F Free February Discoveries

Recently I read, studied and applied Sarah Knight’s literary trilogy The Life Changing Magic of Not Giving a Fuck, Get Your Shit Together and You Do You. I’m not one for self help books but these are my new bible(s). Sarah Knight is my hero/Jesus.

At the beginning of the month I decided to apply The Life Changing Magic of Not Giving a Fuck to my everyday life. I followed Knight’s advice and I made lists of all the fucks I gave. My fuck lists filled multiple pages in my notebooks. MULTIPLE PAGES.  I then did as she told me and drew a line through any fuck I could afford to stop giving. It was LIBERATING.

Some of the things I stopped giving a fuck about were obsessing over informal emails,caring about what other people think, the concept of “getting ahead” in life, caring about what other people think, liking cool drinks, and caring about what other people think. Obviously I am still working on the not caring what other people think, but by not obsessing over it as much I was able to clear my mental clutter.  

Throwing away the mental clutter has allowed me to focus on things I enjoy like yoga, reading, online shopping and studying for an HR certification. Giving less fucks has allowed me to prioritize my life. I highly recommend giving less fucks to almost everyone.

While I am thoroughly enjoying my new lifestyle, not giving a fuck isn’t all fun and game. My new choices forced me to recognize that to not give a fuck is to ask people not to judge you, but if you ask people not to judge you it is best practice to not judge them. Because of this I am going to spend March reducing my judgey-ness and being nice.

How am I putting a stop on my naturally judgy mentality? No clue, my plan for now is to practice self awareness and give it my best shot. I am also going to put my best efforts into always being kind. Sounds kind of generic, I know, but I think that it will help me align my actions with my beliefs. Got any advice for me on this? Please leave me a comment if you do!

 

June Goals: Inspiration Creation

It is one thing to want to do something creative it is a different thing to actually do it.

I’ve learned throughout May that the hardest part is the dedication and setting aside the time, but both are closely followed by figuring out what to do.

But as Jack London said “ You can’t wait for inspiration, you have to go after it with a club”.

Last month’s broad goal of creating was great. It forced me to take a step back and look at the bigger picture but I also caught myself “waiting” for inspiration and creativity. Fun fact; talent and ideas did not flow through my veins the moment I decided to sit down and try. But I did try! In June I am going to create inspiration for my movements and my writing.

Once again I know this seems broad, but I’ve got a plan.

How am I going to do this? Watching, learning and practice, practice, practice.

To inspire creativity in my movements I’m watching more yoga videos like @erinkellyart. Her flows are gorgeous and natural. Watching her it is impossible to tell where the yoga pose ends and the yogi begins. Seamless. While I don’t want to copy her or try to speak her body language I want to watch and learn her transitions. Imitation is the highest form of flattery, and I could sing her praises all day, but I want to take ideas and her ability to embody herself in her movements to make my own. She also has inspired me to get my handstand press up within the next year. If you don’t know what this move is I suggest you watch a few of her flows and see her in action. Beautiful.

I also am going to get on my mat everyday, regardless of how much time I have to practice. I want to try different flows by letting my body tell me what needs work and what needs rest. I’m curious to see where my body wants to take me if I listen to it.

I’m going to continue this curiousity off the mat and take every opportunity to get out of my comfort zone. Try new workouts, try new games, put myself and my ideas out there (wherever there is).

In my writing I’m going to follow more creative writing prompts and re-read old books from my childhood/ adolescence. I plan on reading Harry Potter, Matilda, Alice Through the Looking Glass, Slaughterhouse Five and Cat’s Cradle. After I re-read my favorites I want to read works that are out of my wheelhouse. I plan on going to the library and picking based on recommendations from friends or best seller lists.

While focusing on different reading genres I also want to mirror that with my creative writing. Try my hand at fiction, specifically absurdism (I am most excited to try this!) and see where my stories go. Absurdism, for anyone who is not a huge English nerd like me, is the idea that man is always looking for meaning in life, but there is no meaning. Absurdist writing, like that of Slaughterhouse Five by Kurt Vonnegut, typically involves a character hunting for meaning in a world that cannot provide the answers. I find this style of writing particularly intriguing as someone who would love to have a purpose, but I have no clue what that purpose is.

Most importantly, taking the time to write write write. From Stephen King’s book, On Writing I have learned that the right of passage to successful writing comes with practice.  

As always, I will let you know how it goes!

Post Grad Problems: How to Take Your Life Back

As grad season approaches I’ve taken some time to reflect on the emotions I felt this time two years ago.

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I could have been best described as terrified, stressed and very lost. I picked a very broad major, English, and had no inkling as to what I wanted to do career wise. I had a part-time job but I was terrified I would never find a full-time position doing something I didn’t hate. I panicked. I took almost any interview and position presented at me and I became an unorganized mess.

