How to Beat the Winter Blues

 

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image via Pinterest

I love living in a place where we experience all 4 seasons. Although, I dislike the bitter chill of the cold, and getting up out of my warm bed in the morning to scrape ice and snow off my car, I genuinely like winter. Winter forces us to relax and slow down. Snow storms keep us trapped inside, force us to let go off obligations, and just relax. It is a time to give our bodies and minds a break. But for some the winter can greatly affect our happiness. Although I don’t suffer from SAD (seasonal affective disorder), I know people who do, and I have seen the effects of lack of sunshine, and fresh air on all of us. By the end of winter, I’m usually over it and that’s when I start to feel that cabin fever or the need to escape. Sometimes it feels like winter is never going to end!

Over the years I have learned how to embrace winter and how to feel just as happy in this season as I do in others. I hope my tips help you to have a healthier and happier winter season.

Appreciate and accept winter for what it is and what it gives us

Recently I had a conversation with my Grandma and she told me “your life is your mindset”. Isn’t she the cutest? She is so right! Much of our life is dictated by our state of mind. Shifting your perspective on winter can greatly help you appreciate it more. Yes, your toes are cold, and it gets dark at 4:30 but we get to use warm blankets and wear cute boots. Be grateful for what this season is giving you.

Make a winter bucket list

I have done previous posts in the past about how I try to make bucket lists for each season. In college, I started doing this in the winter time and a lot of the winter blues I was experiencing went away. Don’t be afraid to act like a kid again. Go snow tubing or skiing, have a movie night with friends and drink wine, take hot baths on a Sunday night and pamper yourself. Bake cookies! Do whatever it is that will make you feel warm inside. Winter is the perfect time to connect with people you haven’t seen in awhile.

Get things done

Do you ever have to get something important done but you just can’t because the weather is just too beautiful outside to be stuck in the house? Well winter is the perfect time to get those things done. Whether it’s a project around the house or a new business venture, winter is a great time to get focused and begin. With nothing to distract you, and a great excuse to stay inside, why not get going on a task that requires being isolated?

Take Vitamin D

I can’t stress this one enough especially if you live in the Northern US or Canada. We do not get nearly enough sunlight in the winter and lower Vitamin D levels can greatly affect our health. I started taking a D supplement last year when I began working in an office that had been converted from a warehouse. Lack of windows= lack of sunlight. I noticed my mood improve and my anxiety greatly diminished. It can also help to make you feel less fatigued among other benefits.

Get a happy lamp

I recently bought this Happy Lamp for my sister for Secret Santa and it’s perfect for anyone fighting the winter blues. This lamp provides light therapy which can improve mood, make you feel happier and help you to sleep better by resetting your circadian rhythm. It’s perfect for placing on your desk at work.

Take a vacation

Last but certainly not least is to escape the winter for a little while. Nothing makes me feel more relaxed and refreshed than an island trip in the middle of winter. You’ll also have something to look forward to which will keep you going through the winter months. My top two destinations are Turks and Caicos, and the Maldives.

I want you to remember to embrace life. Embrace snow, embrace winter! And most importantly get help if you need it. My tips above will definitely help but if winter makes you feel very low and you start to experience real feelings of depression do not be afraid to speak to a professional.

Please leave me comments or questions down below. I would love to connect more with my readers.

XO

How to ACTUALLY Conquer 2018

2018

A new year can be filled with champagne, sparklers and new beginnings. It can also be filled with a lot of pressure. Pressure to do more, be more, and make real, lasting changes in your life. Everywhere you look there are articles, blog posts, and videos on how to make this year better than the last. And while I love a fresh start, it can be overwhelming to try to figure out what you actually should be doing to create a better future for yourself. Because of this I’ve taken all that information and broke it down into 3 easy, realistic steps below.

Create goals YOU want to accomplish

Never create goals for the benefit of someone else or because you’re concerned about what people will think of you. When deciding on your intentions this year ask yourself, “Is this something I actually want or do I want this because I think other people will admire me for it? Am I willing to put in the work and sacrifice for this? Why do I want this?”. These questions will help you figure out your why and create goals you can actually stick to because they’re authentic to you.

Build habits that will propel you forward

Unfortunately, we cannot rely solely on motivation to get us where we want to go in life. In order to create change, we must create habits. A great way to do this is to look over your goals, create strategies and then implement those plans into your schedule. If you want to get healthier this year, decide on a meal prep day or schedule when you’ll go to the gym. Don’t hesitate. Take action and create habits. After awhile you won’t even have to try or think about maintaining your good habits.

