Category Archives: Brainpower

Simple Techniques to Improve Brain Power

Do you feel like your brain is broken when you can’t seem to remember basic things? The good news is it isn’t broken, but you may not be using it in the most effective way. Below are five easy visual and visualizing techniques you can use today to remember more.

Remember Numbers 

What would you do if you had no smartphone and needed to remember an important number? OK, so you would probably write it down, but you might not have a pen or paper either. Remembering numbers might seem difficult, but it’s actually quite easy. Our memories are much more visual than once thought so we can actually recall numbers with ease. It might just take a little imagination. One is a pencil; two is a swan, three is a fork, etcetera. Try it out for yourself. 

Tricky Spelling 

Remembering spelling is not quite as easy as remembering numbers, although the visual technique can work quite well in some cases. Because English is a language made up of many different influences, certain unusually spelled words simply have to be learned. If you struggle with your spelling, try turning off your spell checker in your phone and looking up the words you’re unsure of. Over time your spelling will improve significantly. Another tip is to keep a file of words you find difficult to spell and make it a point to incorporate them in the things you’re writing (even if that’s just an Instagram caption!). 

Remember Lists 

Have you heard of the Loci technique? It’s the memory technique in which you use the rooms in your home as locations for items on a list you want to remember. This is useful to some people but doesn’t work for everyone. Instead of using your home, try your body. It’s much closer to you wherever you are, and more familiar – your Chiropractor would be ace at this technique! Identify 10 different areas of your body and assign them items in your list. When you want to remember the item, think of the body part first. 

Capital Cities

Do you find capital cities hard to remember? Do you always get those questions wrong in quizzes? The good news is you don’t have to memorize all the words using flashcards – unless you really want to – instead, use a mnemonic. The capital of Jamaica is Kingston. That sounds like King-stung and Jam-maker. So, you can imagine a king making some jam then being stung by a bee. Try out some of your own. They will be easier to recall if you use your own creativity. 

What’s the Difference  

What’s the difference between Stalactite and Stalagmite? Difficult. They both refer to mineral deposits in underground caves, but one of them grows from the ceiling, the other from the ground. It’s very difficult to remember which is which without a simple memory device. Stalactite contains letter ‘C’ and grows from the ceiling; Stalagmite contains the letter ‘G’ and grows from the ground. Easy-peasy. Try this technique out with other similar-sounding words!

Want more memory tips + tricks? Check out this channel! Yanjaa is a client of mine and her mind is amazing. 🙂  

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

Telltale Signs You’re Going To Be Happy At Work, No Matter What Your Job

When it comes to jobs, the grass always seems to be a little greener on the other side. We see what other people have, and companies offer, and we want a part of it. 

Often, when we finally land the role we think we want, it turns out that it’s no different from the one we had before. 

Wouldn’t it be helpful if there were ways to improve upon your workplace happiness

Interestingly, it turns out that the reward you get from your job doesn’t relate much to the position at all. Instead, it has to do with your attitude. For instance, food service work can be just as enjoyable as running a company or being an artist. 

Does that sound a little strange? Well, it’s true. And in this post, you’re going to find out strategies for increasing workplace happiness. 

*This post may contain affiliate links.*

Love The Infinite Detail Of Your Work

People often talk about plateaus in their careers – boundaries that they can’t push past, no matter how long they work. 

Interestingly, though, these glass-ceilings are frequently self-imposed. It’s not that opportunities suddenly run out. It’s just that they’re not pursued. 

Reality is infinite in its complexity. You can take pretty much any role and pick it apart, looking for improvements, efficiencies, and new ways to add value. Even the simplest of tasks present you with ways to improve on a formula or design a new system. 

People who probe their roles deeply are usually the happiest. There’s always a new mountain to climb and something new to do. It applies to both creative and procedural work. Fundamentally, creativity can be applied to any procedure. 

Seek Out Meaning

Another common career bugbear is the idea that your work lacks meaning. Usually, when people say this, they’re comparing their life to those they deem extraordinary – actors, politicians, or even social media influencers. 