Once I got a temporary full-time job the panic continued. Not only was I at a company that I was unhappy with, but I also hated sitting in an office for eight hours a day with limited mental stimulation. I was bored and worried which created a whole new level of chaos in my life. I also struggled to adjust to spending 40 hours a week doing the same thing. In hindsight it doesn’t seem that difficult, but at the time I rejected everything about working the typical office job.

If panic stricken Em had known then what she knows now she would have never worried. Now I have a job that I love at a company that treats me like the magical human that I am and I know I can handle anything thrown at me.

How did I go from stressing about this giant change to cool and collected?

By getting organized. I have always been an orderly person but the chaos of college had caused me to forget about the joy I get in ticking things off my to do list. Once I got a temporary full-time job and the fear of starving to death out of my mind (Maslow’s hierarchy of needs, baby) I was able to channel the girl who used to make a pro/con list for everything and pull my life together.

Here are some of the ways I started taking my life back from my post grad panic.

  1. To-Do Lists with attainable goals. I made a new list everyday with everything I needed to do on it. This included things like washing my hair, buying groceries, calling my Grandmother and exercise. If I didn’t accomplish everything on my list I didn’t beat myself up over it, I just moved it to the next day.
  2. Prioritized my mental and physical health. My panic phase took a toll on my body. I gained weight, stopped exercising and my skin broke out like crazy. I ate horrible things, remember my dominos lover from my earliest exercise posts. This is where getting organized really kicked in. It is one thing to say you are going to eat healthy and exercise, it is a whole different beast to actually accomplish these things. So I started slow. Read this post if you want the intimate details of my starting place. I wrote down monthly goals like “add one Blogilates workout to my yoga schedule” or “swap out takeout for a homemade Chipotle bowl” and allowed myself to slowly adjust to my healthier lifestyle. This took the majority of 2016. It was hard work, but it is so worth it to look in the mirror, or hit that new yoga pose or run 3 miles without stopping and be proud of what you’ve accomplished. My current workout schedule looks like this but that was not my starting point. Don’t try to start in the middle.
  3. Practiced leaving work at work. When I go home for the day, unless something absolutely absurd happened, I try not to think or talk much about work. I love my job and the people I work with but after spending 8 hours a day somewhere I don’t want to focus on it anymore. This takes a lot of mental strength and patience but now that I’ve got the hang of it it is so nice. (This will also help you ease those Sunday Scaries we all get).
  4. Prioritized finding happiness through hobbies. Stress happens. Life gets hard, but once I took a step back from my freak out frenzy I realized it was going to always be there…maybe not as heavily but anxieties will arise and I have to be able to cope. The best way for coping with stress it to create your own happiness, which is why I am so keen trying to find joy, it’s also why I started this blog.Starting a blog may seem like more work, and it is, but I love reading my finished posts and looking at the work I’ve created. You don’t have to start a blog though, but if you do send me your URL I would love to check it out,  hobbies like journaling, coloring, painting, doodling or reading all relieve stress and bring joy. Find what makes you happy and make time to do it.

Those are the ways I combatted post grad panic. It look a while, but I’m so proud of how far I’ve come since then.

What are some of the ways you combat stress from big changes in your life?

March Madness and April’s Recap

March was for action and boy did I take it in that goal on in my personal life. Mid month I decided it was time to start waking up early and working out and feeding my body the good stuff. Starting that habit has created a paradigm shift in my daily routine. Work is no longer the first thing of my day or the last thing that I think about at night.

America has cultivated this unhealthy obsession with getting ahead and my actions helped me realize that. (Yes, I know it is seemingly ironic that by doing more things I have stopped trying to get ahead but being mindful and meditative while doing yoga and running has been so good for me). While I want to succeed in my career I’ve realized that my health has to come before my job. I’m oh so very lucky to work at a company that allows me to take midday walks on beautiful days and encourages the use of PTO but the culture of American corporations in general weighs heavily on all of us. My morning routine and evening workouts allow me to put myself on the schedule instead of just my job. Due to this focus on myself, I have been better at focusing at work. Yin and Yang. That work life balance is oh so very important.

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The view from one of the many beautiful places I’ve gotten to visit. Rattlesnake Ridge in Seattle.

My external actions were a little trickier. I tried to make as many calls to my representatives as I could but I did not reach my goal for the number of calls that I wanted to have made. I still highly recommend Jen Hoffman’s guide and I will still continue to build on this baby foundation of political activism.

April was my month of reflection and repetition. I had not taken enough political action by the end of March to feel like I had accomplished my goal. In April I continued to take action. I donated clothes to a local women’s shelter. I donated money to the ACLU and Emily’s List. I revisited my goal of self-love by getting back into daily yoga and doing little things that made me happy like enjoying coffee with B in the morning. I practiced self-love by reading the book Cunt and really sitting in my powerful feminine energy.  I made plans with friends that I hadn’t seen in a while and visited them in their cities. I allowed myself to appreciate the moments I spent with them and to be present. I revisited my goal of listening by taking the time to think about the needs of those I interact with daily and trying to view the world from their perspective as well as my own. I have added this extra lense to as many conversations as I can.