Build confidence

Once you have created authentic, meaningful goals, and created habits to achieve them you’ll start to notice a shift in confidence. Belief in yourself suddenly becomes less of a challenge and more of a positive after-effect of your hard work. As you achieve more you become more convinced you can continue to achieve. Makes sense, right?

 

2017 was one of the hardest years of my life but I have learned so much and have become a stronger person because of it. I’m going to be following my own advice in 2018 by following my tips above. Always remember that a new year does not mean that everything will be perfect or that you can’t make mistakes. Every year comes with ups and downs but how we react to these situations is what makes all the difference. I hope 2018 is filled with laughs and love, and I hope all your dreams come true.

Happy New Year my loves! Cheers to 2018!

XO

 

Embrace the Struggle

Hi guys!

It’s October! And a new month brings new inspiration and new challenges. Lately, I’ve been struggling A LOT. Struggling with where I am in my career, in my life, my financial situation, my inconsistency with fitness, and so many others.

Going through a time of struggle is completely normal and is to be expected in this life. I’m finally coming to place in my own life where I’m learning to embrace it, so today I thought I would share some steps to embrace your own struggle.

1.) Learn to let go // There is so much that is out of our control. And whether you believe your path has already been laid out for you by a higher being, or you think your life is entirely dictated by free-will, it doesn’t change the fact that you are not always in the driver’s seat. The first step in any tough situation is letting go of what you cannot control and letting go of how you think your life or current situation should be. Sometimes when we try to force things that aren’t meant for us, we actually make life harder.

2.) Clear your head // The next step is to clear your head. This is perfect to do this time of year, especially if you live somewhere where you can admire the fall foliage. I recommend walking with no music or audio-books so that you can really take in your surroundings, and just listen to the thoughts that are coming in and out of your head. Once you’ve had time to filter through your thoughts, you’ll most likely have a better idea of what you really want in life.

3.) Figure out what’s working and what isn’t // Next, you want to use your new mental clarity to really think about the current issues you have in your life. You want to take a logical approach to this and not make decisions based on emotions. What steps are you taking to get out of this struggle you’re going through? What’s working? What isn’t working? Once you know this, you can move on to taking real steps to hopefully change your situation. A great book that goes into this further is Awaken the Giant Within by Tony Robbins.

4.) Take real action // Although some things are out of our control, the good news is that there are some things we have the power to change. Figure out what those things are and take action TODAY. If your struggle is your current job, maybe you can update your LinkedIn page. If it’s your health or fitness, maybe you can schedule a workout with a friend. Taking action will help to alleviate some of the unease you may be feeling because you’ll feel like you’re taking an active role in making your situation better.

5.) Don’t put too much pressure on yourself // Small steps are just as important and beneficial as the big ones. Take your time and don’t put too much pressure on yourself. Sometimes we have to accept that we can’t give 110% to our goals all the time. You’re a human and there are going to be situations that just take time. If you’re doing your best, you’re doing more than enough. Don’t stop enjoying your life just because of a certain situation in your life.

6.) Learn from your experience and mistakes // Our past can be our best teacher. Sometimes we’re stuck in situations because we have something to learn. Try to understand why you’re in this current situation and figure out what you can learn from it so that you don’t make the same mistake again. I believe that sometimes we get stuck in situations because there is a bigger lesson we’re supposed to learn. The sooner we learn it, the sooner we can move on.

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Embrace the struggle (or the rain) // image via Pinterest

I hope this post helps some of you cope with your struggles. Remember, we are all struggling in some way but this too shall pass.

Embrace every day.

XO

6 Ways to be Happier Today

It’s Monday. The perfect day to talk about happiness.

I used to be the type of person who thought happiness was hard to come by. I was sort of an angsty teen and I always felt like my anxiety was going to make being happy really hard for me. Once I got out of that stage, went away to school and became the person I am today, I realized it’s not hard once you get the hang of it.

Happiness is something I feel like I’ve mastered. Both my outlook on life and my reactions to negative situations help me maintain a pretty steady level of happy. For example, on Thursday I backed my beloved car into a parked car at my friend’s house. A simple lack in judgement and absence of caution caused a major annoyance and stab to my pride that I definitely did not want to deal with. After it was over and done with my friend said, “Wow, you handled that really well.” And I replied with, “What other choice do I have?” No one was hurt, the damage was minor, the other person was extremely nice about it, and it happens to people all the time. Why let a great day be ruined by one mistake?

