Whoa I Need My Morning Routine

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I haven’t been perfect, but I’ve been pretty good. Routines are hard for me to start. I feel like I’m being told what to do, and so I’m usually resistant to them even if they’re good for me.

I finally decided, “hey I need a morning routine.” All of my favorite podcasters go on and on about helpful it is, and how better they feel. I started to think about what I wanted my mornings to look and feel like. I liked the idea of getting up before my husband. There’s something sweet and sacred about a sleeping house, and I would finally have time that I felt was 100% mine. He gets up between 6:15 and 7:00, so I new it would have to be early…

I made a list of what I might do during my morning routine.

  • yoga
  • blog
  • meditation
  • Denneroll (It’s a foam neck form that I have to lay on periodically to make my neck more curvy…fun chiropractic stuff!)
  • read

I then made a couple of scenarios that changed based on the time I wake up. My first scenario started at 6:00 am, but I quickly realized that realistically I wouldn’t be able to do all that I wanted to do.

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From there I continued to back up the time until I reached the cringe worthy time of 5:15 am. Cringe worthy at first, but now I LOVE it!

Now I don’t stick to the minute like I sketched out. I keep it more fluid and give myself grace if I really just don’t want to do yoga, for example, that morning.

Just giving myself this pure “me” time starts off my day on the right foot, allows me to wake up fully before I interact with my family, and allows me to respond instead of react. My energy level is better throughout the day if I give myself this morning time.

“You can’t pour from an empty cup. Take care of yourself first.”

Now to the honesty section, yesterday morning I woke up at my 6:00 am alarm because the night before I went to bed late and was not feeling a 5:15 am wake up call. When the alarm went off that morning, I cringed, rolled out of bed and hit snooze. I didn’t get out of bed until 7:00 am, which meant no morning routine and my day felt crummy all day long.

I tried to do yoga later that morning to energize me, but I just wasn’t feeling it. Not having that time to myself really affected my entire day. That night I made sure to be in bed by 8:30 pm curled up with a good book. That’s another key to making your morning routine successful! Go to bed early. I know that’s sometimes is painful, but I’ve really learned to love it.

“You can’t burn the candle at both ends.”

Give it a go, plan out what you would like your morning routine to look like. Try it out and tweak it until you find what works for you. You’ll be happy you did!

Happy Morning!

~Jess

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Positive Self Talk

For as long as I can remember, I have been talking myself out of trying new things, experimenting, and challenging myself based with my negative self talk. As a kid I would think “I can’t do _______ sport because look at all of these other kids who have been doing it since they were little.” Now I eventually did participate in sports, but I think my internal voice prevented me from becoming better.

I even talked myself out of starting the college finding process until it was almost too late. I think my negative voice fueled my procrastination, and I never went on a college tour. I kept telling myself that everyone (meaning all of the real college kids) will know that I’m a high schooler. How embarrassing! I told myself that I wasn’t ready for college. I wasn’t smart enough for college. Once in college I chickened out from taking courses that looked hard, had a large number of students in them, etc.

Now eventually I took those hard, heavy populated classes, but it wasn’t until my junior and senior year when I felt more comfortable. What’s crazy is that I let my fear, anxiety, and negative self talk guide me for so long. I was really interested in the sciences, but told myself that I wasn’t smart enough for the chemistry and math involved. (Isn’t that what you always hear is so hard?) I chose to go into elementary education I think partly because I felt like I could handle that. “I mean how hard could it be?” is what I told myself. I thought it was something I could handle. I mean I went to elementary school, so I felt like I knew what to expect. The unknowns were taken away.

I liked it at the time, felt creative, took ownership over it, but I’m not convinced that I knew what my other options were. I talked myself out of even realizing I had other options. So I continued on the teaching path, did well, and became a teacher. Even though I earned a Master’s degree, my confidence and self talk did not increase. I felt like I was barely keeping my head above water, which I heard was normal but didn’t help the voice inside my head.

Now here I am after four years of teaching, ready to come to grips with the fact that teaching is not me. I’m finally allowing myself to be honest, put pressure on that negative voice and question the irrational thoughts. I have finally realized that my happiness and positive self talk is controllable by me, and I need to start treating myself with kindness, love, and grace.