Virtually no career that adds value to the lives of others, however, lacks meaning. It’s just a perception. And that’s why people who seek out meaning in what they do are the happiest. They go to work every day, safe in the knowledge that they’re making progress. 

Please note that meaning doesn’t even have to relate to the work itself. It can, in some instances, refer exclusively to the effects that the financial reward brings, like raising a family. Even so, it’s still valuable. 

Love To Grow

People who love to grow are usually happy in new jobs, even when they present them with serious challenges. That’s because resistance creates its own satisfaction. 

Growing as a person is a fun experience. Once you go through it, you feel like you can do things that would have once been way outside your capabilities. 

You also feel like a stronger person – more robust to the pressures of life. 

All jobs – no matter how hard – are a chance to grow. And a lot of people are grateful for the opportunity. It provides them with daily fulfilling experiences that they can cherish long into the future.

Are you happy at work these days? Are there ways you could apply the tips above to increase workplace happiness?

P.S. Can using crystals really boost your happiness and well-being?

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

Fun Ways to Improve Your Vocabulary

*This post may contain affiliate links.*

Having a broad vocabulary can be useful for a lot of things. It can help you to read, watch and listen to a wider range of materials and have a better understanding of the content. It can give you the tools that you need to speak and write more eloquently and get your point across in more creative and profound ways. It can also just be a lot of fun to know more words and how to use them!

You probably pick up a new word every now and then, but if you want to actively improve your vocabulary, try these tips–

Play Word Games

Playing word games is a good way to learn new words and start expanding your vocabulary. Many word games rely on you knowing the definitions of words, being able to rearrange letters to make words, or perhaps being able to find hidden words. There are some fun word game apps that you might find you enjoy even more than scrolling through Instragam. You can even use tools like Wordscapes answers that helps you unscramble letters. The more you use something like this, the less that you will find you need to “cheat” as your vocabulary grows.

Read More

Reading is always a great activity if you want to improve your vocabulary, and the more broadly you read, the more diverse the vocabulary you encounter will be. You might like reading novels, but you should also read non-fiction, news articles, opinion pieces, essays or anything else that you find enjoyable. As well as reading physical books, listening to audio-books will help you know how to pronounce new words. The more you read, the more your vocabulary will grow, especially if you commit to a diverse range of materials. A little bit of reading every day can make a big difference in your vocabulary.

Watch and Listen, too

Along with reading, you can benefit from watching and listening to diverse materials as well. Whether you watch TV dramas and movies, consume documentaries, or listen to the radio, podcasts or even music, you can learn new words. Just like with books and reading materials, you can explore lots of different media and find things that you enjoy. You can find plenty to watch and listen to for free online, by searching for videos on YouTube, from TED talks to comedy or informative how-tos.

Expand Your Circle

Finally, surrounding yourself with people from diverse backgrounds — both in upbringing and physical location — is a way to ensure you aren’t constantly hearing from people who look and sound like you. This will not only improve and build your vocabulary, but your ideas and views of the world as well.

You can improve your vocabulary in lots of different ways. Keep exploring the world around you to learn new words all the time!

P.S. How to put NEW language skills into practice. 

4 Ways to “Clock-Out” When You Work From Home

*This post may contain affiliate links.*

Working takes a lot out of you, and a job can be very demanding some days. You must take the time to rest and recover so that you can return to your duties the next day full of energy and motivation. But it can be difficult to transition from a work mindset to a recovery mindset when working from home. 

Below are four of my favorite ways to “clock-out” after a long day of work and signal to my mind and body that work is over and rest has begun. Setting aside this leisure time right after I wrap up for the day is crucial for me to enter the rest of my evening in a state of calm. Then, I can return to my desk the next morning feeling refreshed and rejuvenated. 

1. Pull out the Coloring Books

One way to relax after a long day of work is to grab your favorite coloring books and put your feet up. Invest in a variety of books from https://www.pennydellpuzzles.com/coloring/ so you can mix it up and choose different designs to work on. You’ll be creating a masterpiece while allowing yourself to rest and relax. Coloring is an activity that’s fun and beneficial for kids and adults alike. It’ll take your mind off all the stress and strain from your workday almost instantly.

