Tag Archives: self care

How to Wind Down: 8 Activities for Self-Care and Relaxation

Hi friends! Welcome back to the blog! Hope you’re all doing really well. In one of my recent posts, I talked about some different actions and practices that may be helpful to incorporate at different phases of your monthly cycle. You can check that post out HERE. But I wanted to do a follow up post specifically about relaxation techniques. No matter where you’re at in your cycle, listening to your body comes first and foremost. And if you’re body is telling you to slow your roll, it’s nice to have strategies to take heed.

Here are 8 ways to wind down…

1. GO FOR A WALK

A leisurely stroll, where you are intentionally walking at a slower pace, is a lovely way to connect with yourself and your surroundings. Walking mindfully, not for exercise or to get from Point A to Point B, is very relaxing. This is a great way to chill out on the weekends or to wind down in the evenings. If you have a park or some woods near you, all the better! But nearby neighborhoods work just as well.

2. CLEAR SOME CLUTTER

Not everyone finds this calming, but I’m sure some folks would agree with me on this one. We’re not talking a huge undertaking here. Just a small space, like a drawer or the table that collects junk mail. The act of tidying up can be relaxing, but the tidy space that occurs as a result of your efforts can feel really good, too. If you binge watched Marie Kondo on Netflix, surely you know by now that a tidy space can promote a sense of calm!

3. LIGHT A CANDLE

Candles are the best, aren’t they? Lighting them in the evening is a really easy way to create a calm atmosphere. They are also a great add-on to other activities to make the experience feel more like a relaxing, self-care activity. Curled up on the couch listening to a podcast? Add a candle. Gotta wash your hair or do a face mask? Add a candle. You get the idea.

4. TURN ON A CALMING PLAYLIST

Create a couple playlists to have at the ready for whenever you need to set a relaxing tone. You might not have time to dedicate a portion of your evening to self-care. Maybe you had an event at work and now you have to quickly do the dishes, iron your clothes for tomorrow, and wash your face before you crash. Why not go about these chores with some soothing music playing? This is a great way to promote a relaxing atmosphere and calming state of mind alongside anything else you’ve got going on.

5. ROLL OUT A YOGA MAT

Give restorative yoga a try. (Just do a quick YouTube search if you don’t have any favorites at the ready.) This isn’t your typical rigorous yoga class, like a vinyasa flow, it is much more gentle. You’ll find yourself almost in a meditative state as you flow through relaxing positions. Thirty minutes to an hour of this gentle stretching and mindfulness is time well spent.

6. FOLLOW A GUIDED MEDITATION

Pop on your earbuds and get comfortable. Traditional meditation can get frustrating sometimes, especially if your mind is racing a mile a minute. Alleviate the pressure of having to shoo away thoughts for yourself with the help of a guide. This is great to do right before bed or if you just wanna zen out.

7. DRAW YOURSELF A BATH

Taking a hot bath is a classic. This is a great way to carve out a little “me time” while promoting sleep. Try adding essential oils into the water. Lavender is definitely a go-to in the relaxation department, but do a little experimentation. Different smells evoke different feelings for different folks. Try: frankincense, geranium, chamomile, pine, etc.

8. POUR YOURSELF A DRINK

No, not a bourbon on the rocks (although, you might want that once and awhile, too!). I’m talking about soothing, healing drinks like herbal teas. Enjoy the process that goes along with brewing the perfect mug and then take some time to sit down and mindfully enjoy.

What activities help YOU relax? Share your favorite ways to wind down below.

If you enjoy my blog content, please consider supporting what I do (and keeping me caffeinated). Thank you! xoxo ☕

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How to Make Time for Books

After a book binge on the topic of polygamy (I know…I’m weird), I’m currently reading Honeymoon in Purdah by Alison Wearing.

WHAT ARE YOU READING?

If the answer is nothing…that’s ok. I’m here to provide some gentle encouragement that if you want to start making more time for books, you CAN! With all the back-to-school vibes hanging out in the air, I totally believe now is a great time to recommit yourself to lifelong learning. Reading books is such an important part of that.

So, you’re on board. (Woohoo!) But how can we make more time for books in our busy, busy lives? Here are a few ideas…

1. Schedule Reading Time

I am one of those people who has lots of aspirations but not a lot of follow-through. (See also: this post.) So I can saaaaay I wanna finish a book a week, but if I don’t actually set aside dedicated time to do said reading…it’s probably not gonna happen. That rogue 30 minutes in my day will go *poof* and I’ll still be sitting at my computer clicking around on pointless stuff.