This kind of thing does take some time and some practice to master so I thought I would provide some easy tips to start feeling happier TODAY. I hope you all enjoy and find these useful.

Gratitude // This is so important! Wake up in the morning and think about what you’re grateful for. Go to bed at night and think about it again. Think about it in the shower too if you want. Everything from the most simple (sunlight, flowers) to the more materialistic (house, car) can be included. If you want to be successful and if you want to be happy you have to think about the amazing things you already have first. You’ll be amazed at how much this changes your life.

Nature // There are proven benefits that nature has to offer and sometimes all you need is to literally put your feet on the ground to feel “grounded”. Nature has a calming effect and can really put things into perspective. Realizing the sun will still rise and set tomorrow no matter what happens today will make you think about your problems a little differently.

Self-care // This includes many things: exercise, eating right, adequate water intake and good quality sleep. Some say the gut is the second brain in that what we eat can have serious effects on our mental state. When you’re taking care of your health, life suddenly becomes easier to manage. If you can take on your health you can take on anything.

Journaling // Journaling is a great way to release the “brain gunk” that may be floating around in your subconscious. Sometimes we don’t realize what is effecting us and journaling for 15 minutes can be a great way to get those emotions out in a safe, helpful way. It’s also really interesting to look back on.

Visualization // Or as I like to call it, imagination. I personally have always had a great imagination and I’m very good at visualizing. This is a great way to start off your morning. Take a few minutes and visualize what your life will be like tomorrow, a year from now, five years from now and so on. It’s actually really fun and you can literally imagine anything you want. Delve into your wildest dreams and really feel yourself being in the place you want to be in.

Planning // Make plans with your family or friends or even just schedule time within the week where you’ll do some kind of activity. Going shopping, going to the beach, or going out to dinner are all great options. When you have something to look forward to it makes life that much sweeter.

I hope this post helps you to achieve a happier tomorrow. I want you all to know that happiness is achievable! Sometimes it just takes a little bit of work and some lifestyle changes.

If you want to see more posts on happiness feel free to let me know in the comments below and if you want to get to know me a bit better feel free to follow me on my social media sites.

XO

How I Reduce my Travel Anxiety

Hi Guys!

I don’t think I’ve talked about it much on here yet but I unfortunately suffer from anxiety and have since childhood. Over the years I’ve gotten a pretty good hold over my everyday anxiety however, I still struggle a lot and I plan on doing a lot of posts in the future about how I cope. For today I wanted to focus on travel anxiety.

The world is so vast with so many things to see and so many people to meet. I knew it would be such a shame if my anxiety stopped me from travelling because it’s something I’m really passionate about. I am fortunate enough that I don’t have a fear of flying so airplanes are not the issue for me. However, the thought and feeling of being in a new place FREAKS me out.

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I have always been an adventure seeker and once I went away to college I made it a goal to travel at least once a year. Since then, I’ve made traveling a priority and had some amazing experiences. No matter what I do or how much I prepare I always have some type of anxiety especially on the first day of a trip. I recently came back from my first European trip which was a huge step in the right direction for me and I experienced some pretty bad anxiety while I was there. I thought I would compile what I’ve learned over the years so that if any of you are suffering this can maybe help. Please keep in mind that there are varying degrees of anxiety and this is just what worked for me. I understand there are people out there who fear flying or people who can’t even take long car trips. No matter what your level of anxiety is, I hope that this helps you in some way.

  1. Be prepared. Do errands ahead of time so that you’re not rushing the day before you leave. Start a week before and figure out what you need. This leaves time to pick up anything you may remember to bring as the week progresses. I usually start packing two days beforehand so I would definitely recommend not leaving that until the last minute either. Set reminders to print boarding passes or check in and charge your phone the night before.
  2. Make lists and stay organized. Mentally walk yourself through the days you’ll be away and figure out what you’ll be using. I like to make a list with good, old-fashioned pen and paper. I separate my packing list into toiletries, hair products, makeup, electronics, miscellaneous,etc. I also write out a general idea of what I’ll be wearing each day. I check the items off of my list AFTER they go in my suitcase and never before, to ensure that it’s really in my suitcase. I also bring the list with me so I can go over it before I go back home so that I know I haven’t left anything behind.travel
  3. Bring medicine if you need it. I’m not huge on taking anxiety medicines but sometimes it can be a helpful tool in getting you to calm down. There is a time and a place for taking these kinds of pills and I only take them if I’m having a serious meltdown. Your doctor can help you to better figure out what is right for you. You should also consider bringing ibuprofen and other meds in case you get sick. This is one mistake I made and I really regretted not bringing the medicine I needed.
  4. Find internet and contact family/friends. Once you get to a spot with Wifi, Facetime or message someone you love and trust. Knowing that they’re at home waiting for you will give you a sense of comfort. They can remind you home will still be there when you get back.
  5. Watch anti-anxiety videos or read articles on how to stop it. In Spain, at night, I would watch anti-anxiety, meditation videos. These helped me tremendously and allowed me to relax and calm my mind.
  6. Keep your routines as similar as you can. If you have a nighttime and morning routine try to follow it. This will help you to create a sense of home and give you some familiarity.
  7. Lastly, take deep breathes and now that it will pass 🙂

