Category Archives: Brainpower

Would you try this problem solving hack?

A few days ago, I was listening to Gretchen Rubin’s podcast. Gretchen and her sister/co-host Liz Craft talked about a listener’s suggestion to try the rubber duck debugging method. The listener had written in explaining that this was a trick used by software engineers when they needed to debug code. They simply explain the problem to the rubber duck, and in the process of talking through it, line-by-line, they are able to debug the code.

The suggestion was that this is a hack us non-software engineers could borrow. That by talking through a problem, you might just arrive at a solution. And because there isn’t always someone around to listen as you babble about why something you’ve tried five times now STILL isn’t working (…or maybe there IS someone around but you don’t want to bother them), it’s nice to have a little companion at the ready who is always willing to hear you out.

And whatever frustrating situation you’re navigating, naming a problem is often the first step to solving a problem.

While I’m the furthest thing from a software engineer, the rubber duck debugging method made a lot of sense to me! So I set about searching the house for my own little companion…

Tiny Mark Twain seemed like the perfect choice!

What do you think of the rubber duck debugging method? Would you try it? Do you have a little friend on hand to talk your problems through? I’m starting to think it is a WFH must!

P.S. Here’s another post with something I learned thanks to Gretchen Rubin!

Approved Methods For Getting More Veggies Into Your Stomach

We all know that we should be consuming vast quantities of veggies every day. But actually finding the time to prepare and eat them is always a challenge. Sometimes, we just want to keep things simple. 

It turns out, though, that actually getting the veggies that you need is easier than you think. Most of the time, it’s just a matter of adding them to food you’re already cooking. It doesn’t have to be hard. 

Add Them To Your Omelet

If you’re an omelet fan, you’ll know that adding extra ingredients here and there can really help take it up a notch. Plain is okay, but adding ham and cheese makes it even more delicious.

If you are a big omelet eater, you might consider adding extra veggies to improve the nutrition even further. Common additions include bell peppers, tomatoes, mushrooms, bok choy, scallions and onions. 

Add Veggies To Your Casseroles

You can also do something similar with your casseroles. Adding veggies can often make them taste even better than usual, especially if you cook in season. Try adding mushrooms, broccoli, celery, carrots, and other seasonal favorites. 

Blend Them Into A Smoothie

Vegetable smoothies don’t sound particularly appetizing until you try them. However, if you follow a decent recipe, they can turn out pretty good. For best results, follow all the advice given in the recipe, such as using plant milks and ice where required. 

Add Veggies To Your Sauces

Another place you can sneak veggies into your diet is through sauces. For instance, if you’re making marinara sauce, you don’t have to stick with plain tomato. Instead, you can add finely chopped carrots, bell peppers, onions and even leafy greens. Overall, these additions won’t change the character of the marinara sauce much, but they will improve the nutrition of the dish. 

Get Juicing

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Today, millions of people around the world swear by the virtues of juicing. Here, the idea is to extract the liquid element of veggies with a cold press juicer and consume it like a regular beverage. Except, unlike other beverages, you’re getting a whole bunch of beneficial nutrients at the same time. 

Make Your Pizza Crust Out Of Cauliflower

A decade ago, nobody had heard of the idea of making pizza crusts out of cauliflower. But today, thanks to some high-profile recipe books by famous TV chefs, it’s almost becoming mainstream. It works because when you combine cauliflower with almond meal and sometimes eggs, you wind up with something that tastes very similar to a regular crust. But it’s much lower in carbs and far higher in antioxidants than plain old white pizza flour. 

Use Veggies For Your Kebabs

Regular doner kebabs are a national favorite. But nothing is stopping you from swapping it out for regular veggies. You could cook veggies over a grill on a skewer to give them that nice flame taste. The best for this purpose are mushrooms, tomatoes, zucchini, onions and bell peppers. 

Make A Batch Of Veggie Burgers

The great thing about veggie burgers is that once you know the basic recipe, you can add pretty much whatever veggies you need to use up in your refrigerator. 

Veggie burgers are essentially just beans mixed with oats and a source of fat for the base in a processor. Then it’s pretty much up to you how you want to flavor them. Most people use black beans for veggie burgers because they look so similar to regular beef patties. But you can use any kind of beans that you like. Some recipes don’t even require beans at all, offering tremendous flexibility. 

