When I decided to pursue self-employment in July 2017, I always knew it would be a bumpy ride. I didn’t have a solid business plan or any real clue how I would make it work, but I knew it was the right step. So far, entrepreneurship has challenged me mentally, physically, and emotionally and has taught me the true meaning of self-discipline. Despite the ups and downs of the past few months, I’ve maintained one priority that fuels my work: self-care.
As entrepreneurs, business owners, side hustlers, and bloggers, it’s easy to put our work before anything else. It’s easy to tell ourselves, “I should be working instead of x, y, or z.” Of course, we want to feel like we’re making progress and not staying stuck in the same place for too long.
That being said, we desperately need to take time for ourselves and to peel ourselves away from our projects and the tasks that never end.
As your fairy blog mother (ha!), I want other entrepreneurs to know that it IS possible to build your business while practicing self-care at the same time. I want your business to thrive as much as you do which means you need strategies and tools to avoid burning yourself out.
Even if you’re not an entrepreneur, I’m sure you’ve experienced some form of guilt around taking time for yourself. If so, this post is for you. And if you’ve ever said, “I don’t have time for self-care” or “my work is more important than self-care”, this post is for you too.
In this post, I’m going to talk about:
why entrepreneurs often struggle to balance self-care and work
the two things you NEED to focus on in order to practice self-care as an entrepreneur
five action steps you can take to keep up the self-care momentum
The Struggles of Self-Care
No matter what your situation is, lack of time is the most common excuse for not practicing self-care.
Full-time entrepreneurs most likely experience the struggle of never-ending tasks. The more time you have in a day, the more you feel the need to fill it with tasks (even if they’re not super important tasks). When you have more time in your day, it becomes harder to prioritize. It’s a nice problem to have, but it requires self-discipline to not constantly be working on any idea that pops into your head.
On the other hand, if you’re a part-time, side-hustling entrepreneur whose schedule is dictated by someone else (your boss, the 9-5, etc), you’re going to have a lot less time to work on your passion projects. You have to wake up early, go to bed late, or work during your lunch break in order to get your blog/business tasks done.
I get it. Time IS a factor. But the biggest hurdle to overcome here is your mindset around self-care.
When I asked fellow entrepreneurs and bloggers about their self-care struggles, a lot of the answers revolved around ‘guilt’:
“Feeling guilty for spending time on self-care when you should be hustling.” @justbreatheOK
“The guilt of spending time on me rather than work.” – @nikitajvyas
“Feeling like you haven’t done enough “productive” work so self-care feels like it’s not earned.” – @BagsWerePacked
So many people said they feel guilty if they ‘indulge’ in self-care. There was a theme of feeling like we “should” be filling our time with work instead of self-care.
I’ve said similar things to myself many times:
“Oh, I could spend this 30 minutes checking something off of my to-do list instead of reading this book that I’m really into.”
“Oh, I should be getting up earlier instead of sleeping so that I can get to work right away.”
When you have a business or side hustle, there is always something MORE that could be done. It’s the nature of the work. Nothing is ever truly done. Sacrificing your health to try and get more done is not going to result in your business’ success.
Creating content that comes from an unfocused, burnt out, lethargic state WILL never compare to work that comes from a place of inner alignment. If you don’t take the time to take care of your health, the quality, consistency, and creativity of your work will cease to exist.
You have to take care of yourself in order for your business to thrive. Click To Tweet
The Two Greatest Self-Care Factors
If we want to make self-care a priority within our businesses and our lives, we have to focus on two things: 1) mindset and 2) time management.
1. Shift Your Mindset Around Self-Care
No matter how much time you have in your schedule, you will never make self-care a priority if you do not believe that it’s just as important as your work.
When I launched my first program in December, I worked myself to the ground to pull it together. That week, I let go of the self-care practices I usually did (yoga, meditation, walking, journaling) and everything unfolded.
I remember the Tuesday I was launching it, I spent the night anxious beyond belief, worrying myself about getting things ‘perfect’. I literally threw up in the middle of the night because of how anxious I was. The irony of the whole situation is that the program is called 21 Days of Calm. LOL.
Beyond that instance, I’ve been trying really hard to create a business plan that is not based on the hustle mentality.
My goal is to run a business that allows me to keep my mind as blissful as possible.
If I wasn’t doing that, I would be going against my own values. If I’m not following through on the actions that make up the ENTIRE focus of my blog (self-care, mindfulness, etc), then I have no business telling you how to do it.
Now, self-care might not a current value of your business. But if you are doing this alone, remember that you have to take care of yourself in order for your business to thrive. There is no room for “feeling guilty” about it.
You have to decide the reason behind practicing self-care in terms of your business. Think about these things: How will practicing self-care help your business? When you are in a clear mental space, how can you help your customers? What will you be able to achieve if you are thriving instead of surviving?
After (and only after) you’ve figured out the mindset stuff, we need to focus on time management.
Before I became self-employed, I was juggling a full-time job, grad school, and a blog. Now, I’m juggling a business, a contract part-time job, and volunteer drill team coaching.
Though I do have more flexibility than most people, I don’t have all the time in the world. I make self-care work around this because, no matter what, self-care is one of the biggest priorities in my life. In my mind, I KNOW it’s important.
If you create your own hours every day, it’s your job to schedule in time for self-care. No one else is going to do it for you. You have to define what it looks like to practice self-care and how you can make it work with the hours you have.
If you don’t create your own hours and use your free time to work on your business/blog/etc., you’re going to have to get REALLY disciplined with your time. Set specific times for when you’ll start and stop work. Avoid distractions so you can get stuff done but still have time left for self-care.
And if you still don’t feel like you have time for it, it’s because you don’t consider it a priority. And if it’s not a priority right now, then so be it. But if it’s something you truly want to make part of your life, you’re going to have to sacrifice some time somewhere else.
