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Rejoice in Your Journey -
30-pick-me-ups

Bad days are bound to happen but they don’t have to stay that way forever. If you’re ever in need of ideas to pick yourself up on those not so bright days, look no further. Check out my list below of 30 pick me ups to make bad days suck a little less.

30 Pick Me Ups:

  1. Buy yourself fresh flowers.

  2. Visit your favorite spot in the city you live in.
  3. Wear matching bra and underwear. There’s a sense of pride and satisfaction knowing that you’re matching underneath.
  4. Scroll through funny memes and watch videos that make you laugh out loud.
  5. Be on the lookout for all the dogs that are sticking their heads out of windows and smile at how cute and carefree they are.
  6. Find an easy cooking video and attempt to recreate it.


    Savor every bite if it tastes good, laugh at yourself if your finished product is nothing like the video.

  7. Do something simple to make someone’s day & watch their face light up. (Give a compliment. Surprise a friend with their favorite drink.)
  8. Listen to Chance the Rappers’s song “Blessings.” Believe & prepare for the blessings that are on their way to you right now.
  9. Have a Harry Potter weekend and if you’re up for it, make your own butter beer.
  10. Re-watch movies from your childhood.
  11. Look for a cute coffee shop to sit in. 

  12. Diffuse some oils. Lavender and orange are proven to boost moods! 🙂
  13. Open some windows to let some fresh air and light in.
  14. Clean, rearrange, and redecorate a space you spend a lot of time in.
  15. Make a to-do-list with fairly easy tasks to give you a sense of productivity and accomplishment.
  16. Buy cute string lights and hang them in your bedroom.
  17. Find a quiet & cozy area. Turn on some calming music and write down as many blessings as you can in a journal. Currently, I listen to this when I’m writing in my gratitude journal. Apparently it’s for “children” but I personally find it super calming!
  18. Finally eat at that restaurant you’ve been wanting to try.

  19. Plan out a fun and simple day (walk in the park, day at the beach, trip to the farmers market, etc.) and experience + document it like it’s the best day of your life. take lots of pictures. notice all of the smells and sounds around you. go home and make a little scrapbook of your day.
  20. Go to Sephora and take home a bunch of makeup samples.
  21. TREAT YO’ SELF TO THAT MAKE UP PRODUCT YOU’VE BEEN EYEING! Do it! Do it!
  22. Get dolled up with your friends and go to a nice dinner for no reason other than to celebrate life.
  23. Call your parents and tell them how much you miss them. Plan a trip home and request your favorite home cooked meal.
  24. Get happy hour with a good friend and catch up on life. Make room for dessert.

  25. Write a letter to God. Be completely raw and honest.
  26. Drive in the car with the windows down and sunroof open.
  27. Listen to the bridge of “Do It Again” by Elevation Worship.
  28. Watch the sunset.
  29. Take a hike. Spend time in nature. Forget your troubles for a moment and get lost in the wonder and beauty of God’s creation.

  30. Remind yourself that this bad day will pass. Know that joy comes in the morning and a new day + fresh start is coming your way.

 

Love,

Mara

xoxo

 

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if-youre-knocking-on-his-door-he-aint-the-one

“If you have to knock on the door then it is not your door. Your door is OPEN.”

I love this quote. It can be applied to many different situations in life, but currently I find myself applying it to the realm of relationships. I hate to admit this, but I’m still having a hard time walking away from a relationship that ended at the start of June.

In fact, – figuratively speaking- , I frequently find myself  going back to our closed door, hoping that maybe he’ll answer and we can start over again if I  just keep knocking. Who am I kidding? I’m pounding on it. I’m ringing the doorbell. I’m leaving fruit baskets on his front porch and throwing rocks at his window in case he didn’t hear all the noise I’ve been making outside.

I know, I know. It sounds pretty pathetic. It is.

But you know what I’m finally realizing?

It’s that I should not have to be working this hard to get someone to open their door for me.

It closed for a reason.

It’s (still) closed for a reason.

If you find yourself in a similar situation where you, too, are knocking away at someones door, and it’s just not opening, trust me – he ain’t the one.

Because really, the right guy would have never made you knock at all.

The Right Guy

The right man will open the door before you can even knock, and he will gladly welcome you in. In fact, he’s probably sitting at his windowsill waiting for you to pull up from the driveway so he can get to the door before you do. Shoot, he probably even swept his porch and put a “Welcome Home” mat in front of the door. (I’m kidding. Partially.)

