Tag Archives: self-improvement

Montana reminded me the importance of self – love

This past week I went on a yoga retreat in Montana, right outside Glacier National Park. I’m not really certain what my expectations were going into the trip, but now that the experience has came and passed, I’m sure it exceeded any possible expectations. 

Montana is quite possibly one of the most tranquil, gorgeous states I’ve ever visited. The mountains roll for miles and the color schemes surpass every possible palate imaginable.

I didn’t know anyone else going on this trip when I signed up. I was slightly nervous about that, but I make friends easily – connecting with people is something that comes very naturally to me. The people – it turned out – were all so incredible. We bonded through laughter, sweat, tears, chill bumps, and our love of yoga. 

On the trip, we packed a lot into a quick week. We biked, hiked, cold plunged, enjoyed a homemade sauna, ate delicious, nutritious food, while soaking up the refreshing Montana air. The whole experience truly feels like a fairy tale dream. 

I got to really unplug, soak up nature, and get into my body and outta my head – which is a reality I consistently strive for. Certain experiences have the power to ground me in ways I didn’t realize I needed. 

I journaled a lot – I bought a new journal on the first day of my trip and almost filled it completely up. Journaling is a meditative and grounding experience that I keep coming back to. Filling page after page with my thoughts and ideas has always soothed me. 

Some of my main take aways from my trip are:

The world is abundant. Life is about meeting new faces and seeing new places. I want to always step out of my comfort zone to experience new things. I am never, ever stuck. No matter if it feels like that some days. I have the power to explore and roam and soak up the beauty this earth has to offer. 

Self love is the most precious gift I have to offer. It allows my light to shine bright and positively impact those around me. Even when I don’t like everything about myself and my thoughts veer towards deprecating, I have the desire to fully and unconditionally love and accept myself exactly how I am. That thought process – I believe – is rare and something I hope to always come back to. 

I don’t have to always “go with the flow”. I am the author of my story; I am the creator of my reality. At any given moment, I have the power to pivot and start a new chapter. At any given moment, I have the power to shift the direction of my life.

Being outside is vital for my health. I need space, air, and room to explore and grow. Since living in a metropolitan city, this has taken a backseat. I’ve always known it was necessary for me to be outdoors, but this week really confirmed just how important it is to soak up fresh air and be submerged in nature. 

I feel very appreciative of all the growth I’ve endured in the past year since moving alone during a pandemic. It’s been a bumpy road, but I’m content with this path I’m on. I truly love who I am becoming and I know that each chapter is important and worthy of being present for. 

Manifestations are real! Manifesting is the first step to achieving my goals and accomplishing my dreams. I will, I can, I am. Journaling my manifestations are going to become part of my weekly routine and I’m so excited to see how things shift in my life. 

I am strong. I am capable. I am determined.

Having role models is important. The owner of the retreat I went to easily and quickly became one of my role models. She bought this big, beautiful home in Montana and turned it into a yoga studio. She spends a couple months of the year out there and opens it up for others to come and enjoy and practice yoga at. Can you say GOALS? 

This life goes by extremely fast. It’s too damn short to not enjoy it. Too short to not seek out the things that excite me and bring me joy. This could all be ripped away in an instant. Don’t take anything fore- granted.  

Onward, friend, always onward. 

A Scale Doesn’t Measure Your Health

Three ways to track body composition progress without ever weighing yourself

As a society, we’re obsessed with knowing what we weigh, but really what does that number even mean?

Usually, the only time I step on a scale is when I’m at the doctor’s office. I begrudgingly hop on, usually holding my phone, wallet, keys, and sometimes all three as the number pops up on the screen and the nurse jots it down.

Sure, it’s “necessary” for them to keep a chart of my BMI, but I do not believe the number on that scale adds or subtracts any value to how healthy I am as a person.

Our weight fluctuates so much depending on when/how much we have eaten, when we last defecated, and how hydrated we are. The only time our weight is truly “accurate” is when we first wake up in the morning, before we eat or drink anything or even use the bathroom. And still those numbers don’t define our health. The real question we should be asking is how do we feel?

