I’ve pulled together a challenge for the month of March to tackle some physical decluttering needs that adds adds on some decluttering of items that are using up our mental energy as well. While I’m calling it a decluttering challenge, you can also think of this as start to your journey to minimalism. If minimalism isn’t your thing, consider this a spring cleaning challenge.
“Sometimes, the only way to figure out what is really important is to get rid of everything that isn’t.”
Click here or the image above to print off your own copy of the challenge.
I read somewhere (probably Cosmo) that January is the month of the detox. So let’s get to detoxing, people. Now I’m not talking about one of those juice only cleanses or alcohol-free months. Scandal is back later this month and I need my wine. I’m thinking more of a detox of unhealthy habits.
1. a process or period of time in which one abstains from or rids the body of toxic or unhealthy substances; detoxification.
Although, my title says Detox January, I’m actually proposing a yearlong detox from the following things:
Unfortunately, I find that I easily get distracted by the things that go wrong and it feeds into my self-doubt. So I’m countering that by writing daily affirmations in my journal. Positive affirmations help us believe in our potential and strengthen our minds. Buh-bye, self-doubt!!
excuses and fear
“Perfection isn’t real, but progress is.” I sometimes make excuses because I’m afraid. A lot of that comes from fear of failing. However, that fear has probably kept me from some really great experiences. I had the opportunity to graduate early and go intern in New Zealand my senior year in college. My excuse for saying no was that I was going to miss out on my full college experience. In reality, I was just afraid to go to a new country on my own and I one hundred percent regret not going. I find myself erring on the side of caution still when presented with crazy, cool opportunities because what if I suck/fail/, but I never want to miss out on a potentially life-changing experience because of fear. So fear and excuses, you’ve got to go.
I think we’ve all used social media to judge how our life is going by comparing it to other people’s social media feeds. Why doesn’t my hair grow as fast as hers? What is she using for her twist outs? Oh, my-lanta, her planner decor is on another level! Did she just get another promotion? She’s got a boo? She got a ring? All I have is my puppy and pizza. I’m not going to stop scrolling because that’s an impossible goal, but I can definitely stop comparing my life to what’s being presented on social media. I have to remember that a lot of what I see has been carefully curated to present a certain image or to promote their brand. I think that’s why I’ve started to gravitate to bloggers who keep it real, show their messy kitchens and hair, and makeup free faces once in awhile. Sayonara, comparisons.
What do you need to abstain from in your life? Leave a comment with your detox plans.
In my opinion, 2016 was just one awful headline after the other and I’m leaving out politics because I’m still trying to wrap my head around that: countless shootings in the U.S, including Orlando, Brexit, lead-poisoned water in Flint, Michigan, the conflict in Aleppo, exploding phones, Harambe, Brangelina, and Zika to name a few. Also,
We lost Prince.
We also lost Muhammad Ali, Alan Rickman, Merle Haggard, David Bowie, Harper Lee, George Martin, Bill Nunn, Anton Yelchin, Christina Grimmie , Arnold Palmer, Florence Henderson, Gene Wilder, Gwen Ifill, Jose Fernandez, Pat Summitt, Leonard Cohen, Ron Glass, Zsa Zsa Gabor, Alan Thicke and Craig Sager. These are just the names I pulled from the top of my head. I probably missed quite a few legends.
On a personal level, 2016 was kind of just meh.I had some awesome things happen, but there were definitely quite a few setbacks as well. I had a huge issue with goal-setting, or rather following through with the goals I set. I’m happy to say goodbye to this year and get a fresh start.
The Problem With Goal Setting
For me, the problem with goal setting is failing short of the goals. When I miss a goal I get frustrated with myself. However, I had to remind myself this is just an opportunity to reevaluate and recommit. There are factors you can control and factors you can’t control when it comes to achieving goals. When you don’t have success with your goals, I think it’s your responsibility to figure out why and to make a conscious effort to take real action towards your goal.
Figure out the reason(s) that the goal wasn’t accomplished. I realized that my goals didn’t map back to my vision board which I look at daily. After writing down my goals, I only revisited them once. Goals need to be revised and evaluated. I didn’t really have a plan (with the exception of my savings challenge) to accomplish my goals.