Make Your Guacamole More Veggie

You can make regular guac by mashing an avocado and then adding some salt and lime juice. But if you want to take the nutrition up a notch, try adding a little red onion, garlic, and chopped tomatoes. 

Add Veggies To Your Sandwiches

Instead of ham and cheese, you can make much more delicious sandwiches with the help of veggies. One of the best are hummus sandwiches. Plus, they’re easy to make. Follow a hummus recipe, and then add little extras, like salad leaves, tomatoes, olives and parsley. If you’re feeling adventurous, you can also create a little sweetness by topping the hummus off with caramelized onions. 

Use Lettuce Wraps

You don’t have to stick with regular bread for that matter. If you want a light dinner, it’s sometimes nice to just eat your food in lettuce wraps (instead of heavy tortillas or pita bread). Just create the mix, put it in a wrap, and you’re done!

How do you sneak extra veggies into YOUR diet? Leave a comment below.

Great YouTube Channel for Touring Tiny Homes (creative spaces FTW!)

When I share about great YouTube channels here on the blog, it’s usually something I’ve discovered fairly recently. Today I want to share about an old favorite. Kirsten Dirksen has been posting videos about simple living, self-sufficiency, small homes, backyard gardens, alternative transport, DIY, craftsmanship, and philosophies of life on her YouTube channel for over a decade. I’m pretty sure my discovery of her videos pre-dates this blog!

Dirksen’s videos are always calming, fascinating, and beautifully produced. She showcases what ordinary life is like in these extraordinary abodes and asks the inhabitants really insightful questions. Admittedly, I’m a big fan of any content about tiny homes or that offer home tours. But none that I’ve come across really dig into the philosophy behind the living spaces quite like this one.

Here are some great tours, if you’re down to watch —

And this tour of a 90-square-foot apartment in Manhattan was my introduction to this channel. A decade old and honestly…it holds up! 😉

What YouTube channels did you discover years ago and still love? Tell me in the comments below!

P.S. Other posts in my Great YouTube Channels For… series include Practicing Spanish, Travel Inspo, and Lifelong Ballerinas. Check ’em out!

5 Ideas To Improve Your Health In 2021

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As we make our way into 2021 it’s a great time to set some health goals that help us work towards a healthier lifestyle. It’s not always easy to put your health first, what with the distractions and stresses that come with modern life. But to give you some inspiration, consider these five ideas to achieve a healthier lifestyle.

1 . Spend more time outdoors

Looking for a really simple way to improve your health this year? Spend more time outside! The great outdoors can help us to reconnect with nature, raise endorphin levels, relax and destress, plus get more exercise. There are lots of ways to connect with nature, whether you try hiking, freshwater swimming, or foraging workshops.

2. Try a sleep app

Many of us have trouble sleeping, and over time this can start to have a negative impact on health. If you’re looking to improve your sleep this year, why not check out a sleep app, like one of these:

  • Calm: This application provides a range of sleep stories and sleep meditations, to help you drift off, and improve your quality of sleep. You’ll also find background ambiance tracks and mindfulness exercises.
  • Headspace: The Headspace app offers sleep audio guides and meditations to help you deal with stress and anxiety. The app also includes some great content to help users learn about mindfulness.

3. Take herbal supplements

To give your health a boost this year why not try adding a few herbal supplements to your diet? To reduce stress symptoms and improve sleep there are plenty of options like passionflower, chamomile, Ashwagandha, or CBD. To learn more about CBD products, from tinctures to vapes, take a look at bloomfarmscbd.com.

4. Learn new recipes

What better way to boost your health this year than by teaching yourself some brand new recipes. Focus on nutritious foods that prevent oxidative stress, boost your mood, and raise your immune system. Treat yourself to a few new cook books and apps, and experiment with some new dishes. For a few healthy eating apps to get you started try Green Kitchen, Superfoods, or Epicurious.

5. Take up Yoga

Yoga is a fantastic exercise activity that can help to improve your health in many different ways. With a regular yoga practice, you can improve your posture, increase your flexibility, and build up the strength in your muscles. Yoga is also a great activity to improve your mental health; it can help you to relax and practice mindfulness. Yoga can be practiced in many ways, whether it’s in the studio, using an online class, or YouTube video. Whatever way you practice, it’s important to get yourself a good quality yoga mat.


