Category Archives: How to’s

Get Your Finances Back In Order Sooner Rather Than Later

*This post may contain affiliate links.

Have your finances been a nightmare for you recently? It might be the case that you have reached a point where you’re not sure what you can do or where to start, but this can be dangerous. You have to get your finances back in order sooner rather than later, or you could be facing some potentially serious consequences. If you want to find out more about some of the steps that you should take, keep reading down below.

Clear Your Debts

First, I highly recommend you figure out how much you owe, who you owe it to, and figure out a way to start clearing them. If you’re not going to be using a scheme like DTSS Complete Freedom, then it’s important you start creating a debt management plan quickly. The people that you owe money to simply want it back, and if you go to them with a proposal that makes this happen, even if it takes a little longer, they just might accept. They are much more likely to accept if you go to them with a solution for your debt rather than them having to chase you.

Hire Some Help

The next thing that I recommend is that you hire some help to aid you in managing your finances in future. Hiring a personal finance advisor or an accountant could be exactly what you need to keep you from future budgetary predicaments. They will be able to provide you with expert solutions and help you more effectively manage your money in the future. If you don’t want to get into financial trouble again, this is a solution that is well worth looking into.

Live Within Your Means

You should also learn to live within your means. If you are so used to buying what you want and doing whatever you want without ever worrying about money, this might be a little tough for you. I understand that you might need time to adjust, but it’s important that you get a handle on this now. Work out what your budget is, and then be careful to stick to it. Some people have never lived on a budget before, or at least not one like the one you’re going to have to create. Just remember that financial situations can always change, and this isn’t going to be forever.

Don’t waste time thinking that things will sort themselves out; they won’t. Take financial action now!

P.S. Learn the 5-part money hustle.

Three Ways To Stay Motivated and Achieve Your Health Goals

Many of us set goals to be healthier, however,  think back to how many times you have said ‘I’ll start tomorrow’ or ‘ After the weekend’. Sometimes we fall short of achieving our goals simply because we don’t know where to start. Being healthy is hardly a SMART goal

Although you may have good intentions with this goal, and you may even follow through for a while, it can be far too easy to fall back into a bad routine. Especially when your goal is so broad and vague. 

From researching specific things like ‘what is EGCG’ or ‘Fat burning workouts’ to shopping for fresh food so that you can have an attainable meal plan, there is no denying that a little organizing is needed to succeed. 

There are ways to remain motivated though, have a look at three of them below: 

Have A Plan 

When you decide on your goal, whether it’s losing weight, gaining a positive view of your body, or eating healthier, it will be far easier to stick to if you put together an in-depth plan. Doing this, will help you to see the bigger picture and also provide you with the steps on how you can work towards your goal on a daily basis. 

For instance, if your overall goal is to eat your 5 A Day every day, make sure you do things like create lists of the fruits/veg you want to shop for, the recipes you need to follow, and meal plan/prep to set yourself up for success. And if your plan is to run a 5k, piece together a routine by blocking out days and times in your calendar when you’ll train. When you put together your plan, a great way to stay motivated is to also make a list of how you’ll feel once you have achieved your goal. 

Celebrate And Track Your Progress

Making your plan is a great place to start, however, when you track your progress it can serve as the best way to stay motivated. 

Keep track of things like your successes, progress, better mood, increased energy levels etc. (Create a sticker chart! Who doesn’t love getting a sticker?) Keeping track of your progress can help you to see results in real time and are perfect for looking back on when you feel unmotivated or like you’re falling behind. In addition to this, tracking your progress can help you know when to reward your progress in a bigger way. If you manage to get your 5 A Day in for 30 days in a row, think about treating yourself to a vegetarian feast at your favorite Indian restaurant. Ticked off every day on your Couch to 5K program? Maybe you purchase a new pair of running shoes. 

Switch It Up 

Lastly, but certainly not least, one of the great ways to stay motivated is to look at different approaches. When you feel like quitting, ask yourself, “Is there a way I could switch things up that would make me feel more inclined to stay on track?” 

Eating the same food or doing the same exercise over and over can get very boring. Can you host a potluck with your friends and ask them to bring their favorite dishes featuring fruits & veggies? Make sure everyone brings the recipes and swap them around! Sick of your running routine? Can you try a new route or invite a friend along? Sometimes a new perspective or a change in routine is all we need to stay committed to our goals. 

