I don’t meditate with my phone for ten minutes, but I turn my phone upside down and don’t look at the screen. I put it beside my bed upside down as well, so that I never see the screen. I know it’s apparently bad to do that, but I don’t like to get out of my bed right when I wake up, so I put it there along with my headphones (Sony hp’s are the best for sound quality; I am not being paid to say this, there is a noticeable difference). After I am done meditating, I leave nothing on but my Himalayan Salt Lamp. This is where the real routine part starts.
I get my soft VS blanket, put lavender sleep essential oils mix on my pulse points, and spray my pillow with a lavender mist. Then I climb into my bed, put on my sleep mask and meditate again until I fall asleep. I imagine all of my soul going to sleep, I forgive myself for everything that I brought into the day and did in the day, I picture my inner child climbing into Father’s lap and falling asleep, and I go into my safe place with Jesus. I go into a sleep haven, one with a nice fireplace, dimmed lighting, a warm blanket wrapped around my shoulders, steaming tea, and a skylight to see the stars. Sometimes we talk, sometimes we just sit with our tea, but it is the perfect place to be. After maybe half an hour, I fall asleep.
How to Develop Your Own Routine
What Do You Want?
First of all, you need to consider, what is it that you really want? What would make your soul the most peaceful and joyful and content at night? Do you want to have a mini spa at night, or maybe just a comfy bedroom? For me, I wanted a gentle, slow routine. I wanted something that introduced me to the night slowly, but that could also be flexible to my late night schedule. Often on late nights, I will do my Rose Water, then do the essential oils and lavender mist, turn on my Himalayan Salt Lamp, grab my VS Blanket, and meditate until I fall asleep. Writing it makes it seem longer than it is, but at most it takes me about fifteen minutes, then I meditate for as long as it takes me to fall asleep.
What Do You Need?
This kind of depends on your personality, and it depends on what winds you down. For a lot of you it will be calming, self-care types of things: spas, baths, showers, a beauty routine, skin care, reading, writing/journaling, listening to a relaxing playlist, meditating, yoga, maybe even TV. But if you’re high energy, sometimes you just need to release that. I’ve danced before bed and it’s been really nice sometimes, although usually I need a slow routine. For high energy people, you may need some energy-releasing things: Dancing, Working out (don’t do this too close to bedtime though or too soon after dinner), taking a walk, or do something you love.
What is Chill to You?
Lastly, what relaxes you the most? What do you know will work to wind you down? This is very important if you’re going to get to sleep, because you need to relax your body, encourage that Melatonin to come out. Whatever relaxes you most or just gets you to that place of peace, do it. Incorporate whatever that means into your routine and you will be set.
So that’s my nightly routine, and how to make your own. I hope you have a wonderful night and as you can see I am not following my night routine right now because I have a day off tomorrow, but I will still do my late night routine. If you liked any products listed, you can click on the pictures to get more information. If you got a routine from this post or you already have a night routine, I would love to hear about it in the comments! Wishing you a good sleep and a wonderful new night routine!
I have to say, I’m not even sure why I’m writing this. I’m just so tired of doing things because I should, you know? I’m so tired of trying to please everybody, meanwhile sacrificing my individuality in the process. I just need to let go. I need to step back.
It suddenly occurs to me that for a lot of my life, I haven’t actually found out who I am, what I want, what I like. And now, I’m actually starting to get to know myself, I’m starting to actually not care what other people think. I’m starting to be myself for the first time, and I’m starting to live unapologetically.
I like it. I actually really like it. I like myself, and I am not ashamed of that. It isn’t something I need to be ashamed of, because why? Whoever taught me to be ashamed of loving myself? It’s wrong.
I need some time and space to process this. Is that okay? I’m deciding it is. I think I’ll go on a pilgrimage of sorts, perhaps in the summer, to learn who I am. To learn how to be. To learn intimacy with Jesus and myself again. To just be with myself and be okay with that.
I don’t know why I am writing this exactly or what this is leading to, but I just need a space to be honest. Does anyone else feel this way?