When setting health goals it can help to write them down, and track your progress. Whether you’re looking to lose weight, de-stress, or start a new sport, there are plenty of ways to supercharge your health this year.

Forget Netflix & Chill, It’s Time For Netflix & Inspire

The pandemic has introduced new ways of approaching your spare time and thinking about your health. As a result, you’ve probably been looking at ways of making self-isolation productive! If we’re brutally honest, Netflix and Chill has become a new way of life in many households. What’s not to like about it? You can sit back on the sofa all in the name of staying safe and healthy. 

But have you ever considered that Netflix could be a surprisingly effective source of inspiration? Don’t assume that your time spent watching TV has to be synonymous with laziness. In fact, you’d be pleased to discover that a lot of watchers are turning to the small screen for life inspiration, guidance, and a creative boost. Here are some shows to consider —

Lose yourself into the tidy world of Marie Kondo

Being at home for such an extended period, surrounded by all your stuff, can feel mentally exhausting. Clutter weighs on your mind, and it affects your mood dramatically. Did you know that sitting in a cluttered room can make you feel angry and sad? While if you were to sit in the same room in a decluttered environment, you are less likely to experience negative feelings. Nobody better than Marie Kondo can explain the joys of decluttering. If you are unsure how to start decluttering your home, watching Tidying Up with Marie Kondo can provide plenty of positivity. Kondo’s approach sparks joy in the household, which is all the motivation you need to get started. 

Discover the relatable Venus of Daegu 

Oh My Venus is a romantic tv show from South Korea that follows the journey of a young woman from Daegu, aka our Venus of Daegu, through her weight loss challenge. The show reflects on health rather than weight loss when it comes to beauty. More importantly, it also highlights the need for self-healing, both mentally and physically through exercise and mindfulness. If you’ve fallen off the track in your fitness journey, this show could be your wake-up call as you meet Venus’s coach, the inspirational character who makes health a priority in her life. Perhaps if you already have a healthy approach to fitness, the show can help you understand how some people can develop unhealthy and harmful habits. And for any fitness enthusiasts, it could even be the show that makes you want to become a health coach yourself. After all, as Oh My Venus reveals, watching your clients get strong and fit is the best reward.  

Bake your own creation

It came as a shock to fans when Netflix didn’t renew The Curious Creations of Christine McConnell. Yet, that doesn’t mean you can’t dive into McConnell’s world of quirky creatures and mind-blowing creative baking. McConnell is a talented Instagram influencer who uses her creative skills in thematic baking and styling. There’s something oddly inspiring about her Halloween treats, from a realistic chocolate and peanut butter bone to the mesmerizing house-shaped cake. But, what’s more exciting about this marvelous little show is that it awakens your inner child. Sure, it’s too late for Halloween bakes, but you could certainly apply McConnell’s tips to make a Christmas village cake, too! 

In short, it’s hard to understand why the phrase Netflix and Chill has become so popular when, in reality, it should be Netflix and Inspire. There’s so much to discover that you’ll be buzzing with new ideas after a few hours! 

Selecting Mantras to Guide Key Areas of Your Life

I love mantras… And over the years, I’ve shared some fun ways for you to adopt your own. I’ve asked folks to share their favorites, created a 30-day challenge (with accompanying actions), and even pulled a few from a much-loved novel.

Sometimes I use mantras as motivation to keep going when I want to quit, other times they help me celebrate what I’ve already accomplished. It’s comforting, no matter what you use them for, to have a few words that you can pull out of your back pocket at a moment’s notice. Something concrete to focus your thoughts on when the abstract is causing your mind to spin and spiral.

Recently, I tried out a new way of identifying mantras for key areas of my life. I found the process to be a lot of fun and the mantras I came away with have become like little beacons of guiding light in these ever-stressful times.

Want to learn how I did it?

Step 1:

Make a list of 5-10 of your core motivations. These are the key areas of your life that are important to you. Think: Your career, partner, family, hobbies, earning more money, paying off debt, or traveling the world. 

Step 2: 

Identify your core values. 

Take a look at the list above. Write down every value from the list that resonates with you. Don’t put too much thought into it. If you think of a word not on the list that embodies one of your values, write that down too!