INSTEAD! I really study my planner (I use this one) for those free pockets of time and schedule in the stuff I want to do.

I’ve also written a post about how you can “set and forget” self-care that you can check out HERE. If hunting down reading time doesn’t sound like your bag, no worries! Pick a recurring time slot and stick to it.

2. Read Books You Like

This might be a no-brainer but I think it’s important to point out. If you want to make reading a habit that you’ll stick with, then you’ve gotta read books that interest you! After all, you want reading to be something you look forward to.

A great way to find MORE books you like is by talking about books. Share your favorite reads with friends and family and get their recommendations. I like to keep a list of book recommendations I’ve gathered from folks I know and cool reviews I come across on the internet.

Then, bring that book you like with you wherever you go! If you get stuck waiting somewhere you can pull out the book instead of your phone. It’s amazing how a random 10 minutes at the pharmacy here and a 15 minutes in a parking lot because you’re chronically early to stuff (just me?) there really starts to add up.

Oh and, NOTE: If you don’t end up liking a book? GUESS WHAT!? You don’t have to finish it! I had a weird aversion to ditching books until like really recently and I gotta say…this way is much better. Frees up a lot of time for the books you’re actually going to enjoy. So, there ya go–I grant you my permission, for what it is worth.

3. SHARE!

Sharing is WHAT? Accountability! 

I love, love, love posting about what I’m reading (and what I’ve just finished reading) on social media. I’m sure it’s not the most thrilling of content but it holds me accountable with my reading goals. (I also enjoy tracking my reading privately which you can read more about HERE.)

Other fun ways to share about books include joining a book club, reading a book with a friend, or tracking on the Goodreads app. Find what is fun for you!

With that in mind, I’ve been thinking about kicking off an email-based book club in January 2019. Would anyone be interested in that!? Let me know below and subscribe to my email list so you’ll be in the loop!

Ok, over to you! How do you make time for books? Share your secrets (and stuff I missed) below. 

 

P.S. If you’re basically blind but also wanna double down on reading time by adding in a dose of self-care…you’ll have to wear your glasses over top of your face masks. It’s a LEWK! 🙂

mid-week round-up

What are you up to this week, darlings? While January seemed to drag on forever, February is already flying by. #ShortMonthProblems It will be Valentine’s Day before we know it! Are you planning anything special? I’m trying to do little Valentine’s-inspired things throughout the month to make each day feel special (with some Mardi Gras themed things, too!). Fresh flowers, photo projects, baking treats, and sending out cards have all found their way onto my February calendar. 🙂 Hope your week is extra sweet, and here are some links I scouted just for you…

12 months of self-care in a helpful month-to-month guide.

Related: 10 Ways to Take a Time Out and Practice Self Care

Here’s how Ed Sheeran made 2017’s biggest track.

Iranians asked #Where_Is_She? Suddenly, it seems she’s everywhere.

Jaclyn Friedman sparks a culture-wide rethink about sex, power and what we accept.

How to not die in America.

Wouldn’t it be a delight to grow up in this colorful Dutch farmhouse?

Anatomy of a wild & crazy Saturday night aka breakfast burritos for two.

Related: Breakfast for Dinner

DIY: Wool ball diffuser for the car.

Have you ever tried a yoga wheel? I’m obsessed with mine.

Related: How to Make Your Own Fitness Challenge

Who invented the microwave oven?

A real “very stable genius” doesn’t call himself one.

Packing for 10 days away at a meditation retreat in a Tom Bihn backpack.

Related: What’s in my Tom Bihn Synapse 19 + Side Effect

P.S. A few Finding Delight posts you may have missed — The 5-4-3-2-1 Packing Method and 5 Blogs I Love.

My Weekly Ritual: Mask Mondays (+why I think you should set & forget self-care)

Every Monday evening I hole up in my bathroom and do a face mask. It’s something to look forward to at the end of a long day of not wanting to be back at work. Mondays, am I right?

My current favorites are this honey facial mask from Bee Friendly and this mermaid mask from Leahlani. And my mom tucked this spirulina mask from The Granola Goat in my stocking this year and I’m excited to give it a try.

If there are things you like doing for yourself – whether it be painting your nails, taking bubble baths, zoning out while you roll around on your foam roller, WHATEVER – I encourage you try out this set it and forget it approach.

It’s really easy to love the idea of self-care but actually doing it…like on the regs…is a little more difficult. There’s never a time when you couldn’t be doing “something else.” So we set those moments for our self aside and relegate them to next weekend or when the to-do list gets done or we’re on vacation. But y’all. All told my Mask Mondays take me about 20 minutes. 20 minutes a week of a lil luxurious me-time. I can spare it. And so can you.

