I’ve been making great strides with my 2018 habit changes, but I have been struggling to find ways to treat myself. My favorite thing ever is a good ol’ Treat Yo Self day, but generally speaking, mimosas and fine leather goods are not sustainable or attainable healthy treats. On the Happier podcast, Gretchen Rubin often talks about how using food, drink, and shopping as treats undermines the positive habits changes we are trying to make. For example, one of my big goals this year is to stick to a budget and get back to saving monthly. My partner and I even started using the You Need a Budget app to better track our spending. It’s been going great so far, but the last thing I want to do is treat myself with shopping when what I want most is to save.
I think occasional planned indulgences that are food or shopping based are fine, I just want to get away from the notion that they are treats. We are all so busy with our daily lives that we may feel depleted and drained. That’s why treats are effective at staving off burn-out. I’ve pulled together a list of experiences that are very simple, low cost or free, pleasurable treats.
I am back with an update about the Tudor House! I am going to come up with a catchy name for our new abode, I promise!
We FINALLY got to move in on Thursday night after the world’s most protracted water heater replacement saga ever. I won’t go into details, but let’s just say that it’s no fun spending 2,100 bucks on something that’s not exactly broken but not functioning either. But I do love having hot water!
Since it’s fresh in my mind, here are five things I learned from unpacking and moving into my new home. Think of this as a continuation of my Ten Tips for Moving.
I listen to a lot of podcasts. I feel like I have mentioned that a time or two on this blog and in conversation with friends. I may sound like a broken record, but I thought I’d take the chance to share with you my favorite podcasts that I listen to weekly. I think it’s a timely post since this month NPR is promoting #trypod, a social media campaign to introduce people to podcasts.
How To Get Started Listening to Podcasts & My Current Favorites
I’ve been struggling again and I worry that I rely too much on Sesame Street to entertain my kid while I make food or put on makeup. I shared previously some tips on how to manage stress when you feel like you don’t have any free time, so I thought I’d write a follow-up post about how recover after a stressful season and how to keep living life even when everything is in limbo.
I feel like so many things were put on pause while we got ready to put our home on the market. Though we have no real timeline for the move, we know it’s imminent. In the first few weeks our place was listed, we had multiple showings and open houses and I was just trying to survive, but now things have quieted down into a slower pace and I feel ready to be part of the world again.
One of the key things I advocated in my post was simplifying during times of stress or particularly busy seasons and figuring out what commitments you can forgo while you’re under pressure. But what happens when your schedule isn’t so tight anymore and you feel like you have room to breathe again? Do you just revert back to the way things were before? Or maybe you’re living a new normal and you have to figure out what you want your life to look like now.
I want to share that as of this week, my home is officially on the market! It’s been quite a challenge to get everything ready, but I’ve learned so much and I can’t wait to share more about the process. In the meantime, I’d like to offer some ideas on how to manage stress when you feel like you don’t have any free time, a topic super relevant to yours truly.
We all are busy people juggling work, social, family, home, and financial commitments, but there are times in our life when already full schedules may explode with even more obligations. When I’ve looked for support via the internet or in casual conversation, I’m often met with unhelpful advice about the importance of creating routines. People tout their morning routines, bedtime routines, work out routines, and money management routines as some sort of miracle cure for whatever ails you—but the last thing I want to do when I’m pressed for time is create another routine or try to improve upon one that has already been a struggle to maintain.
During times of stress I advocate for simplifying life as much as possible. Cut back to the bare bones so that you have more time to dedicate toward whatever is in front of you. Maybe you’re transitioning in your career and you’re overwhelmed because you have a lot to learn in a short period of time, or perhaps you’re approaching a significant date (graduation, surgery, wedding, travel, etc.) and it’s keeping you up at night with worry, or there’s a big life change (birth, adoption, moving, etc.) on the horizon causing feelings of anxiety. Consider what you can give up and let go of to give you peace of mind.
Four Things to Do to Manage Stress When You Feel Like You Don’t Have Any Free Time
I’ve been working all week on a different post, but the more I wrote the more I struggled to keep the point cogent. I decided that this is the post that actually needed to get written. So, before the week ends I just wanted to put something out there: it’s okay when things don’t work out. It’s okay to put a project on pause and revisit it when you have more time and energy. It’s alright if you set a goal and don’t reach it, and it’s fine if you don’t accomplish one of the many items on your to-do list.