It’s crazy that as an adult the same negative self talk has stopped me from trying new things, feeling uneasy to meet new people, or try new things by myself. I always wanted to do things with someone else, or I wouldn’t do them. I’m tired of living the life I think other people want me to live (and usually that’s self-imposed, me projecting my insecurities on them). I want to ooze with happiness, confidence, and independence.

Here are some of the ways I’m working on positive self talk:

  • I’ve started to recognize when my negative voice is getting louder, and I call it out. I examine how irrational the thought is, and then let it slide by.
  • I am meditating using the Meditation Minis Podcast with Chel Hamilton. It helps me feel more energized mid-day when I start to get tired. If I’m dull and sleepy it’s easier for the negative voice to reappear.
  • I listen to other podcasts about being happy and living purposefully. I particularly love Vibrant Happy Women which I’ve previously talked about hereThe Simple Show, which you can find here, is also wonderful, and I’ve been so inspired and challenged to think critically with all of the guests interviewed on these shows.
  • I just finished reading “Fringe Hours” by Jessica N. Turner, which helped me not feel guilty about taking time for myself, and that it feeds your soul to follow your passions. Sounds like a no brainer, but geeze that guilt just feeds negative self talk.
  • I’m trying to also create a regular yoga practice, but I’m not as solid about that as I would like to be yet. I love, love, love Yoga With Adrienne on Youtube!

I hope this list helps you if you’re struggling with a negative, jerk internal voice. Please share any other tips and tricks you have to kick it to the curb and nurture the positive loving voice inside all of us.

Happy Monday!

Jesse

Thankfulness and Gratitude After Hurricane Irma

As the sun comes up this morning after a long day of wind and rain from Hurricane Irma, I want to take a moment to be thankful. We are largely unscathed from Irma’s wrath in South Carolina, but unfortunately not all can say that.

I want to make sure to be grateful, thankful, and show grace for what can easily go unnoticed.

I have roof over my head. It may have a slight leak that we thought we stopped, but it still sheltered us from the storm.

During the storm I heard the sound of an animal cry. It sounded young and scared. I looked around but couldn’t see anything. A few minutes later I saw a squirrel running frantically on the ground from one tree to the next. I thought this was odd considering it was pouring rain, extremely windy, and no other animals were out. I continued to watch and follow this squirrel, who went to a baby squirrel in the middle of the grass (not sure if their nest got ruined or if it fell out), and picked up the baby squirrel and carried it to safety in another tree.

My family is safe and unharmed. We often only think about the human impact of storms, but I experienced first hand what animals can go through- losing homes and keeping their families safe.

We are extremely grateful for the “cushy” experience we had, never losing power, being able to stay in our home, and keeping our pet with us. We had food and water, air conditioning, and a way to communicate to our families and let them know we were okay.

Many cannot say the same, and my heart goes out to them. While many of us are able to go back to life as normal, it’s important to help those who cannot.

~Jess (and the very anxious Brody, ready for his walk outside!)