How do you stay motivated when it comes to your health goals?

P.S. My Top 4 Healthy Lifestyle Intentions

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.

Looking Ahead to the Holidays: 4 Ways to Ensure You Enjoy Your Christmas Break

*This post may contain affiliate links.*

It’s still a few months away, but a lot of us are beginning to get the itch with regard to Christmas. Some people love the holiday; some people just enjoy the time off work or the extra opportunity to spend time with friends and family. Wherever you fall, it’s a wonderful time. 

This year, more than ever, you might be feeling the pressure to make the most of the holiday season. With so many cancellations and disappointments these last few months, I am certainly ready to get jolly. If you’re feeling the same,  here are some things you can do in order to ensure you enjoy the holidays when they hit later this year!

Appreciate the Break! 

If you’re able, schedule some time away from work — even if it’s just for December 25th. For many folks across the globe, work has moved in to their homes and it can be hard to set up strong boundaries between when on-duty and when off. Work and home life may have grown a bit too close for comfort these last few months. Start planning now to get time off in place.

Just Spoil Yourself – You Deserve It

You’ve likely been quite frugal these last few months. Maybe this has been due to job change/loss or simply because you haven’t been able to travel or hit the shops. But if there’s a time to spend money on yourself and buy things you like, it’s Christmas. You’ve probably had your eyes on something. Do what you can to in the weeks ahead to set a little something aside so that you’re able to treat yourself in honor of the big day.

Think About Doing Things For Others! 

Doing special things for your friends and family around the holidays always feels great. Perhaps you want to throw an Ugly Christmas Sweater party and treat your whole family to something from UglyChristmasSweater.com or maybe you want to hand-make gifts for all your co-workers or hit the Black Friday sales so you can nab a few great deals for presents for the kids. It’s a time for caring about others, so be sure to start brainstorming now about gift ideas. 

Do Something For Those Less Fortunate  

Unfortunately, there will also be people out there who have very little at Christmastime…especially this year. Now is a great time to sit down with your family and decide ways you could give back this holiday season. If you’re low on cash yourself, could you give of your time? Or open your home to friends who may not be feeling so merry? If you’re able to give, how would you like to spread the Christmas cheer? If you start planning now, the more creative and intentional you can be!

A great holiday season is possible! We can all secure an enjoyable Christmas. All it takes is a little bit of looking ahead and planning. xoxo

P.S. And while we’re in the Christmas mood… a Christmas Cookie Round-Up!

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!!! 

The Smart Spend: Choosing The Right Options When You’re Making a Large Purchase

*This post may contain affiliate links.*

Making a large purchase is always a daunting process. Even when you have a strong idea of what you’d like to buy, most people will feel some degree of stress when they’re considering where best to place their spending. Thankfully, there are loads of online tools that can help you to overcome challenges like this one. To give you an idea of where to start, this post will be exploring a smart process to go through whenever you’re buying an expensive product.

Gathering Your Options

The first stage in this process is going to involve gathering up all the options you must weigh. Creating a spreadsheet with links, prices, and the name of each product will take a little bit of time, but will make it much easier for you to compare them later on. It can be tricky to find all of the available options when you’re looking for products, but you can usually overcome this by looking at blog posts and other content that reviews and compares items. Alongside this, if you’re really struggling, you could also ask on forums and other online communities for advice or alternatives to the options you’ve already listed. Get all options on your spreadsheet.

Reviews & Information

Once you have a list of the most promising options available, it is time to start looking at specific reviews for each. For example, if you were looking for a diamond ring to propose to your other half, you could try this Ritani review to give yourself an idea of the quality of the products from this brand. You should do this for each of the items on your list.

Collecting the right information at this stage will also be key. As you look at the features of the items on your list, you will quickly develop an idea of what you’re looking for, and this will enable you to create another list. This list will comprise of features that are essential and those that you can live without, setting the stage for the next step in the buying process.

The Comparison

With an idea of how well-reviewed a product is and a list of the most crucial features, it should be nice and easy to assess and compare it with your alternatives. By rearranging your list to prioritize those that have the most essential features, you will be able to see which ones best meet your needs. Of course, you’ll also have to think about the price you’re paying, but this should make it nice and easy to isolate the option that will give you the best value you for money. This is much easier than just looking at a bunch of sales pages online and hoping you pick right.