Better ways, I’ve personally found, when tracking progress is to take mirror pictures of your body. Hit all the angles – front, back, sides – just snap a few pictures and then don’t look at them for a designated amount of time. And when that time frame is up, take new pictures of the exact same angles and place the pictures side by side. What looks different? What changes do you notice? How do you feel?

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Another good way to assess progress is by noticing how your clothes fit. Maybe they used to be skin tight in certain areas, but now you’re noticing you have room to breathe in them. Or maybe they used to be a perfect fit and now you’re noticing some baggy areas. I’ve found this is a true and accurate way to measure progress. Plus, it gives you an excuse to get new clothing that fits your body as it transforms.

Photo by Ksenia Chernaya on Pexels.com

Another more dedicated way to measure progress is by keeping a journal. This can be as detailed as you’d like. Some good things to track in your journal daily are: what you ate / how much you ate, how much water you’ve consumed, what vitamins or supplements you’ve consumed, the quality and quantity of your sleep, what you did for exercise, and most importantly – how you’re feeling.

Be completely honest with yourself, this is your journey and your experiences.

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These are accurate, non judgmental ways to assess your progress that don’t involve the anxiety of jumping on a scale and seeing a number.

Work in Progress

I’ve been trying to be content where I am, to sit with what comes along, to accept things as they are and to take things as they come, all while letting go of things when I feel they’re ready to be released. I’ve been thinking a lot about Divine Timing and really trying to surrender myself to this concept.

Oftentimes, we get so caught up looking toward the future, toward some significant event, and we forget that this journey we’re on itself is the fun part. We forget that no matter how much we strive and strain we will always be a work in progress, constantly shifting and growing and evolving.

Onward.

Physical Wellness

This week in my long-drawn out Self-Care Series I will be focusing on my physical wellness.

Physical wellness, according to SAMHSA’s eight dimensions of wellness, is:

“Recognizing the need for physical activity, diet, sleep, and nutrition.”

Notice how it isn’t simply being in the gym every day?

My physical wellness fluctuates a lot. There are months when I will be in the gym every single day, my nutrition will be dialed in, and I’ll be passing out early at night from physical exhaustion. But then, I get burnt out, and I step back from my routine and un-prioritize going to the gym. And I’m starting to realize that it is okay! Don’t get me wrong though, I think exercise is very important. It produces endorphins, it stabilizes moods, it creates a feeling of accomplishment, and it shows us just how much our bodies are capable of when we push past mental blockers. But physical wellness is not JUST exercise.

Focusing on my physical wellness is going to look different than I imagined it would. For this aspect of my wellness, I’ve recognized the need to dial in my nutrition and sleep schedule.

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Our food is our fuel. If we constantly eat fast food and consume large amounts of sugar we will feel sluggish and tired. But if we fill our bodies with nutrient-dense food and good carbs then we’ll not only have more energy but we’ll also feel full longer.

The past couple of weeks, I’ve been ordering all my lunches from a local meal prepping company called Eat Well Nashville. If you’re in this area, I recommend giving their food a try. I order what meals I want on Thursday night and then Sunday evening they’re dropped off in a cooler on my front porch. All I have to do is stick them into the fridge until I’m ready to eat them. Then, all they need is to be warmed up for a minute and a half in the microwave. They’re convenient, healthy, and tasty.

Here are some of my meals from this company:

Keto flank with jalapeño cream is absolutely delicious! I ordered two of these for this week.
Chipotle chicken power bowl! I haven’t tried this one yet, but I’m really excited to.

Even if you don’t have access to a meal prepping company like this, there are still many other ways you can focus on your nutrition. Do some research for healthy, grab n go companies in your area, or checkout delivery services like HelloFresh or HomeChef. Or maybe you have your own healthy recipes you enjoy making. Do whatever works best for you and your lifestyle.