Step 3:

Now you’re going to create a column for each of the motivations you identified in Step 1. Then place each of the values you wrote copied down into the column that you think it best fits. For example, if you identified COMMUNITY as one of your core motivations, you might pull ACCEPTANCE, FUN, and LOYALTY from your values list and place it in this column. 

Step 4: 

Look at each column. What is the value that stands out the most to you in each of your lists? Go ahead and highlight or circle it. These will be the root words for each of your mantras. For the example above, you might highlight FUN because that is what you value most when seeking out community.  

Step 5: 

To create each of your mantras, you’ll want to add some sort of action to your root word. In other words, FUN can become —> Seek out fun people, experiences, and conversation. If you also identified having a HAPPY HOME as one of your core motivations and chose SIMPLICITY as your root word, you might write —> Make space for simplicity. These are now your Community Mantra and your Happy Home Mantra. 

Step 6: 

Find ways to display your new mantras where you’ll interact with them regularly. Here are two options I implemented after doing this exercise — 

  • Decorating an index card for each of my mantras and tucking them inside a drawer that I go in frequently. On some days I might just see the top card, but on other days I pick them up and flick through them as a way of grounding my day. 
  • Creating a Mantra Board in Asana. I use Asana as a project management tool for my work, but I created a board to “pin” my motivations. Under each motivation, I have the mantra I created, and then some inspiration pictures (like a vision board!). For instance, one of my motivations is TRAVEL (“Take the next adventure.”) so I added a picture to represent a Summer 2021 trip as well as a picture of somewhere on my bucket list. 

If you follow the steps, I’d love if you would share one of your mantras below! xoxo

P.S. How to wind down, and 15 date night ideas.

Positive Practices for Mental Health Based on Your Enneagram Type | Types 7, 8, and 9

If you’ve been following along in this series (first post HERE), I’ve been really into reading about the ENNEAGRAM lately. This has brought about a desire to use the knowledge I’ve gained about my type to help me get through all the ways this crazy world we’re living in is bringing about anxiety/stress. What I’ve found has been wildly helpful!

Again, if you’re totally new to the enneagram, I would encourage you to check out some of the great resources available online about the types and how to type yourself.  I’d also recommend checking out Beatrice Chestnut’s book The Complete Enneagram, as well as The Honest Enneagram by Sarajane Case (who also has an instagram account and a podcast).

If you too have been obsessing about all things enneagram as of late, consider identifying some of the downfalls inherent in your type and then adopting a few positive life-practices to help you combat them.

To help, I’ve listed some examples below based on my readings of each type. I’m not saying these are the ones you should go with — they’re just a jumping-off point. They might not ring true for you and where you’re at or how you show up as an individual type. They are simply meant to inspire you to find a few of your OWN practices!

Today let’s talk about TYPES SEVEN, EIGHT, & NINE —

Enneagram Type Seven:

Positive Practice #1 – As different impulses and desires pop into your head, write them in a journal.

Get in the habit of recognizing your impulses by taking the time to jot them down in a journal. Instead of acting immediately upon each of your desires, this will give you the chance to reflect and evaluate whether it is something that will truly bring you happiness. Learning which impulses are worth acting on will take time, but the fun thing about having a written record of them is that you’ll be able to notice trends. Are you more likely to crave a certain thing when you’re upset? Are you procrastinating? Finding these trends can help you sort out what’s really good for you and what’s a distraction.

Positive Practice #2 – Reserve some time each week to “single task” or to do something you enjoy without external stimulation. 

Sevens can sometimes mask their anxieties by surrounding themselves with people. If no people are available, they might pop on the television or turn the music way up. But welcoming some silence, or at least some alone time, will help a seven to trust themselves and their feelings. To make this easier, schedule something that you truly love doing so you won’t mind doing it by yourself. And if possible, leave the TV set off and the headphones at home.

Positive Practice #3 – Set long-term visions and then work backwards to turn them into a plan.

A seven may go after a goal full speed ahead without thinking about the long-term consequences. To mitigate against possible disappointments or unhappiness, sevens may need to take a different approach when it comes to goal setting. You’re very good at going after things and getting what you want — and that’s a good thing! But what you achieved may not be what you want forever. So when goal-setting, cast a vision for your future. What do you want your life to look like in five, ten, twenty years — we’re talking the whole picture here. Now work in reverse to develop the plan that will help you achieve that vision.