Hopefully you get where I’m coming from when I talk about prioritizing mindset and time management. To help you out even further, here are some suggestions for smaller, actionable steps you can take right away:
Spend time away from technology
We all spend too much time on technology, but entrepreneurs especially need breaks from screens. Not only do you need breaks from the glare, it’s important to get away from the ideas of other people. I’m sure you spend as much time consuming content as you do creating it, so make sure you are not getting swept up in other people’s ideas and opinions. It’s also important to take a step away from every message or email you might get from people. Create boundaries around the times when you’ll be able to respond.
Get together with people within your niche and those who have nothing to do with it. A fresh perspective can give you a much-needed break away from your own bubble. Get away from your desk, meet up with a friend or new person, and talk about everything that doesn’t relate to your business. Don’t forget that there is more to life than your work, especially human connection.
Self-care is your opportunity to serve yourself. As entrepreneurs, we often put the needs of others above our own because we are creating for others. Self-care is your time for self-love, self-reflection, and self-discovery. This will help you serve yourself so that you can serve others (or not. Be selfish for once). It’s especially easy to feel like you need to tend to other people’s problems first. This is part of customer service. But you also need to carve out time in the day for yourself when you don’t have to deal with emails, messages, or requests.
The only way that I’ve stayed consistent with self-care is because it’s ingrained into my routine. It takes me 30-40 minutes in the morning to meditate, workout, eat breakfast, and journal. If you’re low on time, figure out which self-care activity is the most important for you (e.g. taking a bath vs. working out). Make time for that one thing instead of thinking you need an elaborate self-care action plan.
Hunched over your desk? Check your posture. Stretch often so your body doesn’t morph into a chair-like shape. Remember to eat at regular times – keep snacks at your desk! Drink more water than coffee. Oh, and don’t forget that shower! These little things can start to slip away if we don’t pay attention to them.
For those who have chosen to take this roller-coaster ride called entrepreneurship, you’re amazing. You just have to put in the extra effort to be super consistent with your actions. After all, you are making sacrifices with your time. You’re putting in more effort than a lot of other people because you want to create life on your terms. So, are you creating your own life or are you being a slave to your work? Remember that self-care fuels your dreams.
Lately, I’ve been feeling a tad bit burnt out. I will confess that this is partly because I’m not getting enough sleep. But there’s another part of me that’s convinced sleep can’t be the only reason I’m feeling this way.
I crave the feeling of waking up refreshed in the morning. I want to feel clear-headed and ready to take on the day. Since I’ve been craving this, I’ve been exploring small changes I can make to feel more nourished and refreshed.
I need to take some of my own advice and make sure I’m creating this balance in my life. After all, our health is not one-dimensional. I truly believe we need to look at our health and well-being from a holistic perspective.
To find balance, we must nourish the three parts that make up our whole being: mind, body, and soul. As I was brainstorming ways to refresh these three areas, I thought I’d share the ideas I came up with.
When your body, mind, and soul are healthy and harmonious, you will bring health and harmony to the world – not by withdrawing from the world, but by being a healthy, living organ of the body of humanity.
Of course, the goal is not to do everything on this list. That would only cause more overwhelm. Instead, I hope this gives you a few ideas to nourish your whole self. If you need a breath of fresh air in your life, here are 25 ways to nourish your mind, body, and soul!
25 Ways To Nourish Your Mind, Body & Soul
Mindfulness is an important practice to infuse more calm into your life. I find that being mindful encourages me to enjoy the little moments I would otherwise miss. If mindfulness feels like a struggle, make it easy with seven days of mindfulness prompts.
Detox from technology
Sometimes we forget that there is an entire world beyond the internet. Lately, I’ve been feeling sucked into my laptop and phone too much, and I’m feeling the urge to take a break and get away from it. That could be one day a week without opening my laptop or setting clear boundaries for technology-free time at night. Here’s a 7-day media detox challenge if you want to try it out yourself.
Quiet your mind
Quieting your mind is so important for reducing stress. Whether it’s writing all your thoughts on paper before bed or meditating in the morning, make it a priority to quiet your mind at least once a day.
Diffuse essential oils
Essential oils can be great for stress-relief. Even though I love essential oils and I have more than one person rationally needs, I always forget to turn my diffuser on. I’m going to start making it part of my morning and evening routine so that turning my diffuser on becomes a habit.
Self-reflection is so important for our personal growth. It can be tricky to find the motivation to journal, but it’s worth it to let go of the thoughts floating around in your head. Self-reflection helps you explore who you are and create more space for positive thinking.
Tweak your morning routine
Your morning routine sets the tone for the rest of the day, so try to squeeze in something that creates a sense of calm right away. Try meditating, journaling, drinking a cup of tea, or stretching. Little changes can help you start your day on the right foot. Here are some more ideas to makeover your morning routine.
Read more books
When Netflix is calling your name, it’s easy to forget about the wonders of getting lost in a book. Create a healthy balance between the amount of time you spend watching vs. reading. Set a specific time that you want to read each day and stick to it.
Learn something new
We know it’s important to quiet your mind, but it’s also important to challenge yourself and learn something new. Make time to continue your personal growth in areas you often forget to explore. Try watching TED talks, checking out a book from the library, or taking a Skillshare class.
Get some fresh air
Whether it’s during the day or at the weekend, getting some fresh air and Vitamin D is a great way to feel more refreshed. I like to go for a walk in the middle of the day to get away from my to-do list and come back to work with a clear head.
Embrace slow movement
Sometimes our bodies crave slow movement, like yoga or going for a walk. Often we get into the mindset that we have to sweat during a workout to make it “worth it”. Instead, be okay with taking it slow and not feeling the need to ‘sweat’ every time you work out.
