5 ways to make life a little sweeter this january

5 ways to make life a little sweeter this january

Most years, I do not enjoy wintertime. I am usually partial to warm weather, sunshine, and beaches. However, this year I have been enjoying winter way more than usual! Maybe it is just getting older, but I have been relishing the cold and the coziness. If you are someone who counts down the days until spring, I would encourage you to try embracing this chilly month and making the most if it. Here are 5 ways I am making life a little sweeter this January:

1. Listen to feel good music while you work.

One of the ways I put a little pep in my step is to listen to upbeat music while I write lesson plans (I’m a teacher), especially when it looks extra dreary outside. Whenever I am on my planning period, I typically pop in my headphones and give myself a burst of energy with happy tunes while I work. This makes me feel motivated and alert.

2. Wear comfortable shoes.

I am just a happier person when I wear comfortable shoes. When I am in my ED by Ellen DeGeneres sneakers (best shoes in the world y’all) I am 20x more likely to have an awesome day. I can bounce around, light on my feet, and feel free and flexible.

3. Start an at-home yoga practice.

Yoga with Adriene keeps me moving through my days with intentionality and awareness. Each January she guides viewers through a free 30-day yoga practice. It’s not too late to begin TRUE, her latest yoga journey! It is for all levels and free on YouTube. Give it a go!

4. Add more fruits and veggies to your diet.

It can be so easy to coast through January on indulgences. But you will feel so much better adding in an extra serving of fruit and veggies in your day, especially if you are less active than you would be in the warmer months.

5. Go for a brisk walk.

Sometimes, there is nothing more refreshing than crisp winter air in your body. Even if it is cold out, getting outside for even 10 minutes each day will enliven your spirits! Just this morning I took a short, bitter stroll in the snow in Centennial Park, but it was totally worth it just to leave the house for a bit.

How are you feeling this winter?! Tell me how your January is going in the comments!

Love, Bee

Pre-Order Tennessee’s Best Emerging Poets

Pre-Order Tennessee’s Best Emerging Poets

I am super excited to announce that I will have a poem published in Z Publishing House’s Tennessee’s Best Emerging Poets. I have been writing poetry since I was in middle school and even majored in English/Creative Writing with a poetry emphasis in college. Writing poetry is not my career, but it’s always been how I express myself and deal with most emotions, stresses, and situations in life. I love reading poetry just as much and think the power of a poem can make you feel a million different things at once, or simply sit with a new feeling or perspective.

You can pre-order the book here. I would be so thrilled if you did! Even if you think poetry isn’t your thing, I’m convinced that you just haven’t found the right poet or the right poem yet. Consider giving this book a try, and at the very least, celebrate this little accomplishment with me.

Love, Bee

4 things I’m not shopping for (and the 1 that I am) in 2018

4 things I’m not shopping for (and the 1 that I am) in 2018

After reading Ann Patchett’s “My Year of No Shopping” in the New York Times, I started thinking about the reality of not shopping for an entire year. Would I want to do that? Could I? It sounded liberating to me – a year without more stuff. And yet, what would I do if I needed something? Worse, how would I handle it if I wanted something? Still, this idea – this saving of both time and money – really appealed to me.

And so, I concluded that I would give it a go, on my own terms. First, I would eliminate the “want” this year by not browsing. I figured, if I was not whimsically shopping – if I did not visit any retail sites or stores – I would not see anything to buy and thus would not want to buy anything. That, I think, is the key to this goal. Removing exposure. Not shopping. Then, I decided I would allow myself to buy something, only if I really needed it.

 

Here are the 4 things I’m not shopping for in 2018:

Clothes/Shoes

…unless I need something for my trip to Europe (more on that below). I’m not going to type in asos.com on my computer this year on a whim. I will only buy something if it will make my trip easier and more pleasant (like comfy shoes).

Books

…until I finish the ones I have already bought. Too often, I shop for books when I still have recently purchased ones that I need to read!

Beauty items

…until every half-empty item in my bathroom has been used. I know you feel me. There are all kinds of partially-used lotions and washes hiding under my sink. I put them there because I did not “like” them. But you know what – those things are fine. And I’m using them.

Home goods

There’s no “until” or “unless” here. I can be bad about buying an excess of candles and mugs and cute things for my home. I love home goods. But I know that I do not and should not need anything new this year. I just moved into a new apartment last spring and bought all sorts of things for it. It is going to be hard, but I know I should be just fine not buying anything new for my home in 2018.

 

Here is the 1 thing I am spending money on in 2018:

Travel & Experiences

I have a significant trip to Europe planned for this summer (!!!) and that is my priority. I will spend all sorts of time browsing accommodation, restaurants, and activities for this trip. By saving money on clothes, books, beauty and home items, I know I’m going to save – in part to increase my savings – and so that I can make my dream Europe trip a reality!

 

So far I have succeeded with this list, and I am determined to keep it up the whole year! How you are prioritizing your time and money in 2018?!