Gratitude

MY GRATITUDE JOURNAL

September 1 & 2, 2017 

  • My husband is making breakfast
    • We both are self-employed and work from home. This is a blessing, but also a challenge in that we have total control of our schedule. We are trying to get into a rhythm that not only includes getting our work done, but also incorporates exercise, meditation (for me), reading, and anything else soul filling. One idea that we came up with is that while my husband makes breakfast, I either read, do yoga, blog etc. on the front end of my day. I’ve been getting up 15-30 minutes earlier than him too to extend this alone time for myself. We’re still working out the kinks…I don’t always feel like doing yoga at 6:00 am.
    • Yesterday I meditated under a cozy blanket and read some blog posts.
    • Today I slept in a little and made breakfast for him
  • I’m grateful to my husband who spent almost all day yesterday detailing the inside and outside of my car, took it to a park to shoot some photos of it, and then stayed up until 1:00 a.m. listing it on Craigslist.
    • We decided to just go to one car because since we both work from home, it is very rare that we both need a car, or can’t schedule around each other. This is also the first school year that I’m not teaching, and consequently not having a steady paycheck come in. This just takes a little of the burden off.
  • My in-laws are coming for the weekend, so I spent yesterday cleaning the house. This doesn’t sound like a happy time cleaning all day, but knowing that they were coming gave me the extra push to get it all finished in one day and stay on task, instead of letting it drag out over days.
  • I called a realtor and made an appointment for them to come next week to look at listing our house! This was also great motivation to get the house spick and span.
    • I’m grateful that our freedom of schedule from being self-employed has given us the option to move our family where we feel is best for us. We don’t have to be tied to a location because that’s where our job is. We are moving to Austin, TX as soon as we sell, and couldn’t be more excited!
  • I love baking hamburgers and bacon! I am so grateful for my oven. I have begun a meat only lifestyle, and consequently I eat a LOT of meat. Bulk cooking hamburgers in the oven is not only a time saver, but my burgers were juicy and perfectly portioned. I cooked them for 20 minutes at 450 degrees.
    • Baking bacon is also handy because I can cook the whole pack at one time, and then it’s ready to be reheated throughout the week. Baking bacon and burgers is also a lot less messy. No more grease splatters all over the stove and counters!
  • My husband gave me extra encouragement this morning to be more active to get my endorphins flowing. He craves shooting hoops, going for bike rides, and runs. I don’t know that I crave it like him, but I could definitely feel my body telling me it was time to get back on my yoga mat after an almost two month hiatus. I feel more energized already! I definitely recommend Yoga With Adrienne on Youtube. I have talked about her here.

What do you feel grateful for today? Sometimes all we need to do is a little reflecting to see all of the good parts of our day. Enjoy your Labor Day weekend!

~Jesse

Gratitude Journaling

I discussed Emily P. Freeman’s podcast The Next Right Thing in my last post about listing what is life giving and life draining. You can read more about that here. This morning I’m going try a new strategy that she talks about, which is gratitude journaling. Jen Riday from the podcast Vibrant Happy Women also discusses the importance listing what you are grateful for each day.

For a long time I’ve been hearing happy and successful women discuss their morning routines, and many of them mention that gratitude journaling and reflecting is a part of it.

This morning I decided to get up a half hour before my husband so that I could have the quiet house to myself. There’s something sweet about the stillness of a sleeping house. In this moment of quiet I did two meditations, one from the Meditation Minis podcast and the other from Mindshift Meditations podcast. These helped me feel more connected with my body and begin to start to wake up.

The next and final step to my morning routine that I want to start is to start gratitude journaling. There’s no rules other than list what you are grateful for. I can’t think of a more positive way to start the day.

My Gratitude Journal

August 31, 2017 

  • My husband is making breakfast
  • My lap is the first place Brody, my loving pitubull, wants to be after waking up
  • I’m journaling!
  • I feel healthy
  • I slept well
  • I managed the will power to wake up before everyone else
  • I met a friend for coffee yesterday
  • I am no longer a teacher
  • I feel more fulfilled today then I did a season ago
  • My husband supports me and challenges me to be happy and a better person
  • I have food in my fridge and a roof over my head
  • I am grateful for the support from the food study community from N equals many
    • My body is grateful that I gave up dairy and feel 100% better all around
  • I am alive another day on this Earth, and I get the opportunity to make it the best day possible

Wow! Expressing what your grateful for does put a positive spin on your day. Cheers to this feeling lasting until tomorrow for my next gratitude entry.

~Jesse

Life Giving, Life Draining

I stumbled upon a new podcast called the The Simple Show with Tsh Oxenreider. I love this podcast because she talks about living a minimalist lifestyle, but not in the traditional sense of owning 4 shirts and 2 pairs of pants, bare minimum kind of way (not that there’s anything wrong with that!). She interviews people about living simply and what that looks like for them. Through her podcast I have stumbled upon many other podcasts that I also love, one being The Next Right Thing with Emily P. Freeman.