And when you go through that opened door, you may be pleasantly surprised by how fresh and clean everything is, and you’ll wonder why everything looks so nice and tidy. Girl, you wanna know why?! Because that man has been PREPARING. *insert clapping emoji* He’s been preparing for YOU. He already knew you were coming. He’s been praying and waiting for your arrival.

What’s For You is For You

I know this was a silly metaphor but in all seriousness, what I’m trying to say is there’s no knocking required for someone that is meant for you.

You will never have to beg or strive or change yourself in any way in order to make someone love you.

The right person will welcome you in exactly as you are.

So if you’ve been knocking  on a closed door of an old relationship and it continues to remain shut, or if you’ve been changing/putting in work just to get some guy to notice you.. take it as a sign that that door is simply not meant to open. And as much as we wish things were different, we need to remind ourselves that there are so many more doors waiting to be opened specifically by us. And these doors are not solely in the form of new relationships but new adventures, new friendships, and new opportunities for growth. If only we would take our attentions off the doors that are glued shut.

Remember: what’s for you is for you. It will never miss you because it is not intended for anyone else to receive.

Let’s take a break from all of our knocking and  trust that what’s meant for us is already on it’s way.

All my love,

Mara

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rejoicing-in-our-journey

What does it mean to rejoice in our journey?

For me, rejoicing in our journey means embracing every aspect of our life – from the magical, to the mundane, and even the messy parts we often try to hide.

It means being grateful for all of the wonderful moments and milestones we experience while also being grateful for the hard parts – the parts that involve frustration and heartache and loss. It means knowing that all of the parts we wish we could change are all being taken care of by our Creator, whether it be through a change in our circumstances, or a change in our hearts & our character. Usually it’s the latter.

Rejoicing in our journey means slowing down to savor the small moments.

It means loving the people around us and finding reasons to laugh.

Rejoicing in our journey requires us to find a new + refreshing sense of appreciation for our day-to-day routines.

It also calls us to be kind to ourselves for our past mistakes, and to show ourselves love for how far we’ve come.

My truth

One reason why I wrote this post today was to remind myself to rejoice in my own journey. I’ve entered into a new season of life and, if I’m being completely honest, I’m not exactly thrilled about it. I’m having a difficult time accepting the changes and letting go of certain things. But already I am learning that in the midst of deep sorrow, an equally deeper joy can be found… As long as our hearts remain open and receptive to let it flow in.

So cheers to this new season of life and cheers to the season you are currently in/are about to enter, my beautiful friend. Let’s give a toast to all of the growth that will arise and all of the new adventures to come.

I think my future posts will involve small updates of things I’m currently doing to rejoice in my journey. Stay tuned and make sure to check back next week 🙂

All my love,

M

What does rejoicing our journey mean to you?

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Hey, friends! Happy May!

While trying to come up with a new blog post for this week, it dawned on me that I never really formally introduced myself to you guys. So I thought hey, why not make this quick get to know me post? Well that, and I just really wanted to use my May pun before the month ended. Heh heh.

With that said, allow me to introduce myself. My name is Mara [mar – uh] and welcome to my little corner of the internet universe! I am a 20-something, obsessed with sugary sweets, to-do-lists, pretty lighting, and finding the beauty in every moment. I created this blog as a creative outlet for me to share my take on self improvement, personal growth, and other random things. If this is your first time on my page, welcome! I’m glad you stumbled upon my site. And if you’re a returning reader, welcome back!

Whoever you may be, keep on reading to find out more about me 🙂

11 Facts About Me:

1.) I’m a Filipino American born in the Philippines and raised in the PNW (Pacific Northwest) so naturally I love the trees, the green, the mountains, and yes, even the grey skies + rainy weather. What many people, even people who grew up in this area, call “ugly” or “gloomy,” I like to refer to as cozy weather 🙂 FIRM believer in West Coast, Best Coast.

2.) I am a very, very big introvert. So like most introverts, I love my solitude, spend lots of time in my head or looking inwards, and having my alone time to relax & recharge is KEY. I repeat, KEY. Any introverts reading this feel what I’m sayin?

3.) I am also a very huge homebody and would muuuch rather stay in with a few friends and play card games or Mario kart than go out to a bar or  a big social event.

4.) Puns are my favorite! They’re cheesy but I love ’em.  (If you’re a fan of puns or if you just like star wars, check out my first post).