Reduce added sugar
I’m not someone who reads food labels, but I am starting to pay attention to how much sugar I consume on a daily basis. Added sugar is everywhere! I want to become more aware of this so that I can avoid sugar crashes which no doubt cause me to feel sluggish.
Learn about Ayurveda
Ayurveda is a science of life. Its guiding principles are 1) that the mind and the body are inextricably connected and 2) that nothing has more power to heal and transform the body than the mind. Understanding your unique mind-body type (dosha) can help you feel more balanced. Deepak Chopra has a great article about it here.
Eat more veggies
We all know we should eat more veggies, but actually doing it is another story. Try finding ways to sneak vegetables into your meals without making a big deal about it. Put cauliflower or zucchini in your smoothies, snack on carrots and hummus, or squeeze some lemon juice onto plain veggies to make them more interesting. Also, choose meals at restaurants that contain veggies or ask for them on the side.
Stretching is so important to keep our joints and muscles in good condition. The more I sit at my desk, the more I realize how inflexible I’m becoming. I know for sure that my posture is not the best, so I want to make more of an effort to stretch whenever I can.
Scrape your tongue
Sounds a little weird, but have you ever tried tongue scraping? It’s one of the most satisfying things in the world. Bacteria on your tongue can cause bad breath, so a tongue scraper can get rid of the nasties. It’s a quick fix to help you feel refreshed after eating.
Nourish your skin
Taking care of your skin is an important part of self-care. Not only does it help your complexion, a skincare ritual can allow you time to relax and unwind at the end of the day. I want to stick to a simple yet relaxing daily skincare routine and make sure I’m not skipping any important steps. If you need some inspiration for your skincare routine, here’s a peek at mine.
Get more sleep
Sleep is one of the biggest factors in our energy levels throughout the day. Lately, I’ve been lenient with my bedtime schedule, but I want to make sure I’m getting a solid eight hours of sleep. If you’ve been staying up too late, check out this blog post about creating a nighttime routine.
Start a passion project
That random idea you’ve had in the back of your mind forever? Start it. As someone who has been blogging for almost four years, I’ve been able to turn my passion into my job. At the same time, I know there’s more to life than what I create on the internet. I want to explore other sides of creativity, whether that’s through drawing, coloring, or photography.
Go somewhere new
Even though I preach about the importance of daily routines, it’s necessary to break away from your routine every now and again. Try a new coffee shop or restaurant. Go to a nearby city that you’ve never explored. Switch things up to keep life interesting.
Connect with others
Connecting with friends and new people can provide such joy to our lives. My word for 2018 is ‘connection’ because I want to break away from my tendency to only spend time with myself. This means actually reaching out to people and making plans, as well as asking for help instead of trying to do everything by myself.
Regular decluttering is good for the soul. Release the things that no longer need to take up space in your life. As someone who prides myself on not holding onto stuff I don’t need, I’m embarrassed that my closet has somehow morphed into a storage unit. Time to KonMari it!
Clean more often
I honestly hate cleaning, but I’m noticing how much dirt can affect my mental state. Depending on how much space you have, you might want to clean more often than others. For me, it’s having one day of the week to tackle the dust.
Create work boundaries
This is especially important for the self-employed, but it can apply wherever you work. Be strict with the times that you make yourself available to your boss and coworkers. Turn email notifications off on your phone after work. Better yet, don’t link your work email to your phone in the first place.
Remember that no is a full sentence. You don’t have to justify your decisions to anyone. If you don’t want to do something, stand your ground and make sure your needs are being met first. If you’re ready to stop over-committing yourself, check out this post.
Give yourself permission to relax
It’s hard, right? But it’s so important to value your downtime and take advantage of it when you can. Make sure you’re maintaining a good balance between productivity and rest. Here’s how to make the most of your downtime when you get it.
Did this post give you some ideas to refresh your life? I hope you’re feeling inspired to let go of burn out and find more balance every day. I’d love to know which # you love the most! Leave a comment below and let me know your favorite tip.
Do you ever feel like mornings are the most stressful part of the day? If you do, you’re not alone. I think most of us can agree that mornings can be super stressful.
You wake up feeling hazy and unclear and somehow end up being late for work feeling completely flustered. By the time you look at the clock, it’s lunchtime and you have no idea where your morning went.
I think it’s safe to say that most of us could do with a morning routine makeover. After all, wouldn’t it be great to actually enjoy those precious morning hours? The good news is that you don’t have to do anything drastic to make this a reality. All it takes is a few small tweaks to get your morning off to a positive start.
If you feel like mornings are the most stressful part of the day, I’ve got five tips to help you make over your morning routine!
5 Ways To Makeover Your Morning Routine
Morning Routine Makeover | 5 Positive Ways To Start Your Day | The Blissful Mind - YouTube
If you’re interested in self-care and mindfulness videos, subscribe to The Blissful Mind on YouTube.
Tip No. 1: Prepare At Night
Your morning routine really starts the night before. Set yourself up for success by preparing whatever you can the night before. I like to write my to-do list before I go to bed so that I don’t lose any time in the morning trying to figure out what I need to work on. You could also choose your outfit the night before and pre-make your breakfast and/or lunch so you don’t have to worry about these things in the morning.
Tip No. 2: Avoid Phone Distractions
As I mentioned in this post about habits that have changed my life, avoiding emails and social media in the morning is something I’ve been working hard to commit to. If I look at my emails as soon as I get out of bed, I will go into panic mode and only be able to think about what I need to respond to. If I check Instagram, I’ll get stuck there for at least 30 minutes and totally lose track of time.