Emily is an writer, and I can tell from her podcast style that I’m going to really enjoy her books as well. In episode 3 she talks about making a “life giving and live draining list” instead of the typical pro/con list. I loved this idea of meditating over what filled you and what did not over the past time frame. She recommends doing this seasonally, but you could do it more or less often to fit your needs.

I find myself feeling so inspired by my podcasts, but have been “un-actionable” (not sure if that’s a word!). Well by golly I’m tired of filling my cup, feeling so energized and uplifted, and then letting the rest of my world take over. Spiritually and emotionally I need to start taking and using the wonderful advice that I’m given and crave; otherwise it’s all for not. Emily recommends making the life giving/life draining list seasonally, and although summer isn’t quite over I figured this would be a good time to review the summer season.

So here it goes…

Life Giving and Life Draining List

Summer 2017

Life Draining

(Because I like to end on a positive note, I’ll start with what was draining)

  • Cleaning the house to sell
  • Re cleaning the house because it seems like we can’t keep it together
  • Trying to keep my plants alive without a green thumb
  • Feeling anxious about leaving Brody (my pitbull!) at doggy daycare for boarding for an extended weekend for the first time
  • Not setting clearer boundaries with the length of family visits
  • Complaining about a problem longer than solving the problem actually takes
  • Feeling like the household chores and duties are not divided evenly between my husband and I
  • Not keeping a morning routine
  • Learning the quirks of working with my husband from home
  • Balancing working from home and living at home
  • Still feeling like I don’t fully treat myself like an adult or trust myself

Life Giving

  • Leaving the teaching profession!
  • Donating all of my teaching clothes and then some
  • Journeying through self exploration
  • Finding my passions
  • Listening to my podcasts
    • Soul Searching and Personal Development: Vibrant Happy Women with Jen Riday; The Simple Show with Tsh Oxenreider; The Next Right Thing with Emily P. Freeman
    • Entrepreneurship: Masters of Scale with Reid Hoffman; Screw the Nine to Five Podcast; The Soul Fueled CEO; Bringing Business to Retail with Salena Knight; Flipped Lifestyle Podcast with Shane and Jocelyn Sams
    • Just for fun: The Longest Shortest Time; Serial; S-Town; How To Be A Girl; Invisibilia; Snap Judgement; This American Life
  • Traveling to Colorado for my best friends wedding
  • Hiking the Flat Irons in Boulder and the waterfalls in Upstate New York
  • Painting the kitchen with mom and staging my house
  • Blogging again!
  • Walking Brody and taking him to the dog park
  • Buying noise cancelling headphones
  • Having my parents down for visits
  • Starting the n = many zero carb study
  • Checking my blood sugar again and being more strict with what I eat
  • Meeting up with a friend for dinner and coffee twice!
  • Talking on the phone more with my best friend
  • Saying no to hand-me-downs or “third party clutter”
  • Feeling independent in my work and like I’m starting to own my duties
  • Working with my husband
  • Being a stay-at-home dog mom
  • Visiting the animals at the SPCA

I’m sure I could keep going. Doing this made me realize that it was much harder to write what was life draining than life giving. This was not on purpose, but it gives me a sense that overall I’m feeling more positive than negative. I predict that had I done this for the winter or spring it would have been the opposite because I was so undeniably miserable in my profession.

I can tell a huge difference in my self-esteem, confidence, outlook, mentality, and stress level from leaving the classroom. It was definitely one of the best decisions I ever made, and I wouldn’t change it for the world.

If you’re feeling like you need a mindset adjustment or a check-in with yourself, I recommend making a Life Giving and Life Draining list. You might just feel a little lighter.

~Jesse

Just Smile ☺️

Today I was walking into a store and I simply smiled at the person coming towards me. She smiled back and my smile grew. I continued smiling at others and noticed how happy it made me feel.

Usually I keep my head down, not wanting to make eye contact that can be awkward. I don’t want to catch the eye of someone creepy. Today I met no “creepy” people. I did not feel awkward.

I felt confident, happy, and smiley. With each smile it got easier for the next one. I may not have been teeth smiling, maybe next time, but I was smiling.