5.) Collecting quotes is another one of my favorite things to do. I really struggle with putting my thoughts into words so when I find a quote that perfectly describes how I’m feeling, I’m just like, “YASSS, let me write that down real quick.” I kid you not, I have entire journals filled from front to back with nothing but quotes.

6.) My day job involves a lot of painting, drawing, running, science experiments, and lots of ridiculous conversations with little kids. It’s fun and chaotic and extremely tiring but at the end of the day I can’t complain. I really do love it.

7.) Within the past year, I’ve definitely become more of a morning person and will even wake up early on weekends. I love getting up while the house is still asleep to make some hot tea & a small breakfast, and then crawling back to bed for some quiet time. There’s just something about being up while everyone else is asleep that I really enjoy.

8.) Growing up my biggest fear used to be rejection but now my biggest fear is staying stagnant and settling for a life that does not involve living fully or pursuing my purpose/dreams.

9) I love love! Giving it, receiving it, seeing it, experiencing it, everything! On a semi-related, semi-random side note: My love language is words of affirmation immediately followed by taking me to places that serve unhealthy amounts of seafood.

10.) I think getting ready while watching make up tutorials/hauls is one of my favorite things to do, especially in the morning right before work. I swear it’s relaxing yet energizing and basically the equivalent of drinking a cup of coffee for me. If I’m not watching make up videos, you can find me listening to podcasts and sermons. My favorite podcast is The Friend Zone, and my favorite sermons are from Pastor John Gray and Pastor Steven Furtick – [listen to his latest one “Coming Out of the Drought” – SO good!!!] Seriously give them both a listen! Maybe I’ll make a future post with a list of all my favorite sermons + add notes?

11.) At this point in my life, the biggest desires of my heart are to:

  1. TRAVEL (i’m living this dream!)
  2. Live a life of adventure with the love of my life which I’m praying will be a man of god with a genuine & kind heart who makes me laugh until my stomach hurts. Oh, and to be happily married to this said man, haha. It doesn’t sound like a lot to ask for but tbh some days it feels like it. Also this is not to say that I want to get married anytime soon because I definitely don’t! Just some day.
    On another semi-random side note: I am waiting for the perfect moment to give the love of my life this mixed CD that I created a few years ago which I recently put together on Spotify to share with you guys because why not, haha. check it out here. 

 

And that concludes my 11 random facts about me. I hope you enjoyed this post and were able to learn just a tiny bit more about the girl behind the blog. Love you guys!

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are-you-taking-care-of-your-mental-garden

“Your mind is a garden, your thoughts are the seeds. You can grow flowers or you can grow weeds.”

I stumbled upon this quote recently and loved the concept of comparing our minds to a garden. The type of seeds we plant and choose to focus our attention on play a significant role in the overall health and vitality of our garden. When we plant seeds of positive thoughts, we tend to live a more happy and enjoyable life. In contrast, when we plant seeds of negative thoughts, our lives tend to feel unpleasant, heavy, or draining. In other words, whatever grows in our garden, grows into our reality. Therefore, we must be mindful of the things we choose to plant as they have a direct impact on the way we live and experience our lives.

What does your mental garden look like?

Is it fresh and lively, full of flowers in bloom? Is it rich in ripe vegetables, and filled with fruit bearing trees?

Or is your garden a sad looking thing, practically barren and scattered with weeds?

Remember, whatever grows in our garden, grows into our reality. Our thoughts manifest themselves into our everyday life. So depending on the type of seeds you plant, your life will be a direct reflection of it.

Friends, what type of seeds have you been planting? What type of thoughts have been consuming your mind as of late?

Are you taking care of your garden?

Or more importantly, how are you taking care of your garden? The way we tend our garden is just as important as the type of seeds we’re planting.

Here are 3 things to think about:

  • What are you watering your garden with?
  • What type of environment are you placing yourself in?
  • Are you regularly pulling out your weeds?

1.) What are you watering your garden with?

Are you watering your garden with anxiety, worry or fear? Or are you showering your seeds with love, encouragement, understanding, and forgiveness?

The way we choose to water our seeds plays a significant role in the growth of our garden and the flowers that bloom. If we want a garden that is colorful and lively, we must choose to water it with loving thoughts that nourish and empower us.

2.) What type of environment are you placing yourself in?

Check your soil, fam. Your soil is the people and environments you choose to surround yourself with. 

