Tag Archives: free-time

Staying Busy to Keep the Winter Blues at Bay!

staying busy to keep the winter blues at bay*This post may contain affiliate links.

With the nights drawing in and the temperature dropping, we’re starting to become limited with our options for things to do outside. At this time of year, there are no warm ‘golden hour’  walks at 8 pm, dinner in the backyard after work, or sunny picnics at the weekend. It’s all about heading indoors, keeping cozy and finding things to do indoors instead.

I’m all about that winter hibernation, hygge lifestyle…BUT! One thing I’m NOT about? Being bored. I’ve gotta remind myself at this time of year to stay busy. That (and daily doses of Vitamin D) are tantamount to keeping the winter blues at bay.

Here are some ideas for those looooong winter nights (and snowy weekends, too)!

Have a movie/ tv day

When the weather is bad and you just want to relax, a movie or tv day (or evening) is a perfectly acceptable choice. (Don’t let the haters tell you otherwise! LOL) With all the streaming services out there, chances are you have more options than you could ever work your way through. Plus, if you have a niche interest you want to explore, a snow day is a fine time to scratch that itch. Go down the rabbit hole of beauty tutorials on YouTube. Fan of anime? Binge watch as much as you want on this website. Even if you don’t normally indulge in too much tv (can’t relate), a bit of escapism when the weather outside is frightful never hurt anyone. I’m sure I’ll be queuing up Survivor to escape to tropical islands all winter long! 

Related:
18 Movies to Watch When You’re Hibernating
TV Recommendation: Westworld
The 7 TV Shows I Can’t Wait to Watch
6 True Crime Documentaries For Your Inner Detective

Discover a new hobby

Hobbies are important for people of all ages. They help you to build your skills, stay productive when you have free time, and can give your life purpose too. So many of us fall into the ‘work, eat, sleep, repeat’ cycle, especially in the wintertime when heading home from work in the dark. But hobbies can give you something to look forward to on that cold and dark commute home. They also allow you to connect with other people, and maybe even get you out of the house once in awhile. 😉  You could start a new craft from home, write a blog, or attend classes at a local library or community center. Even if your new hobby will be done from home, you can still find ways to connect with others online. Starting a podcast with my friend Katie has been such a fun hobby to pursue. There’s always something to do and lots of sweet peeps online who are just starting out, too! 

Related:
3 Things to Remember When Your Blog Becomes a Side Hustle
In Search Of: More Delight!
How to Make Time for Books
A Spring-Themed Pocket Letter

Work out

During the colder months, it’s easy for a healthy lifestyle to fall by the wayside. With less time spent outdoors we’re naturally less active, and warming comfort foods are a far cry from the light, fresh salads we enjoyed over the summer. However, you can still live healthily without depriving yourself, and there’s no need to go running in the rain every morning before work! Gyms tend to be quieter at this time of year, and if you head down to your local gym or fitness center you might even have the place to yourself depending on the time of day! You can work out and enjoy a steamy sauna afterwards which will make you feel great. Not down for the gym? You can always workout at home. There are plenty of workouts (FO’ FREE) online. If you have a Wii fit, ballet barre, weights, or any sort of exercise equipment–throw it in the mix!

Related:
How to Make Your Own Fitness Challenge
The “All You Need is a Clock” Workout
Found! The Greatest Exercise Video Ever
My 10-Day Ballet Challenge

Do you guys have a plan for staying busy this winter? 

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Planner Tip: Prioritize Your Passions

planner

I’m totally obsessed with my Target Dollar Spot planner. While I keep a daily To-Do list, planning in this adorable binder has become more of a hobby (I can decorate it with washi and stickers! Weeee!) and a way to plan out my personal, less work-focused time. I plan on doing a more in-depth post about this planner in the future, but today I thought I’d share a little tip I’ve gotten a lot of mileage out of! Here goes…

So, here’s the deal! If left to my own devices, I can waste a LOT of time on my computer. I love to read blogs, watch YouTube videos, and scroll endlessly through Twitter, Pinterest, and Instagram. When a pocket of free-time opens up I can have the best of intentions and then find myself, 2 hours later, still sitting with my laptop open. This habit is especially frustrating if you sit at a computer all day for work!

Recently, I did a little soul searching about ways I could encourage myself to turn off the screen and prioritize my passions instead. I came up with three areas of focus…

  • I’m passionate about exercising my mind through books.
  • I’m passionate about exercising my body through yoga.
  • I’m passionate about exercising my creativity through paper crafts.

Next, I took a look at my typical day. When was I getting unnecessarily sucked into the internet? When would it be easy to indulge in a little self-care instead? For me, it was occurring between dinner and later in the evening when Chet and I spend time together (usually watching TV, unwinding, etc).

So I started scheduling my “me-time” activities in my planner! I write in “Read” or “Yoga” or some sort of craft or planner spread….

planner inside

It may sound simple…but it works for me! Instead of staring at a screen into the night (when I’ve already stared at it for so long during the day), I pick up a book or make a pocket letter. I roll out my mat or I decorate my planner. Sometimes I might throw in a long walk with a podcast or a class of some sort.

Do I HAVE to stick to the schedule? Absolutely not. But I’ve found that, when mapping out my week to come, if I give my “future self” a little nudge in the right direction I’m less likely to take the easy way out. (You also may recall that I’m all about eliminating decision fatigue! Why not make the decision about how to spend your “me-time” ONCE A WEEK instead of every single day.)