But you don’t have to waste the brain space figuring out when to take that 20 minutes each week. Pick a day, pick a time. Repeat. Every week.

…And then if you’re feeling really wild, maybe you can try a monthly ritual too. Think: trips to your gym where you don’t work out but instead hit up the hot tub and sauna. Getting a massage or a blow out. Hikes in a state park. Taking yourself out to eat or to a movie.

When I turned 28 I decided on the 28th of every month for the whole year I would buy myself a new magazine. Whatever looked interesting and appealing. It was such an amazing birthday gift to myself because I love magazines but I always talk myself out of them. Essentially I gifted myself with the reassurance that it was ok to spend money on something that brought me joy. And setting a date that was easy to remember meant I actually followed through.

If you want to up your self-care game and do more that brings you joy — set it and forget it, sistah!

Anyways, what self care rituals are you into lately? 

A 30 Day Mantra Challenge (+ FREE activity guide)

Now that you know how to incorporate mantras in your daily life and have read up on the mantras folks love and use, let’s get action oriented! The benefits of mantras are no joke and committing to a 30 day practice is a wonderful first step to start reaping the rewards. So, I’ve created a 30 Day Mantra Challenge!

There’s a new mantra for every day of the 30 day challenge. Each day, focus your thoughts on the words. Repeat them to yourself as you get ready in the morning and during your work-outs. Let them wash over you as you take breaks, feel over-whelmed, or sit in traffic. Consider their power as you turn in for the night. Let’s get started…

Day 1. Today I let go of all that does not serve me.
Day 2. I choose to nourish my heart and mind.
Day 3. I choose compassion and kindness.
Day 4. I am loved.
Day 5. I feel abundance all around me.
Day 6. I feel abundance within me.
Day 7. Everything is working in my favor.
Day 8. The Universe is powerful and I exist within it.
Day 9. I trust in the power of the Universe.
Day 10. I am strong.
Day 11. I am grounded.
Day 12. I am connected.
Day 13. I send healing light to those in need.
Day 14. I align myself with my highest truth.
Day 15. I communicate with love and understanding.
Day 16. I open myself to the fullness of my power.
Day 17. I am enough.
Day 18. My mind is clear.
Day 19. This is my path towards a higher purpose.
Day 20. I connect and ask for guidance.
Day 21. I am grateful for this day.
Day 22. I am grateful for my body.
Day 23. I am grateful for my mind.
Day 24. I feel gratitude for the abundance all around me.
Day 25. I am graceful.
Day 26. I have the tools to overcome any obstacle.
Day 27. Practice and all is coming.
Day 28. I love and honor where I’m at today.
Day 29. Be brave.
Day 30. Find delight!

If you want to take your journey one step further, I’ve also prepared a FREE activity guide to augment each day’s mantra. Every day includes 3 action items – 1 to promote positivity, 1 to help with productivity, and 1 for focusing on self-care. If you’d like to nab a PDF of your very own activity guide – CLICK HERE.


In this multi-week series, #MantraMania, I’m laying the ground work for you to make mantras a part of your life. Here’s what we’ve covered:

  1. Do you use mantras?
  2. How to Incorporate Mantras in Your Daily Life
  3. Revealed: People Share Favorite Mantras
  4. A 30 Day Mantra Challenge to Welcome Positivity, Productivity, and Self-Care (+ FREE activity guide)

(em)POWER(ment) WALKING

My current fitness line-up involves a healthy mix of yoga, body-weight strength and flexibility training, ballet, and pilates. But my favorite way to get in a little movement has, and will always be, a good ol’ fashioned walk.

Lately, I’ve been thinking of my walks as EMPOWERMENT sessions. Here’s how:

For about the first two-thirds of my outing I listen to a podcast that gets me fired up. It could be about politics, business, or holistic health. (Call Your Girlfriend is one of my faves and I totally recommend it as an empowering walking companion!) Then, for the last third, I pump up the jams and my pace and just STRUT. IT. OUT. Think: Beyonce, Lady Gaga, and Fergie feat. Nicki Minaj. (Go wild, do you, etc.)

What streams through your earbuds when you go for a walk (or jog)? Do you like to get in a little learning with a podcast or do you prefer carefully curated playlists? Leave some recommendations of favorites below!! 

P.S. How to ditch your gym membership and how to make your own fitness challenge (for totally free).

How to… (one dozen super rad things I think you should do!)

how to do one dozen things

Y’all!

