My 30 Day Mindfulness Challenge: Love, Meditation & Gratitude

Have you ever had a second thought about what is happening right now? Become more cognizant of the thoughts you are having revolving around your moment? How you feel, what is occurring in your surroundings, how you are interpreting your immediate situation? And when you take that moment to take care of your thoughts, to make yourself completely present, how does it in turn affect your mind?

All of the questions that I have posed are ones that I am going to answer over the next 30 days through my new 30 Day Mindfulness Challenge!

30 Day Mindfulness Challenge

So, what is mindfulness?

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Your “It will get better.” Mentality: It’s not Working

I think we’ve all been there one way or another. We find ourselves in a situation that’s stuck. But, despite spending each day in a loop of stagnation and realizing that it is just that, we think “it will get better“.

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I used to be one of those people. I used to be the person that, even though all signs pointed to not going anywhere, still believed that there was something bright and shiny on the other side. No matter how hurt or torn down or trapped by the situation I was, I always found myself looking at the (usually pretty short) list of pro’s versus the (usually very long) list of con’s. A “glass a quarter full” kind of girl.

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My 180: Sometimes Quitting is the Answer

A few years ago I was in a completely different place. I was working towards finishing my degree in psychology at the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee and heading towards a future with more school with a side of school and a dash of, you guessed it, school. I was on track to pursuing my PhD in Counseling Psychology and looking towards a life of research, students, and academic writing. It wasn’t until I finished my undergraduate degree, started my first semester of graduate school, and decided to quit that I truly felt like I was making a decision for me.

Making the choice to quit graduate school was one of the hardest decisions I’ve ever made. I was essentially derailing any life plan that I had devised for myself up until that point and I put myself in a place where I had no idea where I was going. Read More »

Who Am I: Me & All the Faces of Me

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Artsy photo of a mirror to illustrate self-reflection.

Over the years I have struggled with the same question: Who am I? Now, I know that is another one out of the big book of clichés, but I’m sure you’ve asked yourself that same question, even just once.

I can’t tell you how many times I’ve tried to reinvent who I think I am. Like everyone growing up, I have gone through the numerous stages of style and self-discovery that consistently lead to another reinvention of the one new and improved version of who I think I actually I am. One of the greatest parts of this journey has led me to believe something very important about myselfRead More »

It’s All About Me: Taking Time for (Thank) You

I call it craft time or writing time or cooking time or spa time or movie time or book time or sit next to my cat and binge Netflix time, but all the same it is what it is: Me Time. It is time that I dedicate all to me, something that I like to do by myself, for myself, and for the gain of no one else except for myself (sort of).

Now, I am an unmarried, female who lives alone (-ish, kitty counts), so getting some alone time isn’t that great of a feat for me. When someone asks if I have plans on my “Me Time” nights my answer is a well resounded “YES!”, because date night with just me (and some cameos of my cat) is a huge contributor to my overall mental and emotional health.

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My favorite doily and a proof of one of my favorite books, The Curated Closet.

This is all speaking from the perspective of someone who has established

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Living as Your Other Self: You, Your Past, and Now

Sometimes life can make you feel like you’re messed up. Like the version of yourself that you are currently living as isn’t the actual version of you that you should be. That who you are living as isn’t the person that you were meant to be, but there is this other person in your place that just can’t seem to get out of this funk. I get that.

Five years ago I wasn’t myself and even two seconds ago I wasn’t myself, but I accept that who I am because of what I’ve been through is the self that I have been meant to become. Now this may sound like a silly riddle to you, but that’s what it feels like living on after life strikes you in ways that you wouldn’t have asked for.

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When life comes at you with a vengeance so great that you think you must begin to question everything, you do just that: Question everything. You sit and second guess your Read More »

The “Measurables”: What am I worth?

So many times I have sat and struggled with that exact question: What am I worth? 

For many years I was stumped. Stumped and unable to define exactly what I was worth to the world. How I brought value. How I contributed to society and what impact, if even any, I had on the people around me.

For many years I sat and believed that I, quite frankly, wasn’t worth much. That the sacrifice of myself in my entirety was the only way that I was worth anything to this world. That only by giving myself to others with no regard for my own well-being was the only way that I was able to truly serve the world. I was wallowing in a place where I thought Read More »

Journaling: To Save Your Life

I have started and stopped journaling over and over again. I can’t tell you how many times I have started a new journal. Well, here’s to journaling try 27-ish!

Now, I can’t sit here and say that I’m going to stick with it again, because I really might not. I have come to realize an important thing about myself: I know I sometimes don’t finish things to the end and that’s okay. I sometimes start books I don’t finish, sometimes start craft projects I don’t finish, and sometimes start the dishes and leave a few for the next day, but it’s okay.

What I do know is that with things like journaling it helps to start over and over again, because each time I can reevaluate my approach. This time around it is less about writing for fun and being creative and more about writing to look into myself and reassess who I want to be and where I’m going.

Every time I open my journal I can take the time to draw out my feelings with words. I can look into not only what I am thinking about a situation, but also how I am thinking about it. Throughout my life I have struggled with anxiety and this way I can take my reoccurring thoughts and put them down so they will stop running through my head over and over again. When I write things down I can think about a situation in a new way and then structure my thoughts based on the new outlook. Each time I journal it gives me the ability to reevaluate in a way that I hadn’t before. My life becomes reinvented with each stroke of the pen.

So, if you like the idea of journaling and might be thinking about doing it yourself, here are a few things I’ve learned a long the way…

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  1. Just start writing.
    Sometimes you might not really know what you want to write about and you might not have a goal in mind when you go into it. That’s okay. Journaling doesn’t have to be structured. Let it flow and let it take you to where you need to go.
  2. It’s not going to be perfect.
    Spelling, grammar, whether or not you can read it after you’re done, not a big deal. Sometimes you just need to write as fast as you can to get the words out. Like I said, let it flow.
  3. Length isn’t important.
    How much or how long you write doesn’t have to be set in stone. Right now, I’m just trying to pick up my journal everyday. Some days I write a few pages front and back, some days I only write a paragraph, some days get skipped. Journaling should not be considered a chore.
  4. Pick a journal you like to write in with your favorite pen.
    I’m an office supply junky. I love pens. I love notebooks. Picking a journal with the right size lines and page thickness along with the perfect stream of ink onto the page is a necessity for me. Maybe you’re a plain composition book person or even a little wire bound pad. Pick what’s right for you.
  5. You’re not the first person to try to start journaling.
    Scope the internet for journaling techniques! While it may seem like something silly to look up, I’ve found that reading how other people journal has helped me with my own technique. Maybe find a pre-made journal with page prompts or just start with a basic fill-in sentence at the beginning of each entry: “Today was beautiful because ___________.”

I may not be an expert, but here’s to picking up a pen and a notebook and going for it! You may rediscover pieces of yourself that you have lost, find pieces of yourself that you never knew existed, and even change your life right on the page.

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