Instead, I try to immediately open my Calm meditation app as soon as my alarm goes off. I know I’m still using my phone, but I’m doing something for my own peace of mind instead of getting lost in the abyss of social media.
Tip No. 3: Start With Gratitude
Another thing you can do to makeover your morning routine is to practice gratitude. I have the 5-Minute Journal which prompts you to write three things you’re grateful for every day, as well as three things you want to accomplish and a positive affirmation. Taking a few minutes to think about what you’re grateful for can help you start your day on a positive note.
One of my favorite ways to start the day is to do something for my mind, body, and soul. This is based on the Self-Care Power Hour, although these days it takes me less than an hour. I’ll start by meditating for about 5-10 minutes in the morning (mind), followed by a Yoga With Adriene or Blogilates video for 15-20 minutes (body). Usually, after I’ve showered, I’ll listen to my favorite podcasts or watch uplifting YouTube videos (soul). You can mix it up in whatever way works for you, but I personally love adding activities like these into my morning routine.
Tip No. 5: Review Your Plans
One thing I like to do in the morning is to review my to-do list for the day, as well as look at my monthly and yearly goals. Like most people, my memory is terrible when I wake up, and I often don’t even know what day it is. Taking the time to actually review my goals encourages me to stay focused on the big picture and help me remember what I’m working towards.
Q: What small changes can you make to your morning routine?
Are you looking for ways to add more positivity into your life? Well, my friend, your habits are one of the best ways to make that happen, day in and day out.
After all, our habits and routines shape about 40% of our existence. That means our thoughts, habits, and actions play a big role in determining our level of success.
Most of us are aware of the bad habits we have, but it’s important that we make an effort to establish positive habits that outweigh the not-so-great ones. If we want to live our best lives, we have to create healthy and intentional habits along the way.
“Your little choices become habits that affect the bigger decisions you make in life.” ― Elizabeth George
Of course, it can be difficult to know which habits are really worth the effort. Everyone’s lives are different which means our habits will serve us in different ways. However, if you’re looking for some inspiration to guide you in the right direction, here are seven positive habits that have changed my life!
7 Positive Habits That Have Changed My Life
Meditation has been a game-changer for my own peace of mind. I resisted it for so long because I thought it wouldn’t work for me, but I was 100% wrong. Even though it’s not easy, meditation helps me to find a moment of pure calm in my day. Now, I try to meditate every morning before the day gets started so that I can get into the right frame of mind. If you want to get started with meditation, read this post that I wrote when I was starting out.
P.S. I’m currently on a 30+ day meditation streak which has NEVER happened before. If you’re interested, I’ll share some tips in another post about how I’ve kept up with this habit.
I took my first yoga class when I was a freshman in college, and I’ve been obsessed ever since. I always appreciate the chance to slow down after a busy day, and yoga is something I turn to when I need some calm in my life. If you want to ease yourself into yoga, I’d recommend The Journey Junkie’s 7-Day Yoga Body Bootcamp. When I finished the seven days, I felt so accomplished for actually completing a yoga challenge. #babysteps
I’ve kept a journal for as long as I can remember. Writing helps me process my emotions, and I feel less overwhelmed when I write out what’s on my mind. I find that writing on a regular basis (even if I’m not feeling inspired) helps me to feel more positive about what’s going on in my life. Lately, I’ve been using a plain notebook as my journal to freewrite. I also keep my Five-Minute Journal on my bedside table to write in the morning and before bed.
I love to get outside in the middle of the day before the afternoon slump hits. Even walking around the block can seriously do wonders for the mind, body, and soul. Usually, I’ll go for a walk for about 45 minutes after eating lunch to get some fresh air. I’ll listen to a podcast or plug in my headphones and talk out loud to myself about what’s on my mind. Please tell me I’m not the only one who does this.
To live our best lives, we must create healthy and intentional habits along the way. Click To Tweet
#5 Listening To Podcasts
Whether I’m driving or taking a walk, I’ve usually got a podcast playing in the background. I love that podcasts allow you to absorb information while you’re doing something else. I know multi-tasking is frowned upon, but this is the best way to multi-task in my opinion. Lately, I’ve been loving The Goal Digger Podcast with Jenna Kutcher and re-listening to Magic Lessons with Liz Gilbert.
I’m not perfect at this, but not checking my phone is one of those things that has a huge impact on the way my morning routine flows. I find that if I check my emails or social media first thing, I will get sucked into them for at least 30 minutes. These days, I glance at my phone when my alarm goes off then immediately open my Calm meditation app. After I’ve meditated, I do my best to avoid my inbox, open up YouTube, and get started with my workout video.
I’ve found that writing my to-do list before I go to bed helps me in a million ways. It means I don’t have to waste any time in the morning thinking about what I need to work on first. It also means I don’t have a million ideas floating around in my head before I go to bed. Basically, writing my to-do list before bed saves me a ton of time and headspace when the morning rolls around.
Victor Hugo took a public ice bath on his roof every morning as part of his daily routine. Maya Angelou got up at 5:30, had coffee, then went to a hotel room to write. Anna Wintour arrives at New York’s Midtown Tennis Club at 5:45 to play one hour of tennis every morning.
Morning routines are a fascinating topic, and I’m always intrigued to hear how others structure the early hours of their days. However, what I’m the most curious about is how people manage to actually stick to their routines. How did Victor Hugo find the motivation to take an ICE BATH *cringe* every single morning?
Since I shared my tips for starting a routine last week, let’s talk about how to actually stick to a morning routine once you’ve created one. After all, a morning routine can be great for your well-being, but it can feel like such a struggle to implement.
In this post, you’ll find five tips to help you stick to a morning routine so you can make part of your daily life instead of a well-thought-out plan.