We’re in the dog days of Summer down here in South Florida. Heat index over 100 and daily afternoon thunderstorms that arrive out of nowhere and leave just as quick. It’s pretty bananas. So, Chet and I are escaping to Delray Beach for a few days. I’m going to sit my butt on the beach (with a couple good books + an iPhone full of podcasts), eat conch fritters, drink rosé, and soak in some #saltlife vibes.

I’ll get back to posting ’round these parts next week. But since you’re already here, why not stick around and check out some posts I pulled from the archives! Here’s how to do ONE DOZEN super rad things…

How to start a fascinating conversation with a friend (or stranger).

How to use stickers to stick to your goals. 

How to make a super cute calendar from burlap.

How to use jars for DIY wedding decor.

How to create the perfect care package. 

How to take meaningful breaks during long projects. 

How to give your office a style upgrade.

How to tap into the power of self-care.

How to work on your female friendships.

How to practice styling photos.

How to dance more.

How to pack for a weekend away in the Tom Bihn Synapse 19 + Side Effect.

I hope all of you have a wonderful week and I’ll see you back here soon! 🙂

P.S. If you have any posts (how-to’s or otherwise) you think I should tackle when I get back, LEAVE  YOUR IDEAS BELOW! Thanks. 

14 Ways to Take Meaningful Breaks

how to take meaningful breaks during long projects

As the queen of leaving projects to the last minute, I’ve learned a thing or two about how to settle in for the long haul without losing my mind. I think we’ve all been there. (Especially if you’re someone who enjoys working under pressure.) The rest of life got in the way in the weeks leading up to a deadline, and you find yourself chained to your laptop with a marathon’s worth of work to tackle.

My secret to making it out unscathed? Meaningful breaks.

Choose an amount of time (like 45 minutes to an hour), set a timer, and start ticking things off the to-do list without stopping. Then, when the time is up TAKE A BREAK (like for 15-30 minutes).

Related: A Formula for Perfect Productivity: Work for 52 Minutes, Break for 17 ]

Below, I’ve listed 14 meaningful breaks that I find helpful to cycle through as I hammer away on a project.

Take a shower.

This is especially helpful if you didn’t get a lot of great rest. Showers are like liquid sleep! Use a body wash like this one and breathe in deep. Massage your scalp as you lather up your hair. Get that blood flowing to your brain!

Fill up your water bottle.

Gotta stay hydrated! Fill up your favorite vessel and take time to drink as much as you like as you stare into space. Feelin’ fancy? Add some fruit or cucumbers or herbs and get a lil infusion action going.

Watch a YouTube video.

Sometimes you just need to switch your brain off for a few minutes. But turning on the TV or firing up Netflix may distract to the point of disaster. YouTube to the rescue! There’s a zillion different kinds of content to choose from (Cats! Makeup tutorials! Hydraulic press! Cooking miniature meals!) and most are a reasonable length. Go nuts for 10-15 minutes and then switch that brain back on.

Make a list of the day’s accomplishments.

I’ve mentioned this before, but a “shit I’ve already done list” can sometimes quell the panic of a seemingly insurmountable “shit I still need to do list.”

Eat a snack.

Go fix yourself something healthy to eat!

Love on your pet.

Taking care of someone else for a few minutes is a great way to snap out of it if you’re feeling like EVERYTHING IS THE WORST. So if you have a pet, go make sure they have food and fresh water. Take them outside to run or toss around a toy. Get out their brush for a lil grooming sesh. Give them lots of pets.

Head to your closet for a costume change.

I like to capitalize on the surge of productivity I feel as soon as I wake up…which usually means I’m in pj’s and then *whoops* several hours have gone by. So a simple costume change if you’re in my boat is to just go get dressed. But you can also change from your everyday clothes to workout clothes if you plan on working out later. Change from uncomfortable clothes to comfy ones. Or switch it up for a change of pace in the aesthetics department.

Handle a “personal admin” task.

You can’t press pause on life because you’re under a deadline. Reply to an email. Pay your phone bill. Grab groceries. Schedule that dentist appointment. You get the drift.

Work up a sweat.

One time, during a looooong (and boring) day of work-from-home projects, I did 10 push-ups/10 sit-ups/10 squats during every break. Not only did the time FLY by…but I was sore as heck the next day. Ha! For a less crazy approach, go for a jog outside or queue up a 30 min HIIT workout on YouTube. Roll out your yoga mat and stretch out.

Have a solo dance party.

Put on your favorite song and jam like no one’s watching. Because they aren’t. Repeat until you’re sufficiently pumped.

Tidy up a little.