We need to be mindful of the environments we place ourselves in because of how easy it is for us to soak in the energy of our surroundings. The people we regularly choose to spend time with can influence our thoughts, beliefs, and actions. So be careful! If we hang around people that constantly complain, judge, gossip, or have absolutely no aspirations in life – we are more likely to pick up their negative habits, mannerisms or beliefs. Their negative energy will seep into your soil and into your life, and before you know it, your garden is withering because of all the toxins it soaked in.

That is why it is so vital to plant ourselves in healthy and conducive environments for our growth! If you surround yourself with genuine people who uplift, encourage, and inspire you to be better in addition to loving and accepting you for who you are, then you will bloom more freely and beautifully, and I guarantee you will experience greater growth.

3.) Get Rid of Your Weeds!

The last thing  we must do is pull out all our weeds! And to do so regularly.

Weeds sprout from seeds that hold negative thoughts and limiting beliefs about ourselves and others. Weeds can be envy, anger, hate, resentment, self-criticism, etc. The list is ugly and endless.

We can get rid of our weeds through:

  • prayer
  • mediation
  • positive affirmations
  • inspirational books
  • changing our perspectives
  • talking it through & receiving guidance from trusted friends and family

Weeds are bound to pop up. It’s expected! I mean… We’re human. Life happens. But we do have to make the choice to play an active role in the recognition and removal of our weeds. When we spot a weed, it’s our job to pluck it as soon as we can. It frees up our mind to think more clearly, rationally, and positively. If left unattended, weeds can suffocate and destroy our entire garden. As a result, our minds get clouded or chaotic, and our growth is hindered  – causing life to feel harder, less beautiful and less pleasant.

Take a stroll through your garden today and begin to pull out your stubborn weeds! Some will prove easier to pull out than others. Weeds that have been growing for years may have deeply embedded roots which may seem intimidating at first but do not let this stop you. Make the effort to pull them out anyway. Even if it means unearthing just a little bit each day.

And when you pull out the weeds, make sure you plant new positive seeds!

My hope is that everyone’s garden is lush, vibrant, and thriving! Hopefully this blog post gave you a few ideas on how you can check on and take care of your own mental garden.

What weeds do you plan to get rid of? What seeds are you going to plant instead?

Love,

Mara

xoxo

 

 

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changing-your-story

Have you ever been so deep in discouragement that you found yourself creating false narratives about your character, your life, or your circumstances?

I’m talking about those moments when life gets so difficult that you begin to believe and live out story lines like “I’ll never get that job,” or “I’ll always be a failure.” To be honest, I’ve been experiencing a lot of this lately. When things get tough, I start speaking life into hindering narratives like “I’ll never be good enough” (or clever enough or creative enough, etc.), and I’m never going to actually succeed in pursuing my passions or make my God-sized dreams come true. It’s not a fun feeling and it can be mentally draining at times.

Then I discovered that words have power. I realized that when I (wrongfully) believed and spoke negative narratives over my life, I acted in such a way that fulfilled those words. This realization caused me to reassess the stories I had been telling myself and to finally do something to change them. As a result, I have rewritten my inner dialogue so that it is healthier, more caring, and more empowering.

Friends, recognize that the words we choose to speak over our lives and the beliefs we have about our circumstances can affect our actions which in turn affects the way we live.

If you find yourself in a situation where you’re holding on to a false or harsh narrative that no longer serves you, I invite you to change the story you’ve been telling yourself. Let’s take out a fresh, clean page and fill it with kinder words and healthier plots that empower us to move forward.

Keep on reading to find out you can edit and rewrite your own story!

1.) Identify Your Narrative.

Before we change our story, we must first identify the inner dialogue we’ve been speaking over our lives. What stories have you been telling yourself? Maybe it’s something similar to the ones I mentioned earlier. Or maybe it’s something along the lines of:

  • “I’ll never be qualified enough”
  • “I’m always going to be in debt”
  • “I’ll never find love”
  • “Everyone is doing better than me”
  • “I’ll never live the life I want”

Regardless of what it is, once you’ve identified the narrative(s) that you’ve been telling yourself, reflect on how they make you feel. Frustrated? Defeated? Hopeless?

Now decide if it’s a story that you want to continue living out. If not, let them go. Release them from your life. Refuse to believe they hold any sort of truth. Toss ’em in the trash and give them a big fat “NOPE!” when they try to sneak back into the pages of your life.

After you’ve done this, it’s time to get started on replacing your outdated narrative with one that empowers you.

2.) Create a new story.