Love, Bee

8 Ways to Alter Your Life in 2018

8 Ways to Alter Your Life in 2018

Pictured Above: Parnassus Books

For the most part, New Year’s Resolutions can be unrealistic. They are often lofty goals such as “eat healthier” or “work out every day” without a plan and can easily lead to nothing. I have been thinking often about how to take resolutions and actually start fresh and plan to be my best self in the new year. Here’s what I’ve come up with:

 

1. Create a Habit.

It isn’t enough to say you’ll work out 5 times a week. How are you going to do it? Habits are created by performing the same task when something triggers you. For instance, maybe you’ll exercise as soon as you get home from work. To form a habit, you need to consistently exercise at that precise moment. It helps to have some sort of closure after completing the task, like a reward. Perhaps as soon as you finish exercising, you have a snack. Thus, the task is bookended – it begins with a trigger and ends with a reward. And the task becomes a habit.

2. Be Intentional.

Once you’ve set a goal, avoid going through your new task (like exercising) with the mindset of, “I need to get through this.” If you force it and complete it mechanically, you won’t feel positive or excited about it. Notice what you’re doing. Be aware of your thoughts, feelings, and emotions while you are exercising (or eating healthy, or meditating, or anything else). This is something I’ve learned through yoga – not to go through the motions, but to be intentional with every move I make.

3. Treat Yourself with Kindness.

Being kind to yourself is just as important to being kind to others. If you slip up, simply be aware of it. Acknowledge that you slipped up, and try to create a new habit. Maybe change the time of day if it wasn’t work for you. Alter what you need to. Self-love, y’all.

4. Eliminate Distractions.

It is so easy to go down the technological rabbit hole – whether it be Instagram or Buzzfeed or Internet browsing. I have started setting a timer on my phone for the length of time that I am allowed to browse, like, and comment on Instagram. As a blogger, I could spend all the time in the world on that app. While it’s important to make connections and expand your network, it can easily creep into most of your day and eliminate extra time when you could be completing that yoga video or writing that novel you’ve been dreaming about.

Try timing yourself for any number of minutes that suits you and when the timer goes off, force yourself to close the app and move on with your day. If you erase even 20 minutes of every day that you spend on social media, that 20 minutes becomes 140 minutes per week and 7,300 minutes (over 121 hours) per year.

Time is precious. Be aware of how you spend it and with whom you spend it. Which brings me to…

5. Be Present.

When loved ones are in the room, and they’re talking to you, put your phone down. Look them in the eye. Your phone is not your priority. People are. You’ll regret the time you wasted on your phone instead of being present with the people around you.

6. Read More.

Reading books opens the world for us. Whenever I get into a groove of reading a lot, I feel like a better person. I feel as though my perspective has expanded. I feel more empathetic, more caring, and more aware of the world around me. Reading is one of the most valuable and important ways that you can enrich your life.

7. Immerse Yourself in Nature.

You know the benefits of spending time in nature. Taking a walk outdoors is one of the best ways to refresh your body and mind. It’s also an opportunity to meditate – Did you know you can meditate even when you’re walking?

8. Give to the Universe.

You get out what you put in. Wish everyone well who you meet. Seize opportunities to make others feel good. If anything or anyone is bringing you down, let it go.

 

2018 is here. And I have a feeling it’s going to be a good one.

Love, Bee

New Year Reflections

New Year Reflections

Pictured above: Elsie, running carefree through the park

I tried to write a post yesterday, on New Year’s Day, and found that I didn’t have the words for what I wanted to say. To be frank, I’ve never really liked New Year’s Eve or Day. The end of the Christmas season generally puts me in a gloomy state, and another year’s close feels so bittersweet. Plus, there’s the loom of returning to work the very next day after a relaxing and joyful break.

Yesterday, I went through my day with great nostalgia. I went to see Lady Bird (highly recommend) and teared up throughout the whole film (even though I am usually not a movie crier). I went to the grocery, I talked with loved ones, I sat alone, and no matter what I did I couldn’t shake the feeling of being a little lost and down, simply because of the close of one season of life and the opening of another.

I told my boyfriend, “I just feel like time goes so fast.” And he, who is always very light and genuinely optimistic, said, “Yeah. There’s nothing we can do but enjoy every day.”

It’s a sentiment that is clichéd, but he’s right. Although I’ve heard this time and again, hearing him say it, on New Year’s Day, resonated with me in a new way. I’ve been thinking about it throughout my day, as I sleepily returned to work this morning, and throughout the evening.

For me, it means being aware of my feelings and being okay with them. I might always feel a little sad on New Year’s Day. It’s not wrong, and it’s not something I should fight. It always fades.

I also think that this enjoyment of every day means increasing my awareness for what is positive and for which I am grateful, each day. It means expressing that in gratitude and love for others.

And so, my key New Year’s Resolution this year is to write down one positive thing that happens daily. I won’t just think about it – I’ll actually write it down. I already journal each night, so this should be an easy addition.

As opposed to setting lofty goals about eating healthy and working out, I want to be aware of when I do these things and recognize them with gratitude. For instance, instead of being hard on myself for not exercising one day, I’ll shift my focus to something encouraging that happened. And when I do, I’ll celebrate it.

Perhaps by this intentional observance of the every day, by next year, I’ll find some positivity on New Year’s Day, and even be able to enjoy the holiday with newfound optimism and a fresh perspective.

Love, Bee

P.S. This brings me back to a post I wrote a few months ago entitled The Beauty of Impermanence. If you enjoyed this post, check it out for a little related reading. : )