Just like with the “personal admin” tasks, tackling a quick chore or two will feel like you’re accomplishing something…even when your BIG accomplishment for the day is hours away. I like to do the dishes or make my bed. (Which also helps to make your space feel more productive.)

Chat with another human being.

Working on a project solo can start to feel really isolating. Pick up the phone and catch up with a friend or meet a friend for a quick cup of coffee.

Switch up your surroundings.

Usually if I feel like I’ve hit a plateau, it’s time to pack up and head somewhere new. It’s amazing the second wind you can achieve just by heading to a second location!

Go for a walk.

Fresh air! Natural light! Even if you only circle the block, you might just have that break-through “A-HA!” moment once your legs are pumping and your mind is allowed to wander a little.

Over to you! What are your favorite ways to take meaningful breaks in the midst of a marathon work sesh? Share below!! xoxo 

P.S. 4 Career Building Tips for the Newly Hired and Let’s Talk Personality (Tests).

mid-week round-up

As I mentioned in my post yesterday, we ended up spending last week at home instead of in Louisiana. Boo! However, I did manage to get in some solid beach-time, do a little retail therapy, and devour the book Big Little Lies. (Have you watched the HBO adaptation yet? So good!!!) I’ve also been a busy little craftin’ bee! I made a few wreaths for a friend’s upcoming wedding, along with some Easter decor for the apartment. So I guess our cancelled trip wasn’t a total wash! What have y’all been up to? I hope you have a wonderful Wednesday, and here are some links for you to enjoy today (or bookmark for later)…

Equal pay is widely understood to be a feminist issue. So why isn’t the Fight for $15?

Related: The 78 Cents Project is a pro-bono resume consultancy
aimed at eradicating the gender wage gap.

The Pope Francis Laundry for homeless opens at the Vatican.

Stories from the almshouse records — women’s lives in in 1790’s NYC.

Stickers for every season. #obsessed

The place of food security in the battle over healthcare.

Budget freezer meals for the slow-cooker and oven!

Solid April line-up from Book of the Month.

Face massages are like pilates for your cheeks. (I’ve gotta start doing this! I feel like I carry a lot of tension in my face. Is that a thing?)

Related: How to make a baking soda face mask.

17 Spring looks with 12 clothing items you probably already have in your closet.

9 podcast episodes worth discussing.

Related: 8 podcasts to check out on your next road trip.

Curfews, sports, and understanding kids’ brain chemistry have all helped dramatically curb substance abuse in Iceland.

P.S. 2 Finding Delight posts you may have missed — 6 True-Crime Documentaries for Your Inner Detective and For the love of DOWNTON!

mid-week round-up

Good morning my delightful friends! How are you today? We started watching Big Little Lies last night. What an all-star cast! The characters are super compelling but I’m not sure if I’m in love with the format just yet. I’m certainly hooked enough to keep watching though! Tomorrow we’re headed to the aquarium and I CAN’T WAIT! Hope you all have beautiful days, and here are a few things you may enjoy reading…

The politics of conspicuous displays of self-care.

50 things you need to eat in Miami before you die.

I NEED this In Omnia Paratus poster in my life!

The true story of the American work force as told by nine folks in the trenches.

How to become an adult. 
“Suddenly realize that you are now older than your parents when they got married, older than your parents when they had a kid, maybe older than your parents when they had you, even. Notice the ages come and go at which you had always told yourself you would have various little boxes checked, see them fading behind you like road signs, and feel a mix of disappointment and empowerment: “No, I am not the person I promised myself. Yes, I actually like this person better.”

French cartoonist Pénélope Bagieu has taken a unique opportunity to correct public misperceptions about the life of Mama Cass.

Related: Adding California Dreamin’: Cass Elliot Before The Mamas and The Papas by Pénélope Bagieu to my Amazon Wishlist.

Also Related: Five Great Graphic Novels!

To the women of America — A warning and a rallying cry from Poland.

Betsy DeVos and the history of homeschooling. 

Never been to Tokyo? Here’s a crib sheet of stuff that is useful for your first trip. #goals

The baby in the plastic bag. #longform

A call to travel abroad…in your own country.
“I was a foreign correspondent for many years, work that involves the shedding of assumptions and absorption in place. To see what’s over here, you have to let go of what’s over there. Scott County, for coastal metropolitan Americans, is a foreign land. In a fissured nation, there are fewer and fewer moments of genuine encounter between rival tribes, each confined in its ideological canyon. So what could bring the country together, usher Brooklyn closer to Scottsburg?”

Working while female. 

P.S. A few Finding Delight posts you may have missed — Carol Rossetti’s Colorful Illustrations of Female Empowerment and Winter Wardrobe Pieces.