Just how do we go about changing our story  so that we can replace our old one? Simple – to change our story, we must change our perception of the story. This does not in any way mean we change the facts or the events of our current or past situations. Rather, it involves looking at our situation  from a different angle with a healthier perspective and a more loving lens. It means finding the good in our situation which might seem difficult at first, but know that some sort of good can always be found.

Changing our story to one that empowers us requires a more hopeful attitude about our current and future circumstances. It requires us to use a more understanding, and kind tone towards ourselves. It also involves a willingness to move the story forward.

Here are some things you can incorporate into your new story:

  • Acknowledge your old story and/or the feelings you had towards your circumstances.
  • Acknowledge that you no longer choose to feel that way.
  • You can take note of any things you were grateful for or learned while in that mindset.
  • Look at your circumstances from a different angle and put a positive spin on it.
  • Continue to gas yourself and look for all the good that flows from the new story you created!

It’s challenging to make an exact guideline for how to create a new story because I know everyone’s circumstances are so unique! These are just a few things I like to include when I create my new narratives. Continue reading to get a better idea of what it looks like to change your story.

EXAMPLE:

Let’s say you’ve experienced a few rejections from places you’ve applied to, and you’re now running on the narrative of “I always get rejected. I’ll never get the ____ of my dreams.” [fill in the blank – job, school, etc.]

Not true, boo. Let’s change our story!

Here’s an example of what you could say instead:

I might not have gotten the position I applied for, and although I feel sad and disappointed now, I know I gave it my everything and that’s all that matters. I’m SO proud of myself for all of the hard work and effort that I put in to trying to achieve my goals. I am choosing to see this “rejection” as a redirection towards what’s really meant for me. I know that whatever comes my way in the future will be an even better match for me and what I am seeking. I’m going to continue to work hard, and I am so excited to see what opportunities are on their way to me right now!

See how this new narrative just feels lighter, and more hopeful? In this new story, we were able to acknowledge the truth of what happened and our feelings towards the situation – not getting the position and feeling sad/disappointed. We found some good in the situation – being proud of the hard work that was put in. And lastly, we were able to change our perception of what happened by redefining rejection as a redirection towards something greater!

Note that this is just one example of how you can rewrite your story. There is not one way to do this! You can create your story however you’d like as long as it is one that moves you forward!

3.) Live Out Your New Narrative.

The final step is to live out your narrative. Believe in every single word and put actions behind them. Be intentional. Move deliberately. Live your life as if your new narrative is true because it is.

One last thing! I hope you also remember how strong and resilient and worthy the main character of your story is – You! Yes, you! You are extraordinary. Remind yourself of that as often as possible.

What stories do you plan on releasing from your life? What narratives are you planning on replacing them with?

I love you guys!

xoxo, Mara

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Uncategorized

The Feels

Feelin’ all the Feels

Do you ever have those days when you have all these feelings inside of you but you have no idea how to put them into words? Yeah, that’s me most of the time. And today is just one of those days. I’m in my feels, fam but I’m struggling to formulate any type of sentence so I’ve created this temporary post with a list of quotes that are just speakin’ to me.

“It’s funny. I still feel like a little girl. I’m still looking around to check and see what other people are doing to make sure I’m not completely different; I’m still looking around for help, hoping for a quick nudge and a whisper of advice. But I can’t seem to be able to catch anybody’s eye. Nobody else around me seems to be looking around and wondering what to do. Why is it that I feel like I’m the only person who is confused and concerned about the choices I’ve made and where I’m headed?” – Cecilia Ahern

“As I grow older, much older, I will experience many things, and I will hit rock bottom again and again. Again and again I will suffer; again and again I will get back on my feet. I will not be defeated. I won’t let my spirit be destroyed.” – Banana Yoshimoto

“No one warns you about the amount of mourning in growth.” – Te V. Smith

“I’m fighting myself. I know I am. One minute I want to remember. The next minute I want to live in the land of forgetting. One minute I want to feel. The next minute I never want to feel ever again.” – Benjamin Alire Sáenz

“Painful feelings are, by their very nature, temporary. They will weaken over time as long as we don’t prolong or amplify them through resistance or avoidance. The only way to eventually free ourselves from debilitating pain, therefore, is to be with it as it is. The only way out is through.” – Kristin Neff 

“The truth is this:
Love is an organic thing.
It rots and softens.”
Clementine Von Radics 

“Occasionally weep deeply over the life you hoped would be. Grieve the losses. Then wash your face. Trust God. And embrace the life you have.” – John Piper

“Someday you’re gonna look back on this moment of your life as such a sweet time of grieving. You’ll see that you were in mourning and your heart was broken, but your life was changing…” – Elizabeth Gilbert

“The difficult and the slow moving things eventually, eventually bear more fruit than anything.  Do not give up.  Do not stop praying.  God will keep you moving forward. It’s the only good way. The only way we can grow, and we will.”