If you need a little pick me up, just smile at others and notice how you feel. It may just give a little pep in your step!

Smiles! (Even dogs do it!)

Jess

Closer to Happiness

Whoa it’s been awhile since I wrote last! Being that locally it’s the first day of school I thought it was fitting to check back in. As I mentioned in the past I was an elementary school teacher by trade. Each year I never was fully happy and constantly wondered if this was what I was supposed to spend my life doing.

This spring I took the jump and did not sign my contract that I was coming back the following year. The following school year is now here, and I am beyond grateful to my supportive husband and family for giving me the courage through this decision. I am 100% happier, less stressed, and positive. This is the best decision that I have ever made, and I wish I would have made it sooner. To be honest I could not have done it financially without having another opportunity to step into. I now work from home with my husband on a passion project of his that he turned into a business a few years ago. It’s so rewarding to see all of his hard work and ideas come to fruition.

It’s only been three months of not teaching, but both my husband and I have noticed a difference in me. I haven’t fully found my passion, but I’m getting there. I’m not perfect with being secure and confident. I’m probably about 85% of the way there, feeling like I treat myself more like an adult and that I think for myself without asking for permission. I can only imagine how annoying and unattractive this is for my husband. Thank goodness for his love and patience!

Today is also momentous because it is our four year wedding anniversary! We’ve been together for almost 12 years. Gosh that seems so long yet not long at all! I think it’s kind of funny that the first day of school that I’M NOT ATTENDING and my wedding anniversary are on the same day. I truly am so incredibly thankful for his encouragement to follow my heart, push to do what makes me happy, and hand to hold when it gets a little scary. Today is a great reminder that I married my best friend who will support me endlessly and be my number one.

Cheers to following your happiness and a lifetime of love!

Jess

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Photo credit to Ruby Sky Photography

Self-Care and 30 Days of Yoga with Adriene

I went to my first yoga class during college, but didn’t start practicing regularly until about three years ago when I moved to Washington State. I found an amazing studio with wonderful teachers, and I fell in love with yoga. I went almost every day over summer break, and took silly poses in front of beautiful backgrounds. Here is at Mt. St. Helens.

Yoga Mt. HoodAs the school year got into full swing I stopped making time for it and eventually stopped going all together. I am notoriously  bad about maintaining my self-care routines when I get busy and stressed, which is the most important time to continue them!

This school year has been particularly stressful, and I finally decided that I needed a change. Not just in career, but in how I take care of myself mentally and physically. I searched on Youtube for yoga, and I fell in LOVE with “Yoga With Adriene.”

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I started her “30 Days of Yoga” series, and I am hooked! Each video ranges between 20 and 30 minutes and builds on itself. I feel so much better when I practice. I have lower back sciatic issues, and staying regular with yoga seems to keep those issues at bay.

What I love even more about Adriene’s approach is that she is silly and has fun with it. I think yoga can sometimes seem overwhelming to beginners, and she does a great job of making it approachable.

My self-care routine also includes meditating for 20 minutes either before or after yoga. This helps me feel more clear minded and able to unwind from the stresses of the day.

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I keep track of my self-care habits using my Passion Planner. To read about other ways I use my Passion Planner read here. In the “Space of Infinite Possibility” I draw this simple chart so that I can track and better hold myself accountable with my routine. Recently I added the goal column, and it has really helped me be reflective for the following week.

As you can see my goal for yoga this week is four days. I know that I will be out of town for a few days and unable to practice, so I set my goal to reflect that. There’s no reason to automatically set myself up for failure by setting a goal that is unrealistic.

A reoccurring topic on my favorite podcast, Vibrant Happy Women With Jen Riday, is the importance of maintaining a self-care routine and making it a non-negotiable. I know that I’m not all of the way there, but I feel like I’ve made good progress!

This week give Yoga With Adriene a go and let me know what you think! I think you’ll really like it.

Namaste,

Jesse

Happy Mother’s Day To All Of The Dog Moms!