Photo by u0410u043bu0435u043au0441u0430u043du0434u0430u0440 u0426u0432u0435u0442u0430u043du043eu0432u0438u045b on Pexels.com

In addition to focusing on my nutrition this week, I’m also focusing on my sleep. I think our sleeping habits impact our moods and state of minds way more than we even realize. When we sleep, our bodies recover and recharge. When we routinely get enough sleep, our bodies feel rested and ready to fully function throughout the day, but when we get into the habit of neglecting a consistent, regular sleep schedule our bodies go into a flight or fight mode, having to pick and choose what it can spend energy on since we’re having to conserve a lot of it.

So this week, while focusing on my physical wellness, I’m going to make an effort to get eight hours of sleep every night, to go to bed with a glass of water instead of wine, and to minimize my screen time once I’m laying down.

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Focusing on physical wellness will likely look different for everyone, depending on what’s going on in your life. The key is to “recognize the need” by listening to what your body tells you. Self care can be difficult. Some days it can be a natural instinct to give yourself some TLC, while other days it’s like wrestling a bear to simply be kind to yourself. Healing is not linear and self care is not black and white.

Photo by Madison Inouye on Pexels.com

Enjoying my Self-Care Series? Stay tuned for my next post as I wrap up the series with Spiritual Wellness!

Here’s the previous posts in my series:

Environmental Wellness

Financial Wellness

Intellectual Wellness

Occupational Wellness

Social Wellness

Emotional Wellness

I got published!

I never thought I’d see a day where my blog would take a backseat and be my secondary writing platform. But after discovering Vocal – a site that pays per views and even easily allows tips – I have been more focused on that. It’s not like I’m abandoning my blog, but I found a way to make actual money from my writing! Okay, it isn’t much, but it’s SOMETHING – which is better than NOTHING!

I found Vocal from an Instagram ad that popped up. I figured it would be too good to be true, but I really had nothing to lose by giving it a chance. I came to my blog and started browsing through some of the things I’ve written.

I figured I’d have the best chance to get published if I submitted something that I really loved. My first submission to Vocal was my blog post Here I Am. It’s one of my favorite things I’ve ever written. It’s went through so many drafts, so many different versions, before it’s gotten to where it is now. I’ve asked several people for feedback on it and there’s even a draft where it was a poem.

I was so excited when it got accepted to be published – I think I actually screamed in excitement. Check out the final version of it: Here I Am.

Since getting that first post accepted and published, I haven’t really been able to stay off their website. I’ve been reading other creators’ stories and feeling inspired to write more!

Up until yesterday, I had only submitted things I had already published on my blog. Play it safe, right? But I recognized that the audiences were going to be a little different. Besides, as an English major, I have tons of content floating around on my computer, so I revisited some old stuff I had written. I found a story about my face being mutilated (sort of) three different times in my favorite place. It’s a story about dog bites, broken teeth, and a black eye. It’s also got a lot of scenery details about this said place, as well as characterization of some family members. Here’s the link if you’re interested: Marlow’s Lotta Fun

I hope everyone is staying safe and healthy and continuing to practice self-care while staying true to their authentic selves. Onward.

Environmental Wellness

To continue my Self-Care Series I have been focusing on my environmental wellness. I was unsure which direction I wanted to go with this aspect of my wellness until I listened to an episode of the Free Your Energy podcast that discussed how decluttering your space can easily give you feelings of peace and balance.

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In this podcast, our host Slyvester McNutt encourages listeners to start decluttering their life by organizing their phones. We spend so much time throughout the day staring at our phone screens – whether it is sending emails, communicating through text or calling, googling new things, or even browsing social media. He encouraged his listeners to get rid of unnecessary apps, voicemails, unread messages, etc. He even articulated how he turned off all “banner” notifications so nothing would pop up to distract him and pull him away from his original task.

So to focus on my environmental wellness in this series I am going to be doing some decluttering over the next few days.

Photo by Sander on Pexels.com

Starting with my phone. I’m going to organize it and delete anything on there that’s unnecessary or distracting me. Then I’m going to declutter my home. My pantry and fridge could use a good clean out.