Enneagram Type Eight:

Positive Practice #1 – Practice letting others take the lead when in low stakes situations.

Here’s the deal — eights love taking control of a situation and exerting their power. However, if you want true loyalty and security from the people around you, it means showing them you don’t always have to be at the front of the pack. Identify areas of your life or decisions that you feel are low stakes enough that you’re happy to be a follower instead of a leader. This will be different for everyone, but will go a long way in securing trust from others.

Positive Practice #2 – Say yes to opportunities that allow you to inspire and uplift other people. 

While eights are self-reliant and independent, they feel most powerful when they’re able to energize and encourage other people. Even better if they’re able to help others through a crisis. Eights can be “yes people” so it can be helpful for you to filter through requests by asking yourself if this opportunity will allow you to motivate, encourage, and inspire. If so, go for it!

Positive Practice #3 – Find ways to include others in your successes and celebrate them. 

Again, because you’re independent and have a perception of yourself as the leader of the pack, you may not take time to recognize the people that have helped you when you achieve something great. But as we all know, it’s lonely at the top. You’ll enjoy yourself so much more in the happy times if you make a point to recognize the contributions of others and include them in celebrations. Think: going out to dinner with the whole team when you snag that big deal.

Enneagram Type Nine:

Positive Practice #1 – Get in the habit of making decisions or forming opinions on your own so you can stick to them when you’re with others. 

Nines have a tendency to go along with the group majority. They love to keep the peace and make sure everyone is getting along, so why rock the boat? However, a true relationship means showing up as yourself — even if you disagree on something. Because your instinct is to follow the crowd, take some time before you’re in said crowd to sit with yourself and form your own opinions. This way when someone asks what restaurant you want to eat at, you won’t have to respond with, “Whatever everybody else decides is fine!”

Positive Practice #2 – Send follow-ups after big group conversations to encourage yourself to stay focused. 

Because nines are in the habit of not exerting themselves socially, they can sometimes tune other people out, disengage, and start to day dream. To stay focused as an active participant, set a challenge for yourself that you have to send at least one follow-up after a group social engagement pertaining to the conversations that were had. Something as simple as “You mentioned xyz the other night so I thought you might enjoy this article on abc” is not difficult to do, but setting this goal will help you pay closer attention when in big groups.

Positive Practice #3 – Schedule regular cardio and strength sessions. 

Exercise can help you play out emotions you might be suppressing. For nines, that emotion is often anger. What better way to get out aggression in a healthy way than by strapping on sneakers to pound the pavement or lifting heavy dumbbells? Regular exercise can also help a nine with body awareness, concentration, and self-discipline.

P.S. Enneagram Types 1 – 3, right this way! Are you an Enneagram Type 4 – 6? Check out this post.

Positive Practices for Mental Health Based on Your Enneagram Type | Types 4, 5, and 6

As I mentioned in the first post in this series (HERE), I’ve been really into reading about the ENNEAGRAM lately. This has brought about a desire to use the knowledge I’ve gained about my type to help me get through all the ways this crazy world we’re living in is bringing about anxiety/stress. What I’ve found has been wildly helpful!

Again, if you’re totally new to the enneagram, I would encourage you to check out some of the great resources available online about the types and how to type yourself.  I’d also recommend checking out Beatrice Chestnut’s book The Complete Enneagram, as well as The Honest Enneagram by Sarajane Case (who also has an instagram account and a podcast).

If the enneagram is old hat to you, consider identifying some of the downfalls inherent in your type and then adopting a few positive life-practices to help you combat them.

To help, I’ve come up with a few examples based on my readings about each type. I’m not saying these are the ones you should go with — they’re just ideas. They might not ring true for you and where you’re at or how you show up as an individual type. They are simply meant to inspire you to find a few of your OWN practices based on your type!

Today let’s talk about TYPES FOUR, FIVE, & SIX —

Enneagram Type Four:

Positive Practice #1 – Set working hours and stick to them. (Sleep schedule and exercising regularly are of equal importance.)