Overcoming My Struggle With Routine
I’m the kind of person who used to love planning out an ideal morning routine, but following through with it was a totally different story. Because of this, I always told myself that I suck at sticking to routines.
I would try to wake up at 6, but every day I’d turn my alarm off and feel completely exhausted. I’d go back to sleep, forget about my planned-out morning routine, and later wake up at 7:30 feeling completely guilty about it. I always blamed it on my inability to stick to routines.
Eventually, I took a look at my daily schedule and saw that I had routines without even realizing it. I went for a daily walk, always ate breakfast before work, and watched YouTube while doing my makeup. I’m sure if you look closely, you’ll realize that you have a few daily routines of your own.
By identifying the routines I already had in my life, I realized that it was possible for me to stick to a routine. I just had to find the right balance.
How to stick to a morning routine (even when it’s hard!) Click To Tweet
How To Stick To A Morning Routine
Though I’m not perfect in any way when it comes to my morning routine, I’ve learned what I need to do to stay on track with it. After finding a few strategies that have worked for me, here are some ideas for making your morning routine stick too!
1. Shift your mindset
If you think you suck at sticking to routines, I encourage you to look at what you’ve done in the past. In college, I was SO good at sticking to my morning routine because it had to fit around my class schedule. Once I remembered that little fact, I realized that routine was a possibility for me. I just had to figure out how to make it work again.
You most likely have routines in your life now that you aren’t aware of. If you come home from work every day, make dinner, and watch Netflix, that’s a routine. It may not be the one you dream of, but it’s still proof that you can stick to something.
Have the self-confidence that you can stick to routines in your life. You’ve done it before, and you can do it again. Once you get over this mindset block, sticking to a routine becomes a lot easier.
If your plan is to wake up at 5:45 to start your morning routine but you wake up at 8 right now, you might want to slow your roll for a second. I know it’s easy to get excited about trying new things, but making a lifestyle change takes time and patience.
Changing the time we wake up can be one of the HARDEST changes of all, so you have to be realistic about your timing. Take it one step at a time so that you’re not frustrating yourself when your perfect morning routine isn’t happening as planned. If you want to wake up earlier, try doing it in 15-minute increments. Gradually work your way backwards until you can wake up at a time that feels reasonable without skimping on sleep.
Lately, I’ve been using a habit tracker to keep a record of my morning routine. There’s something so satisfying about checking off boxes when you’ve completed a task. Plus, I’m more motivated to keep up with my morning habits if I see a row of checked-off boxes. I love to keep a streak going!
4. Remember your motivation
In order to stick to something, you need a clear PURPOSE for doing it. If you’re only starting a morning routine because you see other people doing it, you’re unlikely to make it stick.
Instead, figure out what’s important about a morning routine to you. Is it to reduce stress in your life? To fit activities you enjoy into your schedule? To start your day with more energy? Whatever it is, write it down on a post-it or notepad and put it on your bedside table so you’ll see it when you wake up.
Travel, meetings, calls, events, and late nights can throw us off from our morning routine. If you have days where you lack the time or energy to follow your morning routine, try again the next day. If there’s a day where I have to skip my morning routine, I try to get back into the swing of it as soon as possible. Trust me, it’s worth the effort to get your momentum back as soon as you can.
There you have five tips to help you stick to a morning routine! The most important things to remember are: know your motivation, take it slow, and keep trying. It may not always be fun or glamorous, but it’s worth it! Leave a comment below and share any morning routine struggles or wins you have!
“What you do every day matters more than what you do once in a while.” – Gretchen Rubin
Are you craving a little more stability and ease in your life? I know I’m always looking for ways to make my days run more smoothly, and I’ve found that sticking to a daily routine has created space for this in my life.
Routines can create consistency in our schedules, help with time management, and encourage us to build healthy habits in our lives. On the other hand, our routines can hinder us if we’re not being intentional or purposeful with them.
In this post, I’m sharing a step-by-step plan to help you map out an ideal daily routine that encourages you to be intentional with your time.
Why Your Routine Will Change Your Life
Once upon a time, I completely resisted the idea of routine. I thought that routines were boring, mundane, and rigid – three things I am not a fan of. I also had this firm belief that I couldn’t stick to routines because I could never get the motivation to follow through with my plan.
Fast forward to now and routine has given me stability in my life, helped me become more productive, take better care of myself, and create boundaries that prevent me from living on autopilot. Routine has also helped me to be more consistent – something I seriously struggle with. Read about my morning self-care routine here.
When I do the habits and activities that make up my bigger routine, I feel a lot more stable in my life. Having a routine means I know which order to do things in and this reduces the number of decisions I have to make – which is especially important in the morning when I’m low on time.
Is there a downside to routine?
Of course, there are routines that we fall into because of habit. Coming home from work and vegging out on the couch becomes a routine if you do it every day. This isn’t necessarily the best use of your time if it’s all you’re doing in the evening (but here’s what you can do instead).
While some argue that routine stunts our personal growth, I believe that an intentionally curated routine can bring us greater clarity, direction, and fulfillment in our lives. If we make a conscious effort to add activities into our routines that nourish our minds, bodies, and souls, we are less likely to get burnt out, bored, or stuck in negative patterns.
“The secret of your future is hidden in your daily routine” – Mike Murdock Click To Tweet
How To Create Your Ideal Routine
Have I convinced you that a daily routine is something you need in your life? Okay, let’s get on with the good stuff! I’ve put together a few steps that will help you map out your own routine, so let’s make it happen!
Step One: Choose The Routine Type
First, decide which type of routine you’re trying to create in your life. Is it morning, night, afternoon, etc.? Most people gravitate towards a morning routine because mornings can feel like such a struggle, but a night routine is also beneficial if you want to stop staying up too late.
Freebie Alert: Get a free night routine planner here. Get a free morning routine planner here.