Not to mention, I can’t emphasis enough how overdo my closet is for a Marie Kondo purge. I have stuff in there that I haven’t worn for a couple of years, but for some reason I can’t seem to easily get rid of my clothes. What if I eventually need it!?! But this weekend, I’m determined to take a big haul to a thrift store and maybe even make a couple bucks off stuff that someone else could get some use out of.

Photo by Karolina Grabowska on Pexels.com

Another way that I routinely nurture my environmental wellness is by burning sage incense throughout my home. I know this remedy is very controversial in the western world because of its origin in the Native American culture. Although I’ve never burned sage (or done anything really) with any negative intent, I still understand that my naive whiteness can come across as cultural appropriation and that’s the last thing I want.

For me personally, burning sage is a ritual I like to do when I’m feeling enveloped in negative energy. The sage feels very cleansing and healing as it burns.

Months ago, when I moved to Nashville, I felt like I needed to clear the energy in my new space, and I expressed this to my best friend. She conveniently had some sage her sister had brought back from Arizona. She gifted the sage to me and I’ve been periodically burning it since. It’s getting very low, but after doing some research about sage and how commercialized it has become, I’m hesitant to get more from just anywhere.

To continue the focus on my environmental wellness and be a better ally to POC and minorities, I’ve been doing research on the history of sage, the benefits of it, how it has been adopted into our modern world, and some thoughts from a Native American. Here are some interesting sources I found:

Benefits of Sage

Native Appropriations

Brief history of Sage

The Ethic of Burning Sage, Explained

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I hope everyone is having an enjoyable week and prioritizing self care in a way that works well for you and your lifestyle. Self care looks different to all of us, so it’s important to listen to your own body.

In my timezone, we have officially sprung our clocks forward, making the daylight stretch a little longer into the evenings. It’s been a glorious breath of fresh air to know spring is right around the corner. I’m always looking forward to warmer days.

Enjoying my Self-Care Series? Check out some previous posts:

Emotional Wellness

Social Wellness

Occupational Wellness

Intellectual Wellness

Financial Wellness

Stay tuned for next week!

Financial Wellness

It’s been a minute since I’ve worked on my Self-Care Series. I planned on writing about one dimension of wellness from SMHSA’s chart each week, but well, to be honest, I haven’t been practicing a lot of self-care lately. Since I want my blog to be a place of authenticity, I couldn’t write about something I wasn’t living out.

I’ve been caught up in my daily tasks, and I haven’t put much energy into staying grounded and checking in on myself. Earlier today, I felt overwhelmed, my to-do list was swirling around in my mind, and I knew I needed to get out of my own head to decompress. I did some deep breathing and tried to focus on my belly rising and falling. About this same time, I got an automated text. FREE YOUR ENERGY flashed across my phone. Months ago, while listening to the Mark Groves Podcast, an author named Sylvester McNutt came on and spread his message of love, healing, authenticity, and freeing your energy. I subscribed to his automated text message service after hearing him speak.

I clicked on the text from Sylvester and saw a link to his most recent podcast episode: “Ignite Your Self-defeating Thoughts” Yeah, I thought, I could use some of that right about now.

The podcast not only pulled me out of the negative thought pattern, but also shifted my mindset, therefore, my reality.

I knew it was time to prioritize self-care again.

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With all that being said, I have decided to focus on my financial wellness to dive back into this series.

One of my financial goals was to get a credit card and begin building my credit. Not only did I get a credit card a month ago, but I’ve been very frugal with it and very adamant about paying off the balance each time I get a paycheck.

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Another way I’ve prioritized my financial – wellness is by writing down my monthly bills and making sure I correctly budget for them and pay them on time.

Photo by Karolina Grabowska on Pexels.com

In addition to staying on top of my spending, my dad is going to help me set up a Roth IRA to begin investing in my retirement. He insists this is one of the best ways to earn interest on my savings. He’s yet to lead me astray, so I believe this will be great for my long-term financial wellness.

Photo by Rachel Claire on Pexels.com

Taking care of yourself can be challenging; practicing self-care can quickly get un-prioritized. It’s important to take a step back sometimes and just take some deep breaths. I’m thankful I started this series weeks ago, and I’m thankful I hold myself accountable.