Wanna implement this TIP? Here are some easy steps: 

  1. Reflect on your daily life and identify a common “time suck” activity that you’d like to eliminate.
  2. Brainstorm 2-4 passions or areas of your life you’d like to grow. Really dig deep about what makes you happy. Do you wish you spent more time outdoors? Maybe you would benefit from a weekly bike ride. Are you looking to grow your writing? Perhaps you need to set aside time for daily journaling.
  3. Next, figure out where your “me time” best fits into your schedule. This could be different each day or the same time throughout the week. I’ve found the best way to identify when you have the time is to look to Step #1. Is there a pocket of time when you typically sit staring at your phone for 30 minutes straight double tapping random IG pics? Or do you find yourself waking up early just to end up channel surfing for an hour?
  4. When you do your weekly planning, PRIORITIZE YOUR PASSIONS! Plan for those moments of free-time with a little ME-TIME!

What do you think? Do you keep a planner? Would you consider scheduling specific activities for your free-time? Or do you prefer a more free flowing approach? I’d love to know your thoughts! xoxo 

Santa Monica

Free-time this Fall? No need to break the bank!

As the weather gets a little chillier and we shift from Summer to Autumn, I’ve got penny-pinching on my mind. Summer may have seen you spending a bit more liberally (vacations, eating out, outdoor adventures) and back-to-school time can get costly as well. Looking ahead to the holidays, the next couple months can be a great time to rein it in, make some cut-backs and start saving. So, turn off those air conditioners, meal plan, host a Naked Lady party to score clothes for a new Fall look…and as for fun; here are 10 ways to spend your down-time this Fall without breaking the bank!

yoga

Sweat.

Forget the fancy gym memberships and costly classes. You can just bust a move from the comfort of your own living room. Youtube and Pinterest are fitness gold-mines! Do Erin Motz’s 30 Day Yoga Challenge. See how many reps of push-ups/sit-ups/lunges/squats/WHATEVER you can do in a row. Try to do more each day. Go upside down in a hand stand! Wanna explore? Jog in your neighborhood. Find a hiking trail nearby.

photography

Practice.

Commit to picking back up a hobby you let fall by the way-side or finally learn the skill you’ve had the equipment for in the back of your closet for ages. Play around with that camera (even if it’s just on your iPhone…you could even sign up for an Instagram “picture a day” challenge). Bust out your craft supplies. Build something. Grow something. Dust off that violin. Teach yourself calligraphy or German or darts.

backgammon

Play.

Turn off your TV, close the laptop and play a game instead. Spread out on the floor with your significant other or gather ’round the kitchen table with friends. Play Backgammon, Rummikub, Pictionary, Jenga, Chess, Trivial Pursuit or Monopoly. Got a deck of cards? Deal out Hearts, Poker, Euchre, B.S. or my always and forever favorite THIRTEEN.

meadowthorpe

Explore.

You don’t always have to strap on your hiking boots and hit the woods to have an epic adventure. Try your hand at urban exploration. Find a historic neighborhood and provide a running commentary on the architecture (even if it’s completely made up). Get lost in a gi-normous indoor flea market or antique mall. Check out abandoned buildings (don’t get arrested). See how many green-spaces, fountains, swing-sets, hot-dog stands, libraries or pedways you can walk to in one day.

whalepig

Enrich.

Do a little research and find free cultural events going on in your area. Check out galleries displaying art in public places. Go to an educational lecture hosted by a school or church or non-profit. Lots of organizations love hosting free movies. Got a friend or family member in a play, concert, dance recital? See if you can peep their dress rehearsal for free. The public library is a fantastic resource. And if you live in a university town you’re golden!

formabookclubkindle

Read.

Nothing says Fall like hunkering in a cozy spot with your latest page-turner. Join a book club. Start your own. Blaze through some Young Adult fiction on your e-reader. Pick up a stack of historical romance novels from the library. No one needs to know about your literary guilty pleasures.

pumpkinchai

Slurp.

Don’t shell out all your hard-earned money at Starbies. Yes, you may lose that gold status (R.I.P.) but you can learn to make your favorite hot beverages at home. If you want to drink all pumpkin everything until Christmas day…so be it.

braid

Pamper.

Choose one evening a week to have some “you” time. Learn a new hair-style. Do face masks. Do the DIY kind, too. Give yourself a manicure.

winecheers

Cheers.

Ok, so this may cost a LITTLE bit but if you have a Trader Joes we’re not talking much. Have a few friends over for a nice night in. BYO #3buckchuck. BYO #horsdouevrestoshare BYO #classyattire Set your Pandora station to whatever you like best, mingle, and let the conversation flow.

radioeye

Volunteer.

Evaluate your unique gifts and skill-set and figure out ways to give back. Sign up to be a mentor. Play with puppies. Organize events. Try your hand at a radio reading service. Answer phones, ring doorbells or just listen. When you give of your time, not only are you NOT spending money, the Universe finds powerful ways to reward you. : )

What about y’all, dear readers? How do you save money without sacrificing fun? Will you be ballin’ on a budget like me this Fall? Sending you an encouraging high-five if so! We got this!