Step Two: Find Your Motive
Think about why starting a routine is important to you. What’s your motive? Why are you trying to create a routine? Is it because everyone else says how important it is? Or maybe you want to stop rushing out the door in the morning or stop staying up so late. Get clear on your reason for starting a routine because this will give you more motivation to make it happen.
Think about your current routine and what you do on a daily basis. Is there anything that you could spend less time doing or remove completely? Maybe you want to stop snoozing your alarm or spend less time watching Netflix. You should also take into consideration the things you need to do daily, regardless of whether you like doing them or not. Maybe that’s eating breakfast before you leave for work, choosing what to wear, packing your bag, or taking the dog for a walk.
Think about what you’d love to add to your current routine. Is it practicing yoga in the morning? Making a smoothie? Reading before bed? Make a list of 8-10 things you’d LOVE to add. Then narrow that list to 3-5 things (because we gotta be realistic here, my friend).
Write down what your ideal routine looks like with the things you need to do and the things you want to do. Think about how much time you’d like to dedicate to each activity or habit – and also keep in mind the amount of time you have to make it all happen. Consider if you’re trying to get to bed by 10 pm and you have a list of 5 things to do, how much time can you realistically spend on them? Try not to overcommit yourself because this will only make it harder to complete your routine.
You’ve got it all planned out, so now it’s time to try it out. I’d recommend writing down your new routine and keeping it in an obvious spot where you’ll see it and be reminded of your intention (I forget 99% of things unless they’re written down in front of my face). Try out your brand new routine and see how it flows. Remember you can always come back in a week or two to make tweaks. Don’t give up right away if it’s not sticking – you’ve got this!
What does your ideal routine look like?
Leave a comment down below with your answer! I hope this has given you some inspiration to create more intentional routines in your life. I encourage you to bring awareness to the routines you currently have in your life, and I challenge you to make healthier tweaks wherever you can.
P.S. Stay tuned because next week I’ll be talking about how to actually STICK to your routine!
I’ve kept a journal for as long as I can remember. Back in the day, I spent my time writing about boys who didn’t like me and girls I was jealous of. If only I could read through those old journal entries, I’d be giggling at how naive and trivial my concerns were then.
The truth is that writing has always been my therapy. Whenever I need to get something off my chest, I open up a blank page and let the words flow out.
Of course, there are times when journaling feels like a chore. Sometimes I have nothing to write, so why should I bother? (Here’s why you should, by the way).
Over the years, I’ve learned that journaling works best when you make it a habit (and keep writing even when you don’t want to).
Maybe you’re sitting there thinking you have no idea what to fill your journals with (journal hoarders, unite!). Maybe you love the idea of journaling, but you don’t know where to start. Maybe your goal is to make journaling a habit but you get writer’s block whenever you open the page. If you can relate to any of those scenarios, this post is for you!
I’ve put together this mini-guide to journaling to help you make it a habit and reduce writer’s block. Plus, I’ve put together 25 journal prompts to inspire you when you’re stuck!
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How To Create a Journaling Habit
Let’s get down to the basics of journaling. Whether you’re new to journaling or you’ve been doing it for years, I’ve put together a few tips to help you out:
Step One: Commit
The first step to creating a journaling habit is to choose when you’ll commit to writing. With any habit, we have to get clear on what we’re doing and when we’re going to do it. Think about when you’d like to write, how long you’ll write for, and how often you’ll write. Morning or night? For five minutes or until you’ve written three pages? Every day or once a week? Get clear on this and it’ll make the whole habit thing a lot easier.
Step Two: Prepare
Once you’ve committed to your habit, start writing! Find a journal, empty notebook, a piece of paper, or anything that you can write on. Try to find a quiet place where you won’t be disturbed.
Step Three: Start Writing
Start by writing down whatever’s on your mind. Don’t filter yourself. Be honest. Let the thoughts flow. Think about what’s on your mind right now. What are those topics that you’re drawn to? What’s taking up your mental energy. Now read back through what you’ve written. Do you notice any recurring themes or patterns? Has anything become clearer? Do you know what you need to do next?
Step Four: Take Action
Often the act of releasing these thoughts can provide great relief, and you’re ready to move on with your day. But before you close your journal, think of an action step you can take. This could be a to-do list item, a positive affirmation, or something to stop doing completely. What will you do now that this is off your chest?
Step Five: Reflect
Read back through your journal entries over time. See how far you’ve come, reflect on what you’ve accomplished, and cherish your old memories.
What happens when you think you have nothing to write? There have been plenty of times when I’ve opened up a blank page only to find I have absolutely no idea what to write. Other times, I have ideas and thoughts in my head, but for some reason they won’t come out onto the pages.
Part of dealing with writer’s block is remembering that nothing has to be perfect the first time. Often we get stumped because we think our writing needs to be cohesive and insightful.
In reality, it’s more therapeutic to write a bunch of nonsense and make sense of it afterwards. So much of what I end up writing is complete garbage, but it helps anyway. We often forget that nobody else will read our journals (hopefully, right?), so let go of perfectionism and write whatever comes to mind!
Need a little inspiration to get you going? I’ve put together a printable list of 25 journal prompts that you can use the next time you want to write. Just enter your email address, and you’ll be sent the prompts right away!
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Do you love journaling? How do you make time for writing?
Thank you to Skillshare for sponsoring this post. As always, all opinions are my own.
One of my goals for this year is to improve my connection to myself. Personally, I think self-care plays a big part in discovering what’s important and necessary for my own well-being. When I do things that enhance my well-being, I feel more connected to myself.
There are so many great classes on Skillshare, especially when it comes to self-care. I’ve found some classes that you can take regularly like yoga, meditation, and pilates, as well as foundational classes that will help you understand self-care from a new perspective.