Fours often find these two things to be true — 1) they prefer to do things when they’re “in the mood” and 2) they are actually happiest when they’re working (ie. realizing their full potential). This leads to a rather classic self-sabotage — not being “in the mood” to work but then being unhappy because of not working. You won’t find that full potential, or happiness, just waiting around for inspiration to strike. (And while you’re at it, set a sleep and exercise schedule too. Self-discipline works well for a four, who values individuality and freedom, because THEY are making the rules. Use this to your advantage!)

Positive Practice #2 – Small actions will eventually snowball — break your to-do list down accordingly.

You are very in tune with your feelings and view most things through the lens of how they make you feel. Getting things done or helping a loved one creates enormous reactions and emotions from a four. But in the same way, a really big task will create a huge sense of overwhelm and thus, inaction. When looking at tasks that aren’t broken down into smaller chunks, you might get the sense that you don’t have your life together and you never will. But starting small and working through things step by step allow you to feel productive and good.

Positive Practice #3 – Get in the practice of cutting off the “rehearsals” in your head.

As a four you have a very active imagination! This is super helpful to so many things and a huge part of what makes you YOU. But it can start to be harmful when you let the conversations in your imagination run wild — especially if those conversations are excessively negative. You start thinking about what you would say to someone, how you could hurt them, or who is talking about you behind your back and what they’re saying. When you notice this is happening is there something that can help pull you back into reality?

Enneagram Type Five:

Positive Practice #1 – Adopt both a breath practice (meditation or yoga) and movement practice (jogging, dancing, etc).

Fives can be really intense and a little bit high-strung. You might find it difficult to relax because you have so much nervous energy pent up inside of you. Exercise that’s more cardio focused, like running or dancing, can help you chill out in a healthy way. A movement practice gives all that energy a place to go. You might even find that daily exercise is key to achieving the chill time you need. But balancing a regular fast-paced workout with an occasional focus on breath, even if it’s just 2 minutes of meditation to start your morning, can be super grounding for fives.

Positive Practice #2 – Invest time into one or two intimate friendships and seek their advice and counsel regularly.

Schedule get-togethers with your close friendships on a routine basis so that you’re more likely to follow up. As a five, you might prefer isolation. Especially if you sense the possibility of conflict. Because fives are careful about who they trust and open up to, navigating a ton of surface-level friendships and acquaintances isn’t always worth it to you. So invest your time and energy into just a few and work to build these relationships to a point where you feel comfortable working through the inevitable conflict that could arise. Ask these close friends if you could set up a weekly dinner date with them; get it on the calendar.

Positive Practice #3 – It is easy to get carried away with all your developing interests — set aside time for research and time for action.

Sticking with the scheduling theme, fives might find it helpful to block off time to let their whims run wild. A five loves a rabbit hole and will research new subjects all the time. But this can become a distraction to their day-to-day accomplishments. If, instead, you have set times during your week to explore whatever your heart desires, it can be easier to keep trucking through your to-do list when a great idea hits you. You’ll know that you have plenty of time to look into this new interest at 5 o’clock or whenever your planned research time happens to be.

Enneagram Type Six:

Positive Practice #1 – Channel your anxiety into productivity and creativity.

When sixes are able to reassure themselves that their anxieties are normal, they can be more present within their tensions. Their anxieties can become almost energizing. When anxiety crops up, sixes should turn to their to-do lists and creative pursuits. Have outlets at the ready — like a bin of craft supplies or tools for an ongoing home renovation project. When your brain starts rolling out worst case scenarios, acknowledge them, and then pick up the paintbrush or screwdriver.

Positive Practice #2 – Start a self-love journal where you can write down things you like about yourself and things in your life that make you happy.

Sixes can be extremely pessimistic when they let self-doubt and negative thought patterns take over. As a six, you might project what’s going on in your head on reality. To encourage a positive outlook, begin to identify the positives in your everyday life. Reflecting on the things that are going right in your world will help you start to cast that vision on a wider scale and negate your glass half empty tendencies.

Positive Practice #3 – Be intentional with showing people your appreciation for them.

Think: texting your best friend how much she means to you, sending a card to your mom just because, or taking your kid out to eat one-on-one when they’ve done something you value. Sixes are very skilled at getting people to like them, and because of this (plus, fears of rejection), aren’t always overt or vocal about their feelings and commitments. Challenge yourself to show someone how you feel about them at least once a week.