Last night, as I was getting ready for bed, I looked in the mirror and I felt a pang. That familiar pang that every woman feels at some point in their life. When you look in the mirror, and you can feel your inner critic leaning forward, preparing the sling of insults of the day. First she hits your thick legs, then she stabs you with a comment about that muffin top, and she tops it off with that sly remark about your 2-day hair. And looking in the mirror last night, I realized that I was tired of it. I’m old enough to be aware of society’s list of ins and outs, and young enough to be the media’s target.
But I don’t want to live according to their standards, because I am my own person. It’s my body, and I make the rules. So that’s why I am starting to practice body positivity. I’ve tried to break into it before, but I haven’t genuinely meant what I said to myself in a long time. It isn’t right to treat my body this way. I was made to love myself, I was made beautiful, and no number or social taboo should ever define the way I treat myself.
This also goes along with exploring my femininity. I’ve often not known how to be feminine. I always thought that being a girly girl was a sign of weakness or sappy. Now, I am learning to explore the art of true femininity, which doesn’t necessarily mean pink nailpolish and loads of makeup. It’s the art of exploring the experience instead of being focused on the results, nurturing myself and the little one inside of me instead of trying to make her stronger, and slowing down instead of focusing on productivity. I need to be confident in my own feminine body instead of feeling like a stranger in my own skin, meditate on the fact that I am fully woman and that is a brace and beautiful thing, and start falling in love with my feminine body just as it is.
Here are a few things I’ve done and am doing to practice body positivity:
Last night I started a little bit of a practice. Wherever there was tension, wherever there was a criticism, I literally touched my body. I put my hand on my stomach, my back, my legs, and I felt how each part worked so hard to support me, heal me of my wounds, and be well. It was so healing, I can’t even describe it.
Maybe the only way that you’ll know is to try it for yourself. Be thankful for all your body does for you. Sure, it may not be where you want it to be, but think about it: if it isn’t where you want it to be for the next hundred years, wouldn’t you want to love it instead of beating it up? If you have an illness, recognize how hard your body works to keep you alive, how hard it’s working to make you well. Even if it seems like it isn’t working at all, just know that it is trying its best, and that means everything in the world. Thank yourself for trying so hard to be well, and rest in the love and acceptance you have for yourself.
Body Art (especially Uterus Art)
I know this sounds soooo weird, but it’s actually really beautiful. I feel like this type of art really helps me to embody the fact that I am a woman and that that is such a beautiful, wonderful, mystical, magical thing. Whether it’s a painting of flowers in someone’s hair, or a picture of henna on someone’s hands, it just marks me. It’s almost like marking my body, like a tattoo, branding it as a masterpiece. Whatever makes you feel beautiful, whatever you feel is like a marking, put it on your skin, put it on your mirror. Let it serve as a reminder of your true identity.
Bless Your Body
A lot of us have practiced the art of criticism when it comes to our bodies, but what would change if we started to practice blessing our bodies instead of cursing them? I want you to think about one area in your body that you have been cursing. Maybe it’s your arms, your stomach, or your legs. Now think about all that they’ve done for you, how thankful you are that they work so hard to make and keep you well. What is one negative thing that you’ve said to that part of your body?
Now I want you to ask yourself, is that really true? Is that what I think or is that what society thinks, is that what another person has said or what I’ve thought that they were thinking? Is this something that I want to say to myself, is this something that is pulling me down instead of building me up, how has this negatively manifested in my life? This is where we get to the slightly odd part. I want you to apologize to that part of your body. Look in the mirror and apologize.
I know this may sound odd, but if you really think about it, it’s not. You’re already speaking to your body through negative comments or thoughts, so how far off is it really to apologize for that? It’s not, and it’s one of the ways that you can start to detox from those thought patterns that have been making you doubt yourself. Also, it is another step towards wholeness in your mind, speech, and actions. It is a fundamental step towards self-love.