Check out some of the other aspects of my wellness I’ve focused on already:

Emotional Wellness Occupational Wellness

Social Wellness Intellectual Wellness

Check on your friends, check on your family, check on yourself, and stay tuned for my next post on another dimension of my wellness.

Hemp Oil for the WIN!

I’ve wanted to review products on my blog for a while, to share some of the things I enjoy using and that have benefited me. I’ve decided to start by reviewing some of my favorite products that contain hemp oil.

Let’s get one thing straight. Hemp oil is not marijuana. Yes, hemp oil is found in marijuana but hemp oil itself is not marijuana. Hemp oil contains amounts of omega-6 and omega-3 fats – unsaturated fats that our bodies use to build proteins. Hemp oil also reduces stress and inflammation. It’s in a lot of everyday products nowadays.

I don’t actively seek out products that contain hemp oil, but I realized that some of my favorite, everyday essentials contain hemp oil.

Here’s links to some daily products I love that contain hemp oil:

Calming Hemp Cat Treats

I discovered these magical treats when I had to take my cat to the vet for a nasty cut on her stomach. She hates the vet – I think mostly because of other animals’ smells, but she had to be looked at. So I was browsing PetSmart, looking for something that would calm her down long enough for a vet to examine her sliced belly when I found these.

The vet trip went AMAZING! She let the vet examine her cut, no hissing, no scratching, no biting. I think she even purred when the vet picked her up and shaved some fur to examine the cut. I was shocked. My high-energy, sassy cat was completely chill.

Now these “treats” are part of our daily routine. I cut them up and mix them with tuna to get her to eat them, but she always eats them. I give them to her when she wants to go outside but can’t due to bad weather or it being nighttime. I give them to her when I have company over and I know she will feel anxious or overwhelmed. They’ve really helped calm her down and I will forever include these hemp seed bites in her diet.

Milk Makeup Mascara

My best friend got me hooked on this mascara almost two years ago. I will never use another mascara again. Sure, it’s a little more expensive than your typical drug store brand. But this mascara is well worth it. The hemp oil in it conditions my lashes and never makes them feel stiff and caked. If (when) I fall asleep with this mascara still on, it doesn’t leave huge black circles under my eyes that are impossible to wipe clean. Sure there are some black marks from it, but it’s really easy to wipe off.

Not to mention, my eyelashes have gotten longer and fuller since using this mascara. I frequently get compliments on my eyelashes and have been asked a couple of times if they’re real. I can’t recommend this product enough.

Face Primer – No more Red

I found this product browsing at Ulta one day. I needed a new primer and thought this would be a good one. I like it because not only does it have hemp oil in it to reduce puffiness on my face, but it is also green which combats redness. Sometimes after washing my face and immediately putting lotion it, my faces get red. This primer is amazing and very reasonably priced!

*This post uses Amazon associates links. I will make a percentage of the sale from all products purchased via these links*

Intellectual Wellness

This week looks different than I imagined. It’s day two of being snowed in my house. The temperature hasn’t gotten above freezing and the roads are solid sheets of ice. I don’t trust my little car to make it to work or the grocery store – even though I need to do both.

Thankfully, I’ve been able to work from the safety of my home and I’m digging deep into my pantry and eating random groceries I’ve had for a while. It’s supposed to warm up tomorrow and I will be able to get back to my routine. Fingers crossed.

This week in my Self-Care Series I’m focusing on intellectual wellness from Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administrations (SAMHSA’s) eight dimensions of wellness.

SAMHSA defines intellectual wellness as: “Recognizing creative abilities and finding ways to expand knowledge and skills”

Since I’m currently snowed, I figured this would be a good time to explore this dimension of my wellness.

Photo by Maria Orlova on Pexels.com

I started reading a new book called “The Arrivals”. It’s a spiritual fiction book about a group of people that die in a plane crash and find themselves in the afterlife. As most other curious humans, the afterlife intrigues me. What is going to happen?!? Of course, I’m in no rush to find out, but I do like reading other people’s ideas and speculations.