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Who says Mother’s Day is just for mothers of humans? Not me! This sweet little guy is Brody and he is the joy of my life. My husband and I rescued him from the SPCA on March 19th, 2016 just after our sweet little lady Holly, a 14 year old black lab mix,  crossed the rainbow bridge. She was my husband’s childhood dog who showed up at his doorstep as a puppy around Christmas (hence the name).

HollyAfter she died our hearts were broken. Our world was turned upside down. My husband worked from home at the time, so he catered to her every need and treated her like a queen. She loved to be your companion and would follow us around the house. Sometimes we would need to just hop into the next room to get something and would feel so bad because we knew she would muster up the energy to slowly stand up and follow us, to only have to turn around by the time she got to where we were. My husband’s office was upstairs. It got to the point that she couldn’t go up and down them without help, so my husband would carry her all of the way up so she could fulfill her keeping company duty.  It got to the point that she could no longer hold her bladder for more than about four hours, so my husband dutifully set his alarm for 2 a.m. to let her outside.

When she passed away, our house felt so empty and lonely. We no longer had a schedule and routine. Our world revolved around her and her needs. It took us just a few days to decide we were going to the SPCA that following weekend. We needed a distraction from the heartbreak, and getting another dog seemed like the only cure. We wanted to continue her legacy as a rescued dog by rescuing another, and boy are we glad we did!

Rescues seem to know their rescues. It’s like they realize you are giving them a second chance at life and are so unconditionally appreciative. This speaks true for Brody. He caught our eye because of the doofy way he was sitting, almost like a person. He seemed to exude happiness and that’s what spoke to our hearts.

So now we have fallen completely in love with this fellow, and I am sometimes surprised by my maternal feelings I have towards him. I’ve grown up with a dog always in my life, but this is my first experience being the parent and not the sibling. My husband and I treat him like he is our child, as we have no human children yet. For example:

  • We discuss the consistency of his poop like it’s no big deal and make comments like, “I think he needs more dry food in his mix because he had a little bit of the runs.”
  • We talk to him in full conversations, and even speak for him so he doesn’t have to.
  • The moment he gets a scratch, bump, or ant bite I’m cooing over him and making sure he’s okay.
  • I pick him up and hold him while we twirl and dance to music in the kitchen. He simultaneously licks my face and literally smiles (dogs do smile!).
  • My hubby and I refer to each other as mommy and daddy with Brody, and we refer to him as our son. Most of the time it seems insulting to even call him a dog!
  • I post pictures of him on social media all of the time like all proud mamas do, and he even has his own Instagram account! You can follow him @pitfitfun

The list could go on. Brody also does some child like things as well.

  • He plays good cop, bad cop between my husband and I. He knows that I am more lenient, making me obviously the good cop right? Ha Ha to my husbands dismay! We have taught him to sit by the edge of the bed to ask permission to get up, and then we lift him on to the bed if it’s okay. My hubby’s thinking is that if he comes in the house with muddy feet and then just jumps right up, then our bed will get muddy. A good thought in theory, but practicality speaking, this is a 40 lb. meatball. My lower back can’t handle that, so up he goes without asking as long as Dad’s not around.
  • He has to pull out every single toy from his toy box. He can’t play with one and then put it back before he gets out another. No, he must drag them all out, usually right after I’ve put them all away.
  • He also has doggy ADHD. He will then play with all of his toys within the span of 5 going back and forth after about a minute with each one.
  • He has all of his toys to play with and yet lays down in front of me, sighs, and then looks at me. I know he is saying, “I’m bored!!”

We recently celebrated Brody Day, which is the anniversary of his adoption, and boy did he get the treatment! For breakfast he was treated to a fillet of red snapper, an egg, and bacon. We then went to an amazing dog park that has a lake within it that the dogs can swim in, and then we went to lunch at restaurant that dogs are welcome at. It was a great day and I look forward to the next!

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So all of this is to say that I feel an intensely strong motherly bond with my Brody, and we’ve jokingly said that maybe we should just have dogs instead of human babies. Here’s to all of the dog moms, well all animal moms, who give their pups (or whatever creature you mother) the good life. Happy Mother’s Day!

Love and Peace,

Jesse and Brody

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