This week I'm going to talk about starting your day off right by establishing a morning routine for yourself. Each person is different, so there's not one perfect morning that will work for everyone.
What I would suggest doing is writing down two or three things you can do each morning so that you can start your day on the right foot and set the tone for the rest of the day.
Here are some ideas on things you can do:
And here are a few YouTube videos that have some other ideas for you:
Hopefully after a week or two of following your routine you will feel like mornings are a time to get centered for the day instead of feeling like you're starting off the day by being frazzled. Let me know in the comments below which of the ideas you have incorporated into your morning routine.
2015 Reading List: Status Update
Earlier this year I wrote three posts listing the books I want to read this year. If you want to read about the books I chose, you can follow the links below to my original posts:
I figured now that we're more than halfway through the year I might as well give an update on the progress I've made on my list.
Here are the 8 books I've read from the list so far:
And here are the 7 books I have left to read:
I feel like I'm right on track to finish all of them before the end of the year. I actually own all but one of the books I still need to read, so at least I won't get stuck waiting on books to be available from the library like last year.
Even though I already have exactly 200 books on my "to read" list I'm always excited to hear about a great book that I need to read, so feel free to share your favorites in the comments below! Also, let me know if you would like to see a book review on any of the books I have already read this year.
Something for Yourself: Meditation
Meditation is one of the most recommended forms of relaxation and stress reduction. It is easy to learn and only takes a few minutes a day, so even if you are new at it you can still enjoy the benefits right away. I have been meditating on and off for a few years now. As one doctor explained to me, meditation is a chance to do nothing for a few minutes of your day. While meditating you are free from worries and concerns that typically stress you out.
Here is a great article by Daily Makeover on how to get started with meditation. Either follow the instructions listed in the article or try it on your own. There are plenty of ways to get started with meditation and different formats work differently for each person.
The way I started meditating is by finding meditation podcasts on iTunes and doing guided meditation. This made it easier for me because I needed to hear a voice that would guide me along the meditation. For me, sitting in a quiet room is a perfect recipe to let my mind wander and start to overthink things, which is the exact opposite of what you're trying to achieve. One of my favorite podcasts is called Meditation Oasis.
There are also apps you can put on your phone that can guide you through meditation. Here's a link to a previous article I wrote about the meditation apps I use and why I like them. Some of them include visualization to help you relax, which is another form of stress relief I like to use. Visualization is also great in helping you achieve your goals, similar to what we discussed last week with vision boards.
However you decide to bring meditation into your life, remember that it takes time and practice to quiet your mind and relax your body. The more you do it the better the benefits you will see in your life.
I am always looking for new meditation podcasts and apps, so if you have any favorites please share them in the comments below.
Next week I will talk about establishing a morning routine that will allow you to get your day started off on a positive note.
Recipe: Agave Margarita
Margaritas are one of my favorite drinks. I used to buy the big jug of Jose Cuervo margarita mix and blend it with ice and tequila to make frozen margaritas. But recently I found a new way of making margaritas that I think is even better. Here is an agave margarita recipe I found on Bon Appetit's website.
Servings: makes 1 drink
Let me know in the comments if you make this recipe and whether or not you liked it. I would also like to know your favorite summer cocktail.
Motivational Monday: Letting Go
The other night I had a revelation. I realized that I have tried too hard to control my own life, to the point where it has caused me stress and unhappiness. Once I realized this I decided that I need to give up that sense of control. Ultimately, things are going to happen the way they're supposed to happen, with or without my input.
Basically, I just need to let go. The minute I made that decision it felt like a huge weight had been lifted off my shoulders. Not only does letting go allow me to save the time and energy I used to spend worrying about things, I have also released myself of responsibility for trying to make everything happen the way I want it to work.
If you are in a similar position and would like to let go, here are some quotes that may motivate you or inspire you.
This first quote stood out to me because of one specific world, which is "should". I don't know about anyone else, but I personally use this word way too much. I am constantly telling myself that I should do this or I should do that. And it's usually a reaction to comparing my life to someone else's life and telling myself that I "should" do what they're doing. Ultimately, this quote is right in that we do have to let go of what "should happen" and embrace what is happening.
This next quote reminds us that there are things in our lives that we hold onto that aren't doing us any good. In fact, they may actually be doing us harm. And yet we keep holding onto them, probably out of habit or fear of change. And yet this quote makes a good point that by letting go of our "heavy burdens" we are able to then let good things enter our lives. Doesn't that just sound like a better way of living?