*Note: I didn’t learn this on my own, you can click here to learn more about the wonderful soul who taught me this, as well as some other tips on self-love.
Imagine The Beauty In Your Body
There’s something very powerful in imagination. It’s the one thing that, though not reality, the brain interprets as reality. That’s both terrifying and thrilling. We’re going to focus on the thrilling side of things. I like to imagine light filling my body; flowers are another one of my favorites. Often the body art that I’ve encountered on Pinterest inspires me to imagine beauty in my body. It reminds me that I am full of beauty, and that no matter what anyone says, I can choose to love and accept my body as a work of art.
Accepting and loving yourself as you are is such an important step to living a whole, beautiful life that you enjoy. I hope these tips will help you to live a happier, more love-filled life. If you have any ideas for new posts, tips on body positivity, or would like to share your story of body positivity, please share them in the comments. I’d love to hear from you!
Thanks for reading and I hope you have a wonderful day!
So, today I’m going to show you a little bit of my winter haul. These products have helped me to stay warm and cozy during the cold months, and seeing as I’ve wanted to branch out in my blogging for a long time, I thought this would be the best place to start. Some of these I actually do not have in my closet, because I was not able to find the exact product on the internet so I had to settle for a substitute. Most of these, though, are indeed in my closet. I hope you guys enjoy and if you have any interest in the products shown just click the picture and it’ll take you right to the site.
Fleece Lined Leggings
First up are my wonderful fleece lined leggings. This particular pair I do not own, but I have many like it and they are amazing! I love these things. They keep my body warm and toasty, even if I’m just wearing a tee and a coat, there’s something about keeping your legs warm that just keeps your whole body warm. I first found out about these two winters ago, and they are a lifesaver! If you live in a cold climate or if you just can’t bear to wear sweatpants, these are the leggings you’ll want (plus they go nicely with a pair of winter boots!). You can find these just about anywhere, but malls are a great place to start because there is a lot of variety.
I had never considered wearing sweaters until this year, actually. I live in a fairly neutral climate, with little more than three snow days a year. I often would just throw on a heavy coat in the morning and call it a day. But this year, I really wanted to get into the season and get some warm, cozy clothes. Again, I don’t personally own these sweaters, but I do have many like them. The last one is a lot like one of the red ones I own, although I couldn’t find an exact match.
I love chunky sweaters that are loose but provide a soft feel to the touch. This season has been extra warm and I’ve often felt very relaxed and comforted in my sweaters. If you’re worried about itchiness (I was at first), don’t worry about it; there are many sweaters that provide comfort and warmth without being irritating to the skin. Kohls is a great place to start, as well as Cupshe (these are mostly petite) and Nordstrom.
In the winter time especially, I love to curl up in my bed and get nice and toasty. From first glance, I probably wouldn’t have even thought to pick these products up. Personally, I’d never thought of myself as a person that would own any Victoria’s Secret products. I don’t like the objectification of women, and I don’t like the message that they send out. I’m not saying I hate their store, but that’s the impression I’ve gotten. I have friends who shop there, but I never really liked the store myself.
Although, I do have to say, these two products are by far the best winter sleep products I’ve owned in a long time. They were given to me by a special friend and I can’t help but love them. I’ve gotten great sleep with this new mask and the blanket is as soft as silk. They really are the cosiest things I’ve gotten all year.
For Christmas, I got these two gifts of health and self care and I just love them! They are pure jewels! While I don’t have this exact Mala, I do have this Leaf fitness tracker. I’m actually wearing both right now. They’ve helped me in my journey towards wellness, which can be difficult to pursue in the winter months when all I really want to do is crawl under the covers for a nice nap!
The Leaf by Bellabeat is a women’s health tracker that tracks your activity, period, meditation, stress, and sleep. It reminds me to take care of the essentials and focus on the things I really need. This rose quartz mala that I got from Etsy reminds me of my femininity and to explore myself, to find out who I truly am at my core. I’ve meditated with it, and it has helped me to remember to be intentional about exploring my femininity.