Today, I’m sharing seven classes I’ve taken on Skillshare that will help you with your self-care practice. These classes are perfect if you want to amp up your self-care routine or if you’re looking to discover some new self-care strategies!
Skillshare’s Premium Membership begins around $8 a month for unlimited access to learning, but The Blissful Mind readers can get a limited time offer of 3 months of Skillshare Premium for only $0.99! Just use this link to redeem this special new year offer.
This class combines two things I love: productivity and self-care. In this class, Melissa helps you redefine self-care, tune into your own needs, and create a daily self-care action plan to manage stress and build healthy habits. This class is designed to transform your knowledge into action, as well as guide you through the ‘why’s and ‘how’s of practicing self-care for productivity and purpose.
Pilates is something I do on a weekly basis as part of my self-care routine. It’s one form of exercise that I actually enjoy doing because it challenges my muscles (and let’s be honest, I’m just happy it’s not cardio). This 30-minute pilates class by Ivory Howard combines moves to work your full-body, including abs, glutes, legs, and arms. It’s the perfect type of workout to start your day off on the right foot!
This 10-Day Self-Care challenge by Sarah Stark encourages you to take just 15 minutes a day to prioritize yourself. Each day, you’ll find a different area of self-care to focus on, such as meditation, connecting with others, practicing gratitude, and creating something new. This is the perfect type of class for anyone who wants to explore the many different elements of self-care. Plus, a challenge is always a fun way to learn something new!
For those of us who spend most of our time hunched over a computer, this class was created just for you. Aubrey is a writer and dancer who shares her favorite techniques for relieving tension in the body. This class specifically targets the head, neck, shoulders, and back since we tend to store stress in these areas. All of these stretches are perfect to add to your daily or weekly self-care routine. I have to say the head massage at the beginning is probably my favorite part!
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Over time, I’ve realized that planning serves as an act of self-care for me. Not only does it help me to stay on top of things in my life, it also gives me a moment completely to myself. I love the idea of combining planning with creativity (although I’m not sure I’m any good at it!), and this class from Amanda Rach Lee gives you a step-by-step process to turn blank pages into beautiful spreads. This class is uplifting for the mind and soul!
The Life/Wellness Wheel is a tool that I often use with my coaching clients to help bring awareness to the different areas of life (relationships, work, health, recreation, etc). Gulnara’s class will walk you through the process of creating your own life wheel so that you can see where you have room for growth and self-improvement. I highly recommend doing this exercise to see how balanced your life really is!
Above all else, self-care is based on the principle that you care about yourself enough to do what’s right for you. Part of the reason we might resist self-care or put it on the back burner is because we aren’t fully convinced that we’re worth it. This class by Tatiana Ambrose will help you understand why self-doubt surfaces and how you can use it to your advantage and gain confidence along the way.
Interested in taking one (or all) of these classes? Get 3 months of Skillshare for just $0.99 by using this link! Let’s make self-care a priority in our lives together!
When was the last time you took a moment to reflect on your life? Maybe it was at the end of December when you were getting ready to welcome the new year (we all love a little end-of-the year reflecting, right?). Other than that, there aren’t many times when we might feel compelled to spend time in self-reflection.
The truth is that many of us are so busy trying to move forward with our lives that we rarely take a moment to slow down and be at one with our thoughts. Plus, we often don’t recognize the importance of self-reflection and the impact it can have on our lives.
What if we made self-reflection part of our everyday routine instead of a yearly thing?
In my opinion, self-reflection is one of the best ways that you can shift your mindset, increase positivity in your life, and discover a greater connection to yourself.
Self-reflection has helped me to understand more about the way that I respond to situations, to not be completely oblivious to my faults, and to find ways that I can deal with situations positively instead of letting them consume me.
Today, I want to share what self-reflection really means and why being a reflective person is so important for a positive mindset.
What is self-reflection?
Self-reflection is the process of bringing your attention to what’s happening in your life in a mindful and open-minded way.
Self-reflection is all about creating self-awareness. So many of us focus on getting ahead that we don’t necessarily take time to reflect on what’s going on within us.
There are many ways to practice self-reflection, but I’ve always used writing as a way to process my thoughts and feelings. Journaling has helped me to learn more about myself by identifying patterns, habits, and regular themes that come up my life. If I never took the time to get my thoughts out of my head, I probably would not be the positive person that I am today.
Why is self-reflection important?
Self-reflection is one of the best things you can do to create a positive mindset and discover a greater connection to yourself. Here are seven reasons why you should make self-reflection a priority in your life:
1. To make sense of things
“There is no greater journey than the one that you must take to discover all of the mysteries that lie within you.” – Michelle Sandlin
Self-reflection can help you process your thoughts and feelings. When we keep our thoughts floating around in our heads, we only confuse or frustrate ourselves more. Getting your thoughts onto paper can help you understand why you’re feeling a certain way and make those feelings a little easier to navigate.
“The soul usually knows what to do to heal itself. The challenge is to silence the mind.” – Caroline Myss
Whenever I write, I end up with some sort of solution to my problems. I recognize what I need to do next because everything is laid out in front of me. When we keep thinking the same thoughts over and over without taking action, we see our problems as bigger than they really are. By taking a moment to pause, reflect, and look within, you’ll find that you actually have many of the answers you’ve been seeking for so long.
“Don’t believe everything you think.” – Byron Katie
Self-reflection offers us the opportunity to challenge our ways of thinking. Most of us have a tendency to ruminate on the bad things; for example, our perceived weaknesses, mistakes we’ve made, or embarrassing moments. When you actually take the time to reflect and write these things down, it’s important to ask yourself if you really believe them. Eventually you’ll start to realize that the things you tell yourself about yourself are not always true.