Ok, enneagram-obsessed loves! I hope this helps you use the information about your type to your advantage. It might take you a while to settle on the practices you want to adopt, and that’s ok! Once you do, I know they’re going to have a positive impact on your life! xoxo

Keep an eye out for the final post in this series where we’ll explore Types 7, 8, and 9! Thanks for reading!!! 

P.S. Are you a Type 1, 2, or 3 and you missed my last enneagram post?? No worries. You can read it HERE! xoxo

Positive Practices for Mental Health Based on Your Enneagram Type | Types 1, 2, and 3

During the last few months of lock-down/quarantine/(whatever you want to call it), I’ve done a lot of reading about the ENNEAGRAM. This isn’t necessarily a new obsession, I’ve been interested in it for the last few years. After working with my mom (who has done enneagram trainings for her job in pastoral care) to type myself as a 9 and reading Beatrice Chestnut’s book The Complete Enneagram, I’ve been consistently seeking out enneagram content.

But recently, I’ve really been exploring the idea of using the knowledge about myself that the enneagram offers to my advantage. Even though so much of the enneagram involves being faced with the aspects of yourself that aren’t so pretty (hi, I’m a 9…most commonly known for being lazy…yikes), it’s power comes from what you do with that information.

If you don’t know anything about the enneagram, there are a ton of great resources online to learn about the types and type yourself. I’d also recommend checking out Chestnut’s book (linked above) as well as The Honest Enneagram by Sarajane Case (who also has an instagram account and a podcast).

If you’re already up on this whole enneagram biz (and you love trolling IG for memes about your type LOL), I would totally encourage you to try taking it to the next level by identifying some of the downfalls inherent in your type and then adopting some positive life-practices to help you combat them. Doing so myself has been wildly helpful during an otherwise very stressful and scary time in the world.

To help get you started, I’ve identified some positive practices based on my readings about each type. I’m not saying these are the ones you should go with — they’re just ideas. They might not ring true for you and where you’re at or how you show up as an individual type. I just want to inspire you to find a few of your OWN practices based on your type!

Let’s start with TYPES ONE, TWO, & THREE — 

Enneagram Type One:

Positive Practice #1 – Take time for yourself to relax without any responsibilities.

Think: a solo afternoon outing, a solo night in, or solo weekend getaway. Ones put a lot of pressure on themselves to make sure things go to plan. But it can be stressful to be around other folks who have differing opinions about the right and wrong ways to enjoy whatever adventure or vacation you’ve mapped out in your head. Things will go a lot more to plan if you’re the only one you’re planning for. Give yourself that space every once in a while to relax without feeling like the world depends on you.

Positive Practice #2 – Set reminders that allow you to be patient instead of continuously following up.

Ones have an incredibly strong sense of right and wrong and are extremely self-disciplined. Others might not respond or take action to your requests as quickly as you may like. Because the one is also a great educator, they can view reiterating themselves and trying new approaches as helpful — when in fact this may have the reverse effect and cause the other person to shut down completely. (Which will stress a one out even more!) Instead, channel your love of planning and map out your follow-ups in your calendar.

Positive Practice #3 – Join a group that lets you display and discuss your emotions without fear of judgment.

Think: book club, film club, or any group that allows you to have conversations about the realities of humanity. Because ones are often uneasy with emotions, it can be beneficial to discuss things like how a book or movie made you feel in a group of people who are doing the same. This can help you identify emotions and emotional impulses better in your own life and help you feel more at ease about the messy aspects of being human.

Enneagram Type Two:

Positive Practice #1 – Set up a practice of asking others what they need.

Twos are known as “The Helper” for a reason — you love to help and you’re largely very good at intuiting what people need. That doesn’t mean it is what they want. And if they don’t, that’s not a reflection of you OR a rejection of you. You can and should still lean in to this “helping hand” side of yourself though. When the urge arises, do your best to make this your first step — state your intentions, “I’d like to help,” and then ask, “what can I do?”

Positive Practice #2 – Start a journal to document the “gifts” you receive every day.