With all of this in mind, you should be feeling ready to take on the challenge of choosing the right options when you’re making a large purchase. It’s all too easy to fall into the trap of making mistakes as you go through this process, and a lot of people find themselves buying the wrong items when they don’t assess the market well enough. What tips would you add?

Improve Your Sleep And Increase Your Energy

Are you getting enough sleep? According to research, one in three of us isn’t, and this is affecting our productivity and health — both mental and physical. 

Sleep is vital for our bodies. You see, during the day, our brains take on a lot of information, and when we sleep, our minds go to work storing this information. Our bodies are also busy growing muscle, repairing tissue, and regenerating cells. We basically go through a whole system refresh overnight.

That’s why having a healthy sleep routine is essential. Particularly in children who are learning a lot during the day and need more sleep than adults to retain all the information and refresh the energy and cells used by their bodies. It’s suggested that adults should get between 7-9 hours of sleep every night and that young children should sleep between 9 and 11 to support growth and learning. 

Regardless of your age, a consistent sleep routine means sticking to bedtimes and prioritizing your sleep health. If you miss a few nights of good sleep, it’s not as simple as having a long lie-in to catch up. The quality of our sleep changes depending on the hour of the day. 

Sleep also affects your immune system. If you regularly miss a quality night’s rest, you will find you are more susceptible to colds and flu. So skipping a few hours to stay up late and binge-watch your favorite series, could be making you sick! 

Tracking Sleep Quantity and Quality

There are lots of ways we can improve our sleep, but the first way is to have a regular and consistent routine. This helps our body to understand when it is rest time and when it is time to work. Getting into bed at 10 pm and waking up at 6 or 7 am is a steady routine which helps our body get the right type of sleep. Our sleep cycle is built into our bodies. It is affected by light, lifestyle and internal conditions, including our brain waves and our genetics. There are two states to the way we sleep. Rapid eye movement and non rapid eye-movement. During the night, our body will change between these states multiple times. Roughly every 90 minutes. Over the evening these cycles change, so the earlier you go to bed, the more time you will have in the REM periods and the lighter the NREM will be. To get the best night’s sleep, your body needs to run through these cycles up to five times a night. You also need to wake up when your rest is the lightest; this will help you feel more rested and productive throughout the day.

Your biology will affect how much sleep you need and how many cycles your body needs to go through. So it’s essential to make a diary of how you feel in the morning and use that information to work out the best time for your body to wake up. If your alarm goes off when you are in the REM stage of a cycle, then you might feel sluggish and unrested when you rise. 

What’s Affecting Your Sleep?

There are lots of things that can affect how we sleep. One factor that’s been getting a lot of press lately is electro-stress, which is emitted by the wireless electronic devices in our homes. The belief here is that while many homes have smart devices in the bedroom, this could be causing us to have poor quality sleep. Expert opinions on this vary. While some encourage cleanses such as Orgone energy to help reduce electro-stress, others recommend turning devices to airplane mode before bedtime. No matter where you fall, limiting screen time in the bedroom, especially around bedtime, is always a good idea. 

Why? Because light is an essential factor too. Our bodies are set to start winding down as the sun sets, then they spring back into life as the sun rises. Our evenings should reflect this cycle, so instead of staying up late and being stimulated by a bunch of screens, try taking an hour before you go to bed to be calm and relaxed. This could involve reading a book or taking a bath, supporting your body as it slowly prepares to have a quality rest. 

Increasing your daily exercise will also help you to slip into a deeper and more productive sleep, so it is vital to get outside and do something active. This doesn’t mean you need head to the gym every day; taking a simple walk is enough to keep our body’s sleep system happy. You should also be mindful of taking exercise too late at night as this can be counterintuitive to a good night’s sleep. In the evening, your body releases melatonin to help you prepare for the rest ahead, whereas exercise releases endorphins which give you more energy and awaken your senses. Try to take your exercise before 5 pm.