The book itself is fairly easy to read and I imagine I’ll have it finished as my snow days wrap up.

Another way I am focusing on my intellectual wellness is starting a LinkedIn profile. I’m content with my current job, but I think it is a good idea to start networking and see what all is out there. Making a LinkedIn has been on my to-do list for a while, but I keep pushing it off for whatever reason. No time like the present – I suppose.

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While focusing on my intellectual wellness, I have been doing a lot of research on blogging. I stumbled upon https://artofblogging.net/ and found a lot of the tips really helpful. I even listened to a couple episodes of the podcast and found myself jotting down some main points in my Notes app.

This got me thinking about ways to grow and expand my blog and I decided to sign up for the Amazon Associates program. I heard about this program from a friend a couple of weeks ago, but I was hesitant because I don’t particularly love Amazon. Sure, it’s convenient and an incredible business idea, but I’ve heard firsthand that they don’t treat their employees great and well Jeff Bezos in general causes me to eye-roll. BUT I decided to give it a shot. No harm in trying. So be on the lookout for me to review some products soon.

Photo by Zaksheuskaya on Pexels.com

This post is the halfway point in my Self-Care Series. It’s been beneficial for me to explore the different dimensions of wellness. Each week, I find myself consistently thinking about the dimension I’m focusing on.

Have you guys been following along? Here’s the previous weeks:

Emotional Wellness

Social Wellness

Occupational Wellness

Stay tuned for next week when I focus on my financial wellness!

Occupational Wellness

This week in my Self-Care Series I’m focusing on my occupational wellness. Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administrations (SAMHSA’s) defines occupational wellness as “personal satisfaction and enrichment derived from one’s work”

This is a rather slow season at my job. Not a ton of people are traveling to Nashville during these cold, tail-end pandemic months. That means I have to be proactive now in preparation for our busy season that will begin with warmer weather.

Interested in traveling to Nashville? Check out my company’s rental properties HERE: https://luxurynash.rentals/

They’re truly some of the most beautiful homes I’ve ever seen. I might be a little biased, but I believe we offer some of the best properties in this fascinating city.

Photo by Kelly Lacy on Pexels.com

As a society, we have tied productivity with success and I have bought into this. Of course, I feel better when I’m taking care of my responsibilities, but it can be easy to get overwhelmed. Balance is key. One of my favorite things about my company is that we believe in working hard and playing hard. Get everything done then rest and recuperate.

So this week, to focus on my occupational wellness, I am making a monthly to-do list for everything that needs to be done before the busy month of March sneaks up. I always make daily and weekly to-do lists because it helps me feel less overwhelmed. I’m one of those people that check my planner religiously. I’ve found if I write down all my tasks they become less daunting. As I complete tasks, I cross them out and it helps me feel so productive. Once my list is complete and all crossed out, I know I have earned my down time.

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Since I am trying to grow my blog and gain followers and viewers, I have been researching blogging tips. Some are helpful and encouraging while others make it seem nearly impossible to run a blog full-time while still having a life. The internet can be overwhelming, so it’s important to take everything here with a grain of salt. What works for someone might not work for me and vise versa.

I don’t have any unrealistic expectations for my blog. I doubt I will be able to support myself off of it anytime soon, but blogging is something I throughly enjoy. I’ve always loved writing. Even in middle school, I can remember filling notebook after notebook with silly stories and random thoughts. Writing is my outlet. When I can’t articulate myself, I go to the page to get the words out.

So for now, I will leave blogging as a hobby that brings me joy and comfort.

Photo by Rachel Claire on Pexels.com

Another way I plan to focus on my occupational wellness during this time is writing a list of my goals – for my career and my personal life. It’s so easy to get caught up in the day to day monotony and lose sight of everything we want to accomplish. Revisiting my goals is a great first step to making sure that I eventually accomplish them.

Thanks for reading another week in my Self-Care Series.

Interested in the previous weeks? Here’s some links! : Emotional Wellness: Week One & Social Wellness: Week Two.

Stay tuned for next week when I focus on my Intellectual Wellness!