Think: Gratitude Journal. Twos tend to place value on how what they’re giving is perceived, instead of looking to what they are receiving. You might not even recognize something as a “gift” because it is not something you would give or you wouldn’t give it in the same way. The more you can start noticing all that you are receiving in your life (by jotting it down in your journal), the better you will become at recognizing all the love in your world.

Positive Practice #3 – Invest your time in a service opportunity that is just for you.

This is something that is just for you — not something you know will garner public recognition or a lot of “likes” on your social media feeds. Think about your own interests and how you can give back within those worlds. Maybe you enjoy being around kittens so you sign up to foster or volunteer at a local animal shelter. The more you find fulfillment in something BEYOND just a general sense of helping, the more likely a two will resist the urge to call attention to themselves and their good deeds.

Enneagram Type Three:

Positive Practice #1 – Make time for one-on-one interactions with your loved ones.

Threes need to feel truthfulness, loyalty, and cooperation in their relationships. However, they are also fantastic multi-taskers who are always GO GO GO. Because of this, you might turn to big group outings or group vacations with your friends and loved ones to knock out that quality time all in one go. Resist this urge. Instead, slow down and really connect with the folks you care about without a bunch of other people and distractions around.

Positive Practice #2 – Schedule breaks throughout your day.

You are susceptible to burn-out and exhaustion because of a singular focus on your goals. Threes are super ambitious and value self-development — great qualities! But they also need to take breaks if they want to reach their full potential. Make sure you’re setting aside time during your day to step away from work and your personal to-do list — try the pomodoro approach or just set a few alarms in your phone to signal when you’re going to take a ten minute breather.

Positive Practice #3 – Get involved with a group project that has nothing to do with career advancement.

Again, threes are highly skilled multi-taskers so they might sign up for their office’s kickball league and think, “Cool, this will help my likability standings at work PLUS knock out a workout and be my weekly socialization time,” only to find they’re miserable every Thursday during the matches because they actually HATE kickball (and their co-workers who joined the team). If you’re going to focus so much of your energy on career, you should look for some outlets that are outside of work (and build relationships with people who have nothing to do with your next promotion) where you can take a little pressure off of that side of yourself.

Ok, enneagram-obsessed loves! I hope this helps you use the information about your type to your advantage. It might take you a while to settle on the practices you want to adopt, and that’s ok! Once you do, I know they’re going to have a positive impact on your life! xoxo

Keep an eye out for follow-up posts with ideas for the rest of the types! Thanks for reading!!! 

30 Day Photo Challenge

Now that I’ve been socially distancing for 4 months, I feel like I need something to shake things up. I need a way to see the the same things in a new light. I also know that I want to beef up my Instagram game AND practice photography.

Combine all of that together, and I settled upon the idea of doing a 30 day photo challenge!

I don’t know about you, but without travel, group outings, restaurant meals and summer vacation, my camera roll is lacking. When it comes to Instagram content, my creative juices are stagnant. Maybe a daily prompt would help? Worth a try!

So I put together a list of 30 prompts that could give me a direction each day for something to snap a picture of. Some days I might bust out one of my nicer cameras and others I’ll just use my phone. But my hope is that each day I’ll have a reason to get creative. Then, at the end of the 30 days I’ll have a nice little stockpile of photos I can use however I wish!

See the list of 30 day photos below. Will you give it a try?

  1. Something you couldn’t live without
  2. Watching TV
  3. Something yellow
  4. TBR stack
  5. Movies
  6. Something that evokes wanderlust
  7. The sky
  8. Something nostalgic
  9. Your pet
  10. Something vintage
  11. Something purple
  12. Flags
  13. Water
  14. Someone you love
  15. Favorite book
  16. Skyline
  17. Something orange
  18. Inspired by a quote
  19. Self portrait
  20. Favorite sweet treat
  21. Brand you love
  22. Something green
  23. An animal
  24. Inspired by your zodiac sign
  25. Favorite place in your home
  26. Something from your childhood
  27. Favorite food
  28. Something pink
  29. Something in your room
  30. Outdoor scene

Click HERE for a printable PDF with all the prompts!

But I want to hear from you! How are you shaking things up? Do you have any tips for thinking up Instagram content? If I was to do a round 2 of this challenge, what prompts would you include! 

P.S. 10 Brutally Honest Tips About Online Content Creation