Decide if this is still a goal. I think it’s okay to abandon a goal. Not I’m saying give up just because it’s hard or you didn’t achieve it the first time around. Let’s say your goal was to get a promotion. However, you then find out that there isn’t much room for growth within the company – it’s okay to abandon that goal.
Redefine your goal, if necessary. In the example above, I said it’s okay to abandon the goal. I stick by that, but the other option is to amend or redefine your goal. Perhaps, instead of making a promotion your career goal, you amend your goal to finding a position that provides you room to grow.
Truth: Sometimes Ace and I will text each other something on the lines of:
Can I post tomorrow? I’m just not feeling it.
Creativity isn’t reserved for artists. Creative thinking skills and coming up with original ideas are useful in a wide variety of fields. So we’ve all had those moments when we’re just uninspired and unable to create or produce anything.
“Creativity is just connecting things. When you ask creative people how they did something, they feel a little guilty because they didn’t really do it, the just saw something. It seemed obvious to them after a while” – Steve Jobs
A constant push for creativity can leave you burnt out and unhappy. For me, this blog is my creative outlet. I don’t really have that many opportunities to showcase my creativity at my 9 to 5. However, sometimes the blog can feel more like work than my actual job when I’m experiencing a creative block or I feel like I’m forcing myself to be creative. So today I’m sharing seven ways to recharge your creativity.
For most creative pursuits,with the exception of performing arts, you pretty much have to remain stationary as you work on your project and many jobs require that sit at your desk all day. Give yourself a reason to stretch out your muscles and move. Expending energy can jump start your body and brain.
Try a new creative outlet or hobby.
If you’re a writer – you cannot write all the time. Hello, burnout. Find something else you love to do and you’ll end up valuing the time you spend on your art even more. Check out Ace’s post on hobbies. Look into taking a class to further your skills or to learn something new entirely – this could be your new source of inspiration.
Break your routine.
Do some of your work outdoors on a coffee shop patio, or take your laptop to a new part of the office. Sometimes you just need a change of scenery to give yourself the opportunity to refocus or to be inspired again.
Don’t let a deadline limit your creativity.
Trust me. I understand deadlines. My job consists of nothing but timelines and immovable deadlines. However, sometimes we can let our time limit pressure us into just creating a product without allocating time for thinking and brainstorming. Quick results may impress, but I’d bet innovation would be considered even more impressive.
“Think left and think right and think low and think high. Oh, the thinks you can think up if only you try” – Dr. Seuss
Find a buddy.
Another great way to recharge your creativity is get a new perspective. Seek out a coworker or friend to run your idea by. However, don’t limit the people you speak with to only those who are artistic or creative by nature. Sometimes it’s the people who think the most unlike you, that will spark your creativity.
Revisit past ideas.
Circle back on things you’ve created in the past to help spark new ideas.Y’all should know by now that I’m a list girl and I keep a notebook and pen with me at all times. For example, when I’m looking for inspiration for new blog posts, I flip through my notebook for ideas. If you’re not a notebook and pen kind of person – start a running list on your phone and jot down your observations.
Get some zzzzs.
Sleep. Well that sounds reasonable right? Check out the research. A 2009 study from the University of California – San Diego found that participants who spent more time in REM sleep performed better on tests that demanded creative problem-solving. A 2012 study from Georgetown University, suggests that taking a power nap can boost your creativity. In my research, I also found a number of articles that outlined how dreaming and daydreaming enhances creativity.
So peeps, I hope these tips are helpful and I’ll leave you with a quote:
“Creativity is contagious, pass it on” – Albert Einstein
How do you recharge your creativity? Leave your tips and tricks in the comments below!
A few weeks ago I headed to Atlanta for a roomie reunion. What most people don’t know is that I also went for a job interview. I was skeptical because it was for a senior position, but wanted to follow through since I made it to the second round. At the end of my interview, the woman something to me that I’ve never heard during an interview before:
You seem like you really enjoy what you do, and you’ve worked on some cool, fun projects. I don’t think this position would be a good fit for you, it might suck the life out of you.