All in all, my winter has been great! I’m looking forward to summer ootd’s as well, and I can’t wait to share more lifestyle blogs with you. Do you have any winter favorites? I’d love to hear about them in the comments! Have a great rest of your day and I can’t wait to see you next time!
I’ve never been one to make resolutions. It’s just not my thing. But I do want to do some things differently in 2017. 2016 was such a good year, and I’m so full of joy at how long I’ve come in the past few months. I’ve gotten connected to myself and Christ like never before. I’ve found love and happiness and healing, and there’s only more to come. I hope that you’ve had a great year too, and that 2017 will bring more joy than you know.
Make Connection A Priority
If there’s anything I’ve learned this year, it’s how to connect deeply to myself and to Christ. Now that I’ve learned how to do this, I’ve been opened up to the wounds I have tried to hide, the pain I’ve tried so hard to escape, and the past I’ve been trying to escape. I’m caught in between wanting to run as far away from this awareness as possible, and trying to maintain this comfortable space of growing and being. Some days I run away, and others I stay. It is a hard space to live in, but I’m getting better, and staying is becoming much easier with Jesus around. Meditation has become both a refuge and a hard space of being. But I choose to hold out, and I know it will get better, because it already has. I have to keep going; if I don’t I’ll be toast.
Everyday, there is a choice I have to make. I can let my thoughts go downhill into a mess of catastrophes, or I can consciously connect and choose peace. It is not a space of force or pretending. It’s a space of honesty, a space of continuous practice and ritual. It’s the space where my capacity grows to experience joy and peace and love, where my past pain is healed and new, whole skin emerges. A place where I admit I am still so afraid of being close to Christ, so afraid of being known in my innermost being, yet I do long to be known. And he comforts me, he holds me in this place of emotions colliding, paralyzing fear and the glimmer of hope.
Practicing peace to me isn’t about me being perfect and having no fear. It is about me having the courage to be honest about my process, and in turn connecting to love in it. Some ways I do this and will continue to do this are:
Use My Imagination
I’m slowly waking up to the breadth of my imagination. I’ve had imagination in my life ever since I was little, and it has been both the sweetest gift as well as the worst curse. I knew I could use it for stories, fearful images of both the past and the future, and as a way to communicate and understand. But I didn’t know how to connect with God in it, though I’d pictured him in my mind many times. I was used to talking to an image of him in my mind, and I’d already gotten to know him through that. But I didn’t know he and I could connect in a safe place, or that I could picture him healing my heart. I didn’t know that he could sing to me and I could experience his presence in my heart as if he was right here with me, beside my bed as I fall into deep sleep.
It’s been great getting to know what my imagination can do again, and I hope to write a post on it soon so that you too can experience that. I’ll keep practicing for the both of us in the meantime.
Capture The Beauty Around Me
Has anyone noticed the newest tab up on the site? It’s a link to my etsy shop, something I started this year called Glorious Offerings. Glorious Offerings is a shop about capturing the simple beauty of life. I take photographs of nature and post them on there. I have some new Wintersession photos coming out soon, so be sure to keep an eye out.
Care For Myself Well
As you already know, I am deep into self-care and these past six months have been great because of it. I take longer showers, I use a sleep mask, I spray lavender on my pillow, I keep myself hydrated, I meditate, I curl up in a nice blanket with a cup of tea; the list is endless. I LOVE self-care, so it’s no surprise that I’ll be looking out for new ways to care for myself well in 2017. If you want more tips for how to care for yourself, you can read one of my posts on self-care and self love here.
Spend More Time Doing The Things I Love
I’ve been really busy these past few months, and I realized a lot of the things I love to do have been pushed to the side. You’ve probably noticed that I haven’t had a chance to blog as much. I haven’t quite known how to reach a balance in my work and life, so I’m going to investigate that more. It may take me a while, but I am determined to find a balance between my work and my life. In 2017, as well as practicing self-care, I really want to start doing more of what I love in addition to all the work I have to do.