“Hang on. It gets easier and then it gets okay 
and then it feels like freedom.”

“If you love deeply, you’re going to get hurt badly. But it’s still worth it.” – C.S. Lewis 

 

Image result for feelings meme

 

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self-care-ideas-that-go-beyond-pampering-yourself

For many people, when they hear the word “self-care” they tend to instantly associate the term with things like taking a trip to the spa, getting a manicure, putting on a face mask, or going on a mini shopping spree. While I have absolutely nothing against any of those activities (aka I literally just bought a bundle of face masks off Amazon/I love me a good massage), I believe there are other self-care practices that are just as nourishing and go beyond simply pampering or treating yourself.  And so I’ve created this list to give you a few self-care ideas that you might not have thought of right off the bat. Keep on reading to find out how you can practice and incorporate them into your life today.

1. Let yourself feel fully.

So many of us walk around holding in our hurt and denying ourselves from feeling what we actually feel. We lie to ourselves and the people around us when they ask us how we’re doing and if everything’s going okay. It is a burden to silently carry around this weight and what I’ve learned is that hiding our hurt only heightens our pain. Eventually, things build up and we burst from all the feelings we’ve been trying to bury.

Today I encourage you to take a moment and grant yourself the freedom to feel deeply, thoroughly, and honestly. Feeling sad? Cry it out, baby girl. Cry it out. Let those tears flow out and cleanse you. Feeling angry? Yell into a pillow. Go on a long drive. Blast some music. Scream the words until you lose your voice. Whatever emotion you’ve been holding in, take a deep breath and allow yourself to feel it fully.

2. Brain Dump Your Feelings.

Open up a word document and type out every raw emotion you are feeling and then delete it. Or…  Grab a piece of paper and write down every raw emotion you are feeling and then throw it away. Or shred it. Or burn it if that’s what floats your boat.

Doesn’t matter which route you take as long as you’re finding a  place to set your thoughts and feelings down. When we release and relocate these thoughts elsewhere, our minds begin to feel lighter and less cluttered. We create more room for our minds to breathe and we can choose to fill all the extra space with healthier thoughts. I promise you will find so much relief in just laying it down.

Tip/Side-story: Be careful when you burn the paper if you decide to go with this option. There was a time in college where my best friends & I did just this – wrote down all of our feelings on a piece of paper and lit the corner of it with lighter. We were by a lake and well… long story short, I was a little startled at how quickly the fire was burning the paper and instead of simply throwing some water on it, I actually jumped into the lake. *face palm*

3. Try These Journal Exercises.

  • Create a list of at least 3 things you’re thankful for each day. They can be something as big as getting a promotion or as small as having someone hold the door open for you. Add something new everyday. Look back on them from time to time.
  • Think of 3 nice things people have said about you. Choose one to fully believe. Sit with it for a moment and smile.
  • Think about some of the things you like about yourself. Don’t be modest. Did you think of one? Good. Let it fill you up. Take pride in your amazing qualities. Go ahead. Love on yourself and do it shamelessly. Gas yourself up. Celebrate you.
  • Make a list of things you were proud of / loved about yourself today.
    • Did you have a good hair day? Did you do a random act of kindness that no one else saw? Do better on a test than you thought you did? Write it down! There may be days when you find it challenging to think of anything  you were proud of/ loved about yourself. Sometimes the only thing I’ll be proud of is the fact that I got out of bed. Maybe you can relate to that. Realize that this, too, deserves a celebration.

4. Schedule a time everyday to do an activity that you enjoy. 

Whether it be reading, dancing, grabbing coffee with a friend or catching up on sports highlights – make it a priority in your everyday routine to schedule some downtime. And when I say schedule, I truly mean schedule. Find a designated time to do this activity and then do it. No matter how busy you may be, it’s essential that you pencil in a time in your day to do an activity that allows you to step back from the chaos and stress of whatever you’re doing and simply unwind. Even if 10 minutes are all you have, use those few minutes to de-stress and recenter!