2. Take A Warm Bath

You may also want to put taking a warm bath on your list of ways to “clock-out” after a long day of work. It’s your chance to unplug from technology and relax your muscles and brain from thinking. Put some bubbles in your bathtub and grab your favorite book that you can get lost in for a while. You might also want to put on some soothing background music and meditate while you’re soaking in the tub. You’ll feel like a new person when you get out of your bath and you’ll feel in a calm frame of mind. It’s an excellent way to relieve any stress you’re feeling in your body as well.

3. Watch A Movie

Another idea for how you can “clock-out” after work is to watch a movie. Pick one based on what you’re in the mood for and will keep your attention. It can be entertaining to watch a favorite movie of yours or to pick a new one that you haven’t seen before. Make a delicious snack or dinner and curl up on the couch in your comfortable clothes and a warm blanket to help you relax. You may even end up dozing off or falling asleep if you’re that tired and worn out. Nothing wrong with a nap!

4. Go On A Walk

You may not think of exercise as relaxing, but it is if you choose the right activity. Going on a walk is an excellent way to burn a few calories, reduce your stress, and calm a racing mind. Call up a friend so you two can catch up about what’s been going on in each of your lives. It’ll be relaxing to spend some time in nature and have someone who cares about you on the other end of the phone. You’ll feel so much better after getting in some steps and being able to get anything that’s bothering you off your chest to your friend.  

But I want to hear from you! What are some ways you “clock-out” when working from home? Are there any aspects of working from home you’re struggling with?

P.S. Need one more “clock-out” idea? How about an at-home workout. 

Why It’s Never Too Early To Start Christmas Shopping

A lot of people can’t even start to think about Christmas until after Halloween has passed, whereas others start their Christmas shopping for the following year in the after-Christmas sales. My vote is for somewhere in between. It’s nice to get ahead of things, and when it comes to gifts, buying them earlier can allow for more planning — both in thoughtfulness and budget.

*This post may contain affiliate links.*

When you like to put thought into buying gifts, leaving your shopping until the last minute should be the last thing that you want to do, yet, many of us still find ourselves shopping for Christmas presents as late as Christmas Eve. Although it’s nice to feel prepared with lists, not having a list can enable you to buy things that make you think of certain people as you see them or when you find them for a good price. 

If you do this throughout the year, or at least from June/July onward, you will be more than prepared come December. It’s never too early to start Christmas shopping!

So, let’s have a look at some of the ways it can benefit you: 

It’s Less Stressful

There will be no more scrabbling around last minute and much more time to relax if you shop all year round. You will be able to fully enjoy the magic of the holiday. And, that one person you can never figure out? Well, you’ll have plenty of time to sort it out and get it ticked off your list. You will also no longer have the stress of worrying if something will arrive on time, and you will have plenty of time to exchange if it’s not quite right or damaged. 

No More Increased Prices

Have you ever noticed that near Christmastime prices can shoot up? Or are much higher than the sale prices you spotted earlier in the year? That’s because you are paying for the convenience of shopping right before Christmas. You should most definitely take advantage of sales like Black Friday and any early Christmas sales, but don’t forget about sales that happen before Thanksgiving even rolls around and throughout the year. If you see something that someone would love, get it at a reduced price rather than buying later at full. 

Finding Unique Gifts 

You know those gifts that you can’t wait to give because you know it’s going to surprise the recipient? Well, shopping earlier means you have more time to plan and get it just right. If you shop earlier, you have more time to research and do the searching that is often needed for a unique present like personalized first christmas ornaments. If you’re not working from a list, then you have more freedom and may find something unexpected. Just because it’s not near Christmas, doesn’t mean you shouldn’t get it ready. When it’s most definitely the thought that counts, finding the perfect gifts no matter what time of the year, can’t be missed. 

These are three very good reasons why you should shop at any time of the year for Christmas, and it’s never too early to get started. When do you normally start your Christmas shopping? Do you shop all year round and take advantage of the benefits above or are you a last-minute shopper?