Embrace My Femininity
This is so important to me. I want to embrace myself more in 2017, because honestly, I have not been that nice to myself this year. I am now aware of that thanks to meditation, and I am also aware that I’ve been rejecting myself a lot, especially in terms of femininity. Over the course of my life, I’ve tried to be so strong and emotionless, and it just isn’t natural. I was taught to be hard, and I don’t want to live like that anymore. I want to run and embrace myself again. I want to love myself unconditionally.
So I want to embrace my femininity, embrace softness, embrace how I was made in 2017. I’ve started a Pinterest Board for anyone who is interested. If you are ahead in this path, I would oh so love to connect with you. I cannot do this on my own, and I am in desperate need of resources. I don’t even know where to start…so anyone with anything to say about this topic, please feel free to leave a word in the comments.
Everything in my life feels like a rush. Do this, now do that, ooh now this, you need to do this, wait no this…..it is too much for me. I need to SLOW DOWN. I need to stop, I need to heal, I need time to recuperate. I feel like a chicken with its head cut off running around endlessly. It is not alright, and I need to slow down. I need to focus on the present moment more. I need to connect to my breath and take a little break. I’m hoping to do that in 2017, along with finding balance, although I admit that slowing down may not happen until the summer season. We’ll see.
I’ll let you guys in on a little secret. I am thinking about taking up vlogging. I’m still not sure about it, but something inside me keeps wanting to document my time here, to film beauty right in front of me, to keep a visual diary of sorts. I’ve spent the last few months watching vloggers (CatCreature, Katelyn Nix, New Age Creators) as they share their lives on the internet, and I can’t help but be drawn to it. None of this is official, and I’m not even sure it will happen in 2017, but I may explore it. So it is in the works, in a sense, even if that means this year is just devoted to dreaming.
Become a Yogi
I got back into yoga over the summer, and I have to say, it is one of the most healing and beautiful things in my life right now. It’s where I can meet with Jesus, it’s where I can experience tangible peace and joy, and it’s where I’ve learned to connect deeply with my body. I don’t want to become a professional yogi or anything. But I do want to have a devoted, beautiful, daily practice. In the New Year I want to practice yoga daily, which has proven to be a challenge for me this year, but maybe 2017 is the year it will finally happen. Regardless, I will continue to practice and delight in this simple ritual.
Along with the act of slowing down, I also want to savor. I said this last year and as I am sinking deep into it, I am realizing that savoring relates to many more things in life than I thought it did. Food is one I would love to explore. It is the act of mindfully eating, basically being present and really choosing to experience the act of eating my food. Not only do I want to experience wholeness through the healthy foods I eat, but also the act of eating them. So I want to dive deep into savoring in 2017, being present with all of the gifts my Creator’s given to me.
As you saw on Instagram, I got a new book. It isn’t exactly a Christian book, and that’s why I got it. It has writing in it that is from the Muslim, Christian, and Hindu beliefs. I want to start learning about other religions and seeing them for what they really are: people looking for God. The people who started these religions were just looking for God, they probably had never even heard of Christianity, and I believe that they got an answer. I believe that there are some Kingdom Truths in there.
I’m not saying that I agree with everything said in this book or everything that they believe, but I do want to learn about them, about their culture, and I want to respect their faith journey even when it looks different than mine. I want to learn to find beauty in what they believe, even when I don’t agree. So I want to be more open in 2017 to people who don’t believe what I do. I want to start to get to know them, and I want to be able to walk up to them and love them and find beauty in their journey. I don’t want to feel separated or act like I am separated from them just because they have different beliefs than mine.
In the past, I have felt caught in the middle of things when I’ve met someone of a different faith. I didn’t know what to think of them, though I wanted desperately to love them and cherish them like anyone else in my life. It felt like they were almost another species, like I had to change them to be someone they were not, and I knew that that was not the answer. The Church doesn’t seem to be very good at communicating to people of different faiths, or so it feels like. But I want to learn to communicate and accept them for who they really are, not who I want to change them to be. So in 2017 I choose to put love above any prejudice or prejudgement I may have towards a person of a different faith. I choose to live and love differently.