ALSO… Do not, I repeat, do not feel guilty for taking time to do fun or relaxing things you enjoy doing. Sometimes we get stuck in this work work work mindset that we begin to feel bad when we take breaks because we could be doing something more “productive” instead. I know I feel this way often. We just have to remind ourselves that when we take a few minutes to step back, breathe and do things we enjoy, we come back feeling refreshed, refueled, and ready to take on whatever is next on our to-do-list. So if you think about it, we’re really doing ourselves and those around us a favor!

5. Read uplifting quotes, affirmations, or bible verses.

Because encouraging words are good for the soul and an enormous amount of comfort can be found in words that make you feel hopeful and less alone.

Here are a few of my favorite quotes:

If you saw the size of the blessing coming, you would understand the magnitude of the battle you are fighting.

Something will grow from all you are going through and it will be you.

On your worst days do not look in the mirror and call yourself pretty. Call yourself trying, call yourself surviving, call yourself learning how to get through a day, a week, a month, or year. Call yourself still learning. – Meggie Royer

Close your eyes and imagine the best version of you possible. That’s who you really are. Let go of any part of you that doesn’t believe it. – C. Assaad

My favorite affirmations:

My favorite affirmations of all time come from Brittany Josephina. Her energy is infectious and her words are infused with so much love and light. I can’t help but feel excited about life when I read her words. Head over to her twitter, @brittanyphina, stalk all of her tweets and watch yourself fill up with excitement and walk away feeling empowered.
 

A few of my favorite bible verses:

“For we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him who have been called according to his purpose.” – Romans 8:28 (NIV)

“Therefore I tell you, whatever you ask for in prayer, believe that you have received it, and it will be yours.” – Mark 11:24 (NIV)

“But blessed is the one who trusts in the Lord, whose confidence is in him. They will be like a tree planted by the water that sends out its roots by the stream. It does not fear when heat comes; its leaves are always green. It has no worries in a year of drought and never fails to bear fruit.” – Jeremiah 17:7-8 (NIV) 

“Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.” – Philippians 4:6-7 (NIV)

6. Have a good laugh.

Sometimes we get so tense and caught up in the seriousness of life that we forget how joyful and funny it can be. If you haven’t already, take some time out of your day to just laugh!

Laughing simply FEELS GOOD. Seriously, what’s better than a hearty belly aching laugh? Not to mention, laughing has a long list of health benefits like relieving stress, easing anxiety, lowering blood pressure, and reducing pain.

So go on. Scroll through some funny memes and videos. Meet up with a friend that always cracks you up. Re-watch that episode of your favorite show that will never not be funny (For me that’s Impractical Jokers, Friends, or New Girl). Just have a good laugh!

Conclusion

That’s all, friends! As you can see, there are a number of different ways to practice self-care that go beyond just pampering yourself. I hope this post encouraged you in some small way to either try out one of these ideas or to come up with your own unique self-care idea to implement into your own life. 

What’s your favorite form of self-care? Do you have any other ideas on how we can practice self-care beyond pampering? 

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how-and-why-you-should-make-vision-board

Friends, if there’s one thing I was a little iffy about but now swear by, it’s vision boards.

After creating a vision board for the first time last year and having everything – and I mean everything – on it come true, I knew I HAD to make another one. I’m not kidding. I SWEAR BY THEM! If you don’t believe me, check out my 2016 vision board from last year.

What is a vision board?

A vision board is a mosaic of inspiring visuals (pictures, quotes, photographs) that help you focus your attention to the dreams and goals you have for your life.

Why should I make one? 

Vision boards are the perfect way to visually remind yourself daily of the dreams and goals that you have.

When you look at your vision board, your mind responds strongly to the visual images and stimulates emotions you associate with those images. In turn, these emotions strengthen your desire to achieve or attain your goals. When your desire is strengthened, your motivation is strengthened as well. Thus, you become more inspired to take action and work towards the goals on your board.

Seriously, guys. TRY IT! Now is the perfect time to create a vision board and set the tone for the rest of the year. It’s not too late to create one for yourself!

THINGS YOU’LL NEED:

  • Poster or Cork board
  • Scissors, glue, tape, and/or pins
  • Magazines, photos, or any pictures you find online

Step 1: Set aside a time and space to create your board.

Have fun with it! You can grab some wine, call up some of your girlfriends and have a little vision board party. Or you can find a quiet space, light a candle, and turn on some soothing music.