What we eat can affect our sleep too, so be mindful of eating fatty, sugary foods too late in the evening. Research suggests we should eat our last meal before 6 pm – although this isn’t always possible in the world we live in. If you do need to eat later, then try to make your dinner light and easy to digest so your body can work on other processes when you are asleep. Hydration is essential too. You should avoid alcohol, which acts as a stimulant. While we might feel sleepy after a glass of wine, the quality of our sleep is poor. This means you don’t have enough time to regenerate, process information from the day or feel refreshed. 

Our bodies need rest so that we can perform our best throughout the day, so take time to work on your sleep routine and see if you can feel the difference in the day. Our mental and physical health is so important, and we should do everything we can to give our bodies the best chance of regeneration.

So, put your feet up, relax and get to bed! 

P.S. Must haves for sleeping in the heat. 

6 Quick Tips for Lowering Sugar Intake

What we put into our bodies affects our health. Having a high sugar intake can cause so many issues within our body, and it’s an addiction I’ve tried to curtail within my own life (as evidenced by various Whole 30‘s!). 

Let’s chat about some of the health impacts of too much sugar…

According to the American Diabetes Association, while eating too much sugar doesn’t directly cause diabetes, it is strongly linked to type 2 diabetes. This disease not only has an impact on your body’s ability to produce insulin, but it can also negatively affect your eyesight. According to this eyeglasses buying guide created by Mark Agnew, founder and CEO of eyeglasses.com, this is an impact of diabetes that is often under-discussed. He notes,  diabetic retinopathy is quite common and is a type of eye damage familiar to many folks with diabetes.

The retina sends images via the optic nerve to the brain for processing. If you have too much glucose in your blood, it can cause irreversible damages to the delicate vessels which may mean poor vision, visual impairment or even blindness.

With our eyesight in mind, let’s take a look at some easy ways we can cut our sugar intake: 

  1. Cut Back on Sugar-Filled Drinks – Instead of reaching for a can of coke when you’re thirsty, opt for water or sugar free juices.
  2. Avoid Sugar-Loaded Desserts – These may be cakes, ice-creams or lots of chocolate, they will be jam packed with processed sugars that just don’t bode well with our bodies in large quantities. Consider making from scratch and enjoying in moderation.
  3. Avoid Sauces With Lots of Sugar – Many sauces have sugars in them. Ketchup is one of the most famous for having lots and lots of sugar inside, so always read labels if you’re looking to lower that sugar intake.
  4. Eat Full-Fat Foods – Many “low-fat” versions of things like yogurts or cheeses make up for the lack of flavor by adding sugar. 
  5. Eat Whole Foods – Eating single ingredient foods are a great way to steer clear of added sugar.
  6. Check for Sugar in Tinned Foods – Again, reading labels is key.

What foods are good?

There’s no need to fight those sugar cravings. They happen and they won’t go away until they’re satisfied. But, when they happen, you can make an effort to eat the right sugars. Instead of reaching for a cookie or candy bar the next time the craving strikes, grab a handful of fruit.

But, don’t grab just any fruit. You need a fruit that ranks low on the glycemic index. The glycemic index was created to rank the foods that cause high blood sugar. The food is typically ranked out of 100, with 100 being the largest blood sugar spike.

Here are some fruits that are low on the glycemic index and can be mixed with other things for a delicious snack or meal:

  • Berries – Add them to some granola with honey and milk to create a sweet delicious breakfast with natural sugars.
  • Figs – Eat them with crackers and cheeses or on their own. Full of goodness with a delicate flavor. 
  • Cherries – Great snack but beware of the pips; cherries are packed full of goodness!
  • Pears – Oven bake pears and top them with a crumble or put them in pies!
  • Apples – With peanut butter or almond butter for added elements, they are delicious and full of goodness. 
  • Peaches – Peaches can be enjoyed during spring and summer when they are at their peak.
  • Grapefruit – Squeeze this into a juice if it’s not too bitter for you. Delicious for breakfast.

Our eye health is just one of many things we must be sure to take care of. Too much sugar can affect our skin, our liver, pancreas, and heart.

Overall, the key to maintaining health for ALL your body parts is regular exercise, a good sleeping pattern, and a balanced, healthy diet.

Skip the processed desserts, cut back on refined sugars you don’t need in drinks and foods, stop adding sugar-filled sauces to your foods — these small changes will make a world of difference in your sugar intake and help you see, function, and live healthier in the long run!

Stay healthy, friends! xoxo