Get Down to the Roots of Who I Am
Another thing I want to do in 2017 is find myself. I am slowly waking up to all of my interests again as I’ve been doing some heart work. I’ve fallen in love with music, art, design, and so much more. I’ve realized how much I want to communicate, that my heart is good, and that once my wounds heal I become freer to be who I deeply am inside. I want to really chip away at the marble and discover who I truly am, because I’ve been hiding for so long trying to protect my wounds that I really lost myself. I want to heal, but more than that I want to become who God made me to be, and that starts with journeying towards my center.
Be More of a Lifestyle Blogger
This is the really exciting part for you guys. I want to branch out! I have been wanting to talk about so many things besides God for the past two months or so, and though I do want to talk about him in this blog, I also have so many things to tell you guys that just don’t fit into that topic. So I’ve decided to branch out. I don’t know what this year will bring in terms of writing, but I do know that I will be focusing on topics that have to do with lifestyle. If you have any recommendations or ideas, feel free to leave them in the comments.
I’ve spent the whole of my life in my head. I can wander off into who knows where in my brain without even realizing it. I think this is a beautiful thing, although it can be hazardous when someone is trying to tell me something and I am off somewhere else. This year, I want to use my headspace for more than just imagination, I also want to use it for dreaming. I want to use it for dreams that are likely to come true, unlike the many fictional stories playing out in my brain. Vlogging, blogging, and travel are a few. Travel will likely consist of daytrips or short drives because that is all I can manage right now, but it is still exciting. I’m slowly learning how to dream with Jesus, and I think this is the year that I will finally learn how to dream like he does.
Learn How to Cook
This one is actually a biggie for me. Cooking is not exactly my strong point, but it isn’t that I’m a bad cook so much as the fact that I grew up hating cooking. A lot of the cooking I was around dealt with perfection and performance, doing this the right way and pouring this cup the right way and stirring the right way. I know to cook an edible meal there have to be some rules, but the rules that were made up for me were not rules that had to be there. They were rules that dealt with the tiniest, insignificant things that ended up turning me off cooking.
I thought, “If it’s going to be about stirring with my left hand at this angle clockwise, I will go crazy. I don’t want to do this.” A lot of my life looked like that in my early childhood. But now I have the awareness to know that there are so many different ways of doing things, and that as long as it’s edible and tastes good, I am fine. And I have the choice to think differently. So I want to learn how to cook. But not in a strict way, just in a good environment where if I mess up no one cares, where I can stir however I freakin’ want, and where I can eventually learn to be at least okay at cooking. For now that will start in my own kitchen with a cookbook I have yet to purchase. If you have any ideas for this process or cookbooks you think I should pick up, please leave them in the comments.
Practice Being Present
I look around me and I see the clock ticking, the lamp ablaze in light, the plush blue toy dog on the floor, my phone sitting silent on the desk, my white headphones there as well. I hear the cars passing by, the sound of that old clock on the wall, a creaking of footsteps upstairs, the wind slicing through the night. I touch the keys in rhythm on this keyboard, rest my palm on the desk that holds it up, lay my elbows on the chair that supports me. This is me in this moment, this present moment that is now, and now, and now. Always present.
This exercise is grounding, and there are so many other practices that keep me in the present moment. The breath ministers to me, the sound of cars outside my window calms me. All of this I will miss if I am somewhere other than the present moment, and I need to experience the present moment. If I don’t, my life will escape me. The present is where God chooses to show up and commune with me, so I can’t miss that chance to be with him. In 2017, I want to meet him there.
I know this was a super long post so I’m going to keep this short. I want to come back here and remember what I’ve said this coming year and I hope that you will be inspired to create your own 17 for 2017. Tell me all about your 17 for 2017 in the comments! I hope you have a wonderful rest of your day and a wonderful New Year!