Step 2: Reflect and set your intentions.

Before you start, take some time to reflect on how you want to feel and what you want to accomplish this year. What do you want to experience, achieve, or become? Visualize your ideal life. If you need some ideas, you can break down your goals into categories. Think about what you desire in your relationships, career, finances, health, travel, spirituality, etc.

Step 3: Gather pictures and words that spark positive feelings!

Once you’re settled and ready to go, take the time to flip through magazines or gather pictures from the internet. Pick out images and key words that spark positive feelings within you and also align with the dreams and visions you have for yourself this year. I also really love finding quotes or mantras that inspire me and will sometimes hand write them myself to put on my vision board.

Ask yourself how you want to feel this year and try your best to create a board that reflects that! So if you want to feel confident or sucessful, choose words and images that ignite that feeling within you. If you want to feel happy, find pictures that make you smile.

Here’s a closer look at some of the words I chose to put on my board. This year I wanted to feel inspired and empowered so I tried to find words and images that reflected that.

Tip: Be mindful of the pictures you put on your board! Focus on gathering images that incite JOY and stir up POSITIVE feelings rather than images that trigger icky feelings like comparison or jealousy.

For example: You might stumble upon a picture in a magazine of your ideal body but if that picture causes you to feel worse about yourself or shameful about your own body, don’t use it! Simply turn the page and keep looking until you find a picture that generates more positive feelings.

Step 4: Glue everything onto your board!

After you’ve gathered all of your pictures and images, glue (or pin) them on to your board! Arrange the pictures in any way you’d like.

Step 5: Place your vision board in a place where you’ll see it everyday.

Remember – this board is meant to be a constant and tangible reminder of all the delicious things you are inviting into your life. Put it in a place where you can look at it often. THIS IS IMPORTANT! Otherwise you’ll forget about it, lose your motivation, and it’ll just sit and collect dust. Kinda like the treadmill in my bedroom. (Oops!)

And voila!

Follow these simple steps and you’ll have your very own vision board in no time. Don’t forget – put the board where you can look at it every day and take that extra step to reflect on it regularly. Ask yourself – what am I doing now to achieve those goals? What improvements can I make in this present moment that will help me get closer to those goals? Then TAKE ACTION! On top of that, continue visualizing, affirming, and believing whole-heartedly that all of the wonderful things on your vision board are making their way into your life because they are!

Happy Vision Board making, friends!

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2016 Vision Board

You might’ve ended up here because you clicked the link from my Vision Board post and thought, “Everything came true on her board? Pfffft. Yeah, okay.”  Insert eye roll and questioning face emoji.

But yes! It’s true, fam! Everything did come to life so I’m making this post to show you some of the awesome things that I put on my board and actually got to experience this year.

This corner of my board represented my desire to get a little more serious about my walk with God. I did several things to deepen my walk but one thing that stands out is the time I took a huge step outside of my comfort zone and finally joined a small group at my local church.

Okay. Not gonna lie. I literally scoffed at myself when I glued these words onto my board. I was like,”Hmm… GIRL… you sure…? Because how tho… LOL.” I laughed at myself, fam. But sure enough, I glued it down anyways and…

All I have to say is God came thru and summer was a big blessing for me!

GET SOME REAL PLANTS

I wanted some real life plants and look what sprouted into my life. I will say though that I actually really suck at taking care of plants and I opted for fake ones later in the year.

EXPLORE

TRAVEL & ADVENTURES

Hawaii 

California

TO BE MORE VULNERABLE

This one was personal. After reading the book Daring Greatly by Brene Brown, I was both terrified yet fully convinced in the beauty and power of vulnerability and knew that this was something I wanted to work on last year. This was difficult for someone like me who can be very reserved and guarded, but I learned that there is courage in coming as you are,  and there is strength in sharing your truths even if your voice shakes and your stomach turns. and I learned that when you do this – when you show up with an honest heart and stand before others exactly as you are with your imperfect and authentic self – you create a space for other people to do the same.

To be honest, this post and this blog in it’s entirety is a continuity of my efforts to share my passions and be more vulnerable. It is a very scary thing spending so much time creating these posts and then asking people to check them out, especially when I post on platforms that open the door to ridicule and judgement. So if you’ve made it this far or if you’ve read any of my other posts know that I appreciate it so so much and I am sending you the biggest thank you from the bottom of my heart.

I love you guys and I hope you enjoyed this! 🙂

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