I’m so glad I spent this month slowing down. Making times for friends, myself and relationships I feel like I have now built the steady loving habits I need to start plugging into my creativity. Bring it on May – I’m ready for you.

Cultivating Creativity in May

How the f&*k is it already May?!

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I spent April trying to take stock of what I’ve done to achieve my goals this year (more on this next week). So far this year I have taken action (March), listened to learn (February) and practiced self love and gratitude (January) – all for the goal of cultivating love and creativity.

Now that I have spent time cultivating love for myself through working out, reading more and spending more time appreciating my body through yoga I can feel my creative energy flowing back through my body.

Creativity is something I want to incorporate into every aspect of my life.

I’ve been practicing creativity in my motions by freestyling some of my stretches (using a mixture of my dancer, gymnast and yogi skills) but I plan to take this further. I am going to relearn old dance and gym skills, come into new yoga poses and trust my body to take me on its own journey by turning one or two of my weekly yogas into freestyle.

Along with using my moves for creativity I want to bring more creativity to my writing. Now that I have made it a habit of posting on here weekly, I am going to add a bit more writing to my plate and start setting aside time for creative writing. While I plan on doing this as consistently as I work on this blog I want to take a different approach to my creative writing routine.

For my blog if I don’t feel like writing on a designated writing day, I do a little editing and move on..but for my creative writing I want to accomplish something small everyday that I sit down to write. I plan to sit down to write for at least 30 mins every writing session and see what shows up on the page. I’m allowing myself to do any writing I would like as long as it is outside of my normal blogging zone. Some ideas for this are developing characters, outlining plots, working on some poetry, and writing short stories. If I hit a creative wall I am going to use creative writing prompts I found on Google.

The hardest part of this for me is going to be getting started and not getting hung up on creating something perfect. I struggle with fiction because I want the plot to be perfect, I want the characters to feel real and I want everything to give me the same feelings I got while reading Matilda or Harry Potter for the first time. As a reader I am a harsh critic so I expect the same level of criticism from my potential readers. I want to create something I am proud of…but first I need to just create something. You may not see the fruits of my writing labors for a while (or ever) but I am excited to start this creative journey. I think the most important part of this creative process is getting started and letting the need to be perfect go.

On the days when I cannot muster up the energy to write I plan to do something that stimulates my brain instead. I love doing the crossword in my local newspaper, working on puzzles or coloring in one of my many adult coloring books. If the simple act of coloring seems too hard I will read one of my favorite books and meditate on passages I love for inspiration.

This goal is a big, broad step on my road to creativity. I think the rest and reflection I took in April has reenergized me on my path to love and creativity. I am very excited to see what comes out of this month.

As always, I will keep you updated on my progress!

How are you doing on your goals for the year? Don’t forget to take time to reflect on how far you have come!

Is Getting Ahead Overrated?

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Actual photo of me resting

My goals for March we’re all about action which makes it a bit ironic that this is the time I decided to start honoring my rest days. It’s insanely important to balance action and activity with rest and relaxation though..so it’s totally okay and normal to require more rest than scheduled. A couple weekends ago I woke up wondering, is getting ahead overrated? Should Sunday’s be spent meal prepping and getting ahead or playing and relaxing (or both)?

 

I gave myself a break last weekend and this is what my Sunday consisted of:  

 

Sleeping until 9:30am

Playing an entire level of Peggle (in a unicorn onesie)

Adventuring to Coffee Bean

Exploring at the park (check out my cute video of B in the park on my instagram!)

Brunch!!

Meal Prepping for M-W lunches.

Making delicious chickpea crisps (recipe here).

Binge watching LOVE on Netflix.

Free writing for posts/creative projects whenever I felt like it.

Reading Jen Hoffman’s guide to plan my attack for the week (and resonated with the section about the need for self-care).

 

What I planned to do.

Write multiple blog posts

Edit a friend’s creative project

Work on my creative projects

Meal prep/plan for the week.

Study for the PHR

GET AHEAD GET AHEAD GET AHEAD.

 

Even though I did not do everything on my planned list I managed to be insanely productive without stressing myself out. I always try to save my relaxation time as a reward but maybe it’s better to just let the day unfold itself and to be present. I woke up and decided to take the day off from writing but ended up writing more (and having more creative ideas) because I decided to be present and found inspiration in my daily life. I spend so much of my time in an office or doing mindless activities making it harder to focus on the here and now. I let myself be aware and awake on Sunday and it was relaxing.

 

I think this is a sign from the universe to slow down, so instead of making new goals for April I am going to continue on taking action for the next month and balance it with loving kindness through rest. I’m going to meditate on my goals and what I have accomplished and what I aim to do.
So I suggest to spend your Sundays doing whatever you feel like. Go on a walk, take a nap, read a fucking book, bake cookies, take time to just be human. It will make you more creative and productive in your everyday life.