Here are three things to remember when you don’t meet your goals:
How many times have I read that routine is good for me? How many articles have I read and then ignored about getting up extra early for deep breath sets, calendaring and to-do lists, and unloading the dishwasher first thing in the morning so my kitchen doesn’t look like a hot mess 24/7? Well, I don’t know about you, but I’m not always so great at starting and keeping up with new routines.
Even small changes to my life seem daunting, but big ones–like leaving the stability of one job for another (or like me, to be home with a small child), moving and commuting further, expanding your family, or adopting a healthier lifestyle–can feel overwhelming. So let’s acknowledge the new routines we’ve created in the face of a challenge, and celebrate the bad habits we’ve stopped and the good ones we’ve formed.
Five favorite tools that keep me inspired and motivated to maintain healthy habits:
Some of the following include Amazon affiliate links, which means that if you click on one of the product links and make a purchase, I’ll receive a percentage of that sale at no cost to you. All thoughts and opinions are my own. For a full disclosure statement see my About page.
This app helps me add structure to my day. I like the simplicity of my goals: make the bed, prepare lunches, walk 5k steps, log meals, take a picture. Every day that I complete my tasks feels like a pat on the back. On the days I don’t want to make lunches, I think about this little circle I won’t get to tap and the money I’m going to waste, and it’s just enough incentive to make the trek to the kitchen. It’s easily adaptable for whatever “streak” you want to keep going, whether it’s eating a healthy meal, reading a book, or getting to sleep at a decent time.
I’m not used to having my entire kitchen at my disposal all day long. By using this app I make deliberate decisions about what I eat, rather than snacking indiscriminately all day long. You can choose your level of interaction with the app and its community, and you can set up your profile for maintaining, losing, or gaining weight. It’s simply for calorie counting (in and out), and I appreciate that approach over other diets or plans. There’s a web interface, which is how I initially signed up years ago, but I find the app much easier to use on a daily basis. I use my FitBit One to track my steps in conjunction with logging my exercise on My Fitness Pal, but you can certainly use any activity tracker or an inexpensive pedometer.
The app and web interface are available for free and with premium monthly and yearly upgrades.
This built-in iOS app syncs across devices and can be shared with other users. I only recently started meal planning, and I think my success directly relates to communicating easily with my partner about what items we need from the grocery store! We also keep track of coupons and deals on a shared list to maximize our savings. I almost always have my iPhone or iPad nearby so I can remind myself to buy a birthday card, run an errand, and update my shopping list.
I recently got Evernote with the intention of using it to keep track of weekly spending. Eating out and coffee runs add up, but sharing a note with my partner will hopefully keep us both in check so we don’t go over budget.
This app is one I see so many bloggers talking about because of its versatility. You can incorporate your Feedly with Evernote to read and save posts, organize and brainstorm ideas, and even start notes right there in the app so they’re ready for when you sit down to write.
There are three tiers of service starting from free to 50 bucks a year, and it’s available for desktop and mobile devices.
A good old fashioned journal
Good for: Self-Care, Diet & Exercise, Household & Finance, Blogging, etc.
I love writing. It’s the only thing that keeps me sane. When I can’t get something done, there’s usually a reason why, and it’s almost always mental. So I write it out. It’s also really inspiring to look back in your journal and see how far you’ve come.
I have an entire journal dedicated to KonMari. It’s kept me going on my epic purge! I have a journal where I write about finances. When I get stressed about spending, it’s not really about the money, it’s about whatever I was feeling when I was shopping. Why did I spend $17 on cookies and crackers at Trader Joe’s when I only went in for cream and eggs? Why did I buy a lipstick for $24 when I rarely wear the ones I have?
I like to refer to notes in my journal when I’m working on a blog post. It’s inevitable when you’re journaling that something will pop up that you want to share. I have the above Rifle Paper journals and these Moleskine journals. I love that they are thin so I can have multiple in use for specific projects and topics, and they’re lightweight enough that I can toss a few in my bag when I leave the house.
What inspires and motives you to start and maintain a new routine? I’d love to hear about it!