She didn’t tell me this because it’s a bad job or company, but because of my experience and the laughs we shared. The interviewer confessed that I would indeed lose my mind. I agreed. Why? Because I’m not passionate about social media. Story-telling? Yes. Social media? Nah. My freelance social media marketing career started as a hobby–one I thought would allow me to make money in while staying in my pajamas all day.
Although some of my goals are a little blurry, and I don’t have a detailed life plan–but I do know what I’m passionate about: arts education and equal opportunity. Ten years from now I see myself directing an arts school, not analyzing hashtags and ReTweets. My social media and public relations experience can definitely help me get there, but there are other things I need to take on to help me down this road too.
I felt stuck, and not because I wasn’t going to a third round. I need to get focused, but how?
5 Questions to Ask When You Feel Stuck
What is my purpose?
Might as well start it off with the most complicated question. It’s hard to feel like you’re living your best life when you have little direction. Take some time to figure out what you were put on this earth to do.
What else could I put my energy into to help me reach my goals?
Take an online class, find a mentor, open a savings account–start focusing on what you can do instead of complaining about what you think you can’t do.
How will I use my free time to work on my goals?
You may need a binge-watch Netflix session after a stressful day, but don’t get caught slipping. Think about all the things you can check off your to-do list during the 8 hours you spent crying over Grey’s Anatomy. (Check out Donni’s productivity tips if you need a little help making the best of your free time: 10 Productivity Tips for the Young Professional )
Am I only working for money?
Yes, sometimes money is what you need to help you get where you’re going, and in that case– a job is a job. But eventually, that gets old. Like Tony Gaskins Jr. said, “If you don’t build your dream, someone will hire you to build theirs.”
What, or who, can be eliminated from my life to help me feel less stuck?
Maybe it’s time to get a job or internship in your desired field. Maybe it’s time to distance yourself from any negative friends. Are you wasting time jealousy, insta-stalking someone with your “dream life”? Cut. It. Out.
What do you do when you feel stuck? How did you find your passion or purpose?
I tried to make a home out of you, but doors lead to trap doors, a stairway leads to nothing. Unknown women wander the hallways at night. Where do you go when you go quiet? -Warsan Shire
Like many, Warsan Shire‘s poetry used in Beyonce’s Lemonade had me twirling in emotions. Without knowing the context yet, “where do you go when you go quiet?” lingered in my head for the rest of the night. But instead of questioning a lover’s whereabouts or if daddy was a cheater, I was questioning myself.
My brain went into turbo mode. As a proud supporter of Me-Time and silence, the word “quiet” immediately made me think about mental health and self-care. I began to compare relaxing quiet to nerve-wrecking quiet. I contemplated the differences between being alone and being lonely–all while trying to watch the videos. Less than 24 hours later, the Lemonade think-pieces and video remakes started to roll in. Only part of the noise in my brain that needed to be silenced was caused by reactions to Lemonade. World tragedies, politics, work, deaths–2016 started to throw all the curve balls. My mind needed a break. It was time to go quiet.
This roller coaster ride called life can be smoother with the volume down, and the quest to a quiet mind can start anywhere. Here are a few ways for you to visit your quiet place without going on a vacation or social media hiatus.
5 Ways To Quiet Your Mind
Even if it doesn’t make sense, write down your thoughts to clear your brain and heart. You can save the words to read later, or throw it away.
When trying to keep the amount of information you take in to a minimum, reading is the perfect educational distraction. Read or recite quotes and poetry that emphasize self-care’s importance:
You can’t start over unless you get still. -Oprah
Assumptions will ruin your beautiful mind. Be aware of what you’re entertaining even in thought. -Alex Elle
Silence is the great teacher and to learn its lessons you must pay attention to it. There is no substitute for the creative inspiration, knowledge, and stability that come from knowing how to contact your core of inner silence. -Deepak Chopra
It’s hard to be anxious while taking slow, deep breaths. On the other hand, it’s hard to be calm while taking fast, short breaths.
Call on your higher power for peace– peace for yourself and peace for others.
Your emotions and thoughts about others will appear, but meditation is about self-reflection. Why did she/he make me feel that way? Am I overreacting or nah? Questionsthat are hard to process when you’re overwhelmed can be answered with a quiet mind.