I especially like this quote because I am an avid reader and enjoy the thought of comparing living my life to reading a book. This is a simple quote and yet it carries a lot of meaning. You are probably already used to hearing people talk about starting a new chapter of their life, but we don't usually think about how in order to start a new chapter we are finishing an old one. And it's so true, you really can't change your life until you are ready to move on.
So these are just a few quotes I found that are related to letting go. Hopefully one or all of them have motivated you to let go of what you're holding onto and make a fresh start. I bet you'll be pleasantly surprised at how good it feels!
I first heard about vision boards back when The Secret came out. Being a visual person, I knew it would be a great way for me to visualize the things I wanted in life. I've made a few vision boards since then, and although I don't have any huge success stories from making these boards, I still find it nice to take time and put together a representation of everything I want out of life.
It's actually very simple to make a vision board. All you need is a bulletin board or a poster board and as many magazines as you have on hand. Next, you find images and words that stand out to you and cut them out. Once you have all of your pictures ready you place them on the board in whatever way looks best to you. And that's it, you have a vision board!
A more virtual way to make a vision board is by creating a new board on Pinterest and pinning images that way. This is how I have done it lately and it's a nice way to make something that can constantly change and grow as time goes on.
If you would like to read more on vision boards, here's a page from Oprah.com that explains them in more detail. And here's another website by a blog called Mrs. Fancee that explains decorating for the visionary, which is where I found the picture above.
Stay tuned for next week when I discuss using meditation and visualization to relax and do something for yourself. And tomorrow I'll be putting up a new Motivational Monday with quotes and words of wisdom on letting go.
Recipe: Egg-Less Cookie Dough
If you love eating raw cookie dough but don't like the idea of eating uncooked eggs, you will love this recipe! It tastes just as good as cookie dough from the store but doesn't have any raw eggs in it to potentially make you sick. I found this recipe through Pinterest on a blog called Fun Foods On a Budget. Click here to see the original posting.
Egg-Less Cookie Dough
3/4 cup brown sugar
1/4 cup butter, softened
1/4 tsp. vanilla
1/4 cup milk
1 cup flour
1/2 cup chocolate chips
In a medium bowl, mix together the brown sugar and butter until smooth. Stir in vanilla and milk. Mix in the flour, salt, and chocolate chips until well blended. Chill in the refrigerator.
Let me know in the comments if you make this recipe and whether or not you like it!
Must-See Summer Movies
Summer is the best time to take a trip to the movie theater to see a new movie. It seems like there are a ton of good movies coming out this summer, so I figured I'd list some of the ones I would like to see.
Here's my list of must-see summer movies and links to check them out on Fandango:
Am I missing any movies that you would recommend? Let me know in the comments below!
Last week we talked about taking time to set goals for yourself. For me, this is the best way to give myself peace of mind that my life is headed in the right direction. I have also found that in order to keep my life on track I need to practice daily gratitude. Sometimes it can be easy to forget how blessed we are when life gets busy, but taking five minutes each day can help remind you of what is great in your life.
The easiest way to make gratitude a part of your daily schedule is to start a gratitude journal. This will give you a chance to take a few moments out of each day in order to remember what you are grateful for in your life. It doesn't have to be elaborate or fancy. I use a daily planner from Target that has a few lines for each day. I leave it on my nightstand so that after I make my bed each morning I remember to write down three things I am grateful for. I have been doing it for eight weeks and it has become a part of my daily routine.
If you're unsure of what to write down, just try to keep it simple. You can use the first things that come to mind, whether it's something from the day before that made you happy or something you're looking forward to in your day ahead. Anything works as long as it makes you feel a sense of gratitude. Hopefully you will feel happier right away and can take that feeling with you the rest of your day!
If you've been following this series from the beginning you will have written a personal mission statement, set goals for yourself, and just started a gratitude journal. Next I will talk about visualization and making a vision board in order to create a picture of what you would like your life to look like.
Happy 4th of July!
I hope everyone is having a safe & fun holiday weekend! I'll be back tomorrow with a new Something for Yourself post.
My name is Beth and I live in Denver. I am a single lady in my 30's and wanted to start sharing my awesome and amazing life through a blog.