“Self-reflection is so healthy. When I record the details of what I’m going through, whether it’s a relationship issue or negative thoughts, I can look back and see how far I’ve come. It makes me proud to see my progress and how I got through a bad situation.” – Kelly Rowland
Self-reflection allows us to look back and see where we’ve come from. If you take the time to write down a few thoughts about your day, you can look back on it in weeks, months, or years later and see how much has changed. This can help you recognize that the things you were so worried about before were perhaps not so significant.
5. To increase self-awareness
“Change requires two things: a goal, and an awareness of where one currently is in order to assess the discrepancy between the two.” – Psychology Today
If you’re on your own self-improvement journey, you need to know both where you’re going and where you are right now. Without self-awareness, we can’t fully understand our emotions, values, goals, or strengths. I’ve learned so much about myself simply by reflecting on the place I’m at right now and considering how it will help me get to where I want to be.
“The journey into self-love and self-acceptance must begin with self-examination… until you take the journey of self-reflection, it is almost impossible to grow or learn in life.” – Iyanla Vanzant
I’m all about POSITIVE self-reflection and making sure that if I ever say or write something negative about myself, I follow it up with something good. This has helped me to increase my self-acceptance and keep going even when I doubt myself.
For example, I was having one of those days when I kept comparing myself to everyone. In my mind, I was telling myself that I wasn’t beautiful or pretty enough. I started to write because I knew this was something I needed to let go of. As I started to write down my feelings, I began to wonder WHY I needed to believe I was *pretty*. What importance did that have in my life? It seemed so inconsequential to who I am as a person. I started to write, “I just have to be confident in myself and know that I AM beautiful, inside and out.”
“When you’re living deliberately, you’re living from a position of responsibility; you’re making choices with greater awareness.” – Lauren Mackler
Reflecting on what’s going on in your life can simply serve as a reminder of what you do on a daily basis. Most of our days end up blending into one another, so regular reflection can be an opportunity to show you that the days are different. On the other hand, it can encourage you to think about how you can add more joy and fun into your daily life.
I hope this post has encouraged you to make self-reflection a bigger part of your life Remember that reflection is not about overthinking or focusing on the past – this is a time to connect with yourself and uncover your hidden depths!
Stay tuned because next week I’ll be sharing tips on how to make self-reflection a practice in your life!
Thank you Council for Responsible Nutrition for sponsoring this post. This is #MyWeekSupplemented.
If you’ve read my blog for any amount of time, you know that I’m all about nourishing my mind, body, and soul every single day. I share a lot about how I take care of my mind and soul, but I don’t often talk about the ways I take care of my body.
Of course there are my daily walks and some sporadic yoga practices (I’m trying to be consistent about it!), but I also pay attention to the nutrients that I put into my body. On top of the food I eat, there are certain supplements that I like to incorporate into my wellness routine.
I did my fair share of research on supplements during grad school, and for the longest time I was convinced I didn’t need any. Once I dug a little deeper, I realized that a) I was already including supplements in my diet, and b) dietary supplements fill in the gaps for those essential nutrients I can’t always get from diet alone.
I know supplements can seem overwhelming because of how many varieties there are. You might not have even known that supplements include more than just vitamins; there are minerals, probiotics, botanicals, and more.
According to a survey from the Council for Responsible Nutrition, 76 percent of U.S. adults take dietary supplements each year. With your friends, family, and favorite celebrities sharing what supplements they take, it can be confusing to know if you actually need supplements in your diet and which ones might benefit you.
Today, I want to share a few ways that I incorporate supplements into my diet in a simple and approachable way and how they actually make a difference. No nonsense here, my friends.
Morning Green Tea
I like to start the day with green tea because it doesn’t make me feel as dehydrated as coffee does. Studies suggest that green tea can enhance your working memory (which I definitely need help with!) and many people have reported being more productive when they drink tea instead of coffee. Brew a cup in the morning and reap the benefits all day long.
Adding Maca for Breakfast
Have you heard of maca before? Maca is a Peruvian plant that has become increasingly popular and available as a supplement in powder form. Maca has been shown to be beneficial for many reasons. I personally like it because it tastes a little like caramel when you add it to smoothies or oatmeal. My go-to smoothie is frozen cherries, banana, almond milk, and a teaspoon of maca powder.
Ah, probiotics. They’re one of those things you’ve probably heard tons about, but might not really know what the big deal is. Well, probiotics are your stomach’s new best friend. If you struggle with digestion issues and bloating, probiotics can keep your digestive system working the way it’s supposed to. Probiotics are one of those supplements that I think most of us can benefit from.
Afternoon Turmeric Latte
Perfect for an afternoon pick-me-up! I’m sure you’ve seen turmeric lattes all over Instagram, and there’s a good reason for it. Turmeric, a member of the ginger family, is a natural anti-inflammatory compound which means it can help to reduce swelling in the body. To make a turmeric latte, simply warm a cup of almond milk on the stove and add 1 tbsp turmeric powder, 1 tsp cinnamon, and 1 tsp ground ginger. Pour into a mug and enjoy!
Magnesium Before Bed
If you have trouble winding down before bed, you might want to try something like magnesium. Magnesium has been described as a natural calming aid, and it definitely helps if I’m feeling especially stressed out before bed. I use a magnesium powder added to hot water (sometimes with tea) and sip on that before bed.
There are tons of options when it comes to dietary supplements, so it’s wise to talk with a doctor or other healthcare practitioner about what dietary supplements are right for you.
While dietary supplements play an important role in good health, they are meant as supplements to, not substitutes for, other healthy habits. So keep up your healthy habits, my friends!
I was selected for this opportunity as a member of CLEVER and the content and opinions expressed here are all my own.