I wish you all a lifetime of worry free travels! Please comment down below and let me know if you have any tips or tricks on stopping travel anxiety.

XO

 

2017 Vision Board

Happy Friday!

I hope your week has been a good one. We got quite a bit of snow here last weekend and I decided to use my time stuck inside to revamp my vision board. I made mine last year but over time my opinions, passions and desires have changed so I decided to take some things off and add some new inspiration. I wanted to share how I created mine so that you guys could see how easy and helpful it is when it comes to figuring out what you really want out of life. I usually make mine with the next 2-3 years in mind. It’s basically a way to take the goals and aspirations in your head and put them on a physical board so that you’re able to consciously or subconsciously make them a reality. So let’s get started:

1.) Browse Pinterest for ideas. Look through boards you already have and pick out images that inspire you. What do you want out of your life over the next few years? It doesn’t need to be material either. Images that provoke certain emotions are also always added to my board. For mine, I created a secret board and pinned everything there that I wanted to print out.


2.) Search through magazines or old books and find any images you couldn’t find on Pinterest or any other images that inspire you.


3.) Buy some type of board. Mine is plain poster board from the dollar store but you can also use cork board or whatever you like. You should also pick up glue, tape and scissors if you don’t have those already.

4.) Print your Pinterest pictures, cut out your magazine images and enjoy yourself. Turn on music, light your candles, sit on the floor, whatever it is you need to do to make this enjoyable.


5.) Start assembling your board. It doesn’t need to be neat or perfect. Just arrange the images so that they fit. I have a lot on my board but having just a couple of images is fine too. There’s no rules here.

6.) Display it somewhere you’ll see it. Mine is pretty large so I prop it up against a wall in my room on the floor. Some days I look at it, some days I don’t but either way it’s there to remind me.

I hope you all enjoyed this post and I wish you the best in 2017. Let me know down below if you decide to create a vision board of your own.

XO

The Gap

Hey everyone!

We’re halfway through the week and for some reason this week is crawling by. Anybody feel the same? I thought I would give you guys a mid-week jolt of inspiration by talking about something called “The Gap”. This concept blew me away and really gave me a new perspective when it comes to accomplishing my goals and making my dreams a reality so I figured it could do the same for some of you. I originally saw it mentioned on Alex Ikonn‘s video called “Understanding the Gap- Why you shouldn’t give up on your dreams” and I’m so thankful I found the video.

“The Gap” is basically the period of time between when you start something creative to when you actually get good at doing that creative thing. We all have to start somewhere and most of the time we don’t start out good or great. The problem is that a lot of people get discouraged during this period and decide not to continue on. But it is so important to continue on! That’s the great thing about dreams is that they can be as big or as small as you want them to be and you don’t have to be good to start. All you have to do is start and put action behind your ideas.

We learn as we go and that’s what is so fulfilling about making our dreams come true. It takes a lot of hard work, it takes failure, dedication, passion and action. Sometimes it takes multiple tries but if you’re passionate about something go for it. It doesn’t matter if you suck or if you don’t know enough or if you feel like you’re too old or too young. If it’s never been done before that just means you’ll be the one to create that path.

This blog for example is my passion. It’s something I thought about doing for four years and I do it solely because I enjoy it and it’s a creative outlet for me. Am I great at it? No and I probably won’t be for a long time but that’s okay because I will learn, grow, fail and succeed over the course of running this blog. If there’s something out there you want to do, go do it. Just do it and learn as you go. You’ll find your way and learn so much in the process.

I hope I helped inspire some of you and I hope you’ll go check out the video on Alex’s Channel which I have linked. I hope you all have the most amazing week! Comment below and let me know what some of your dreams are. I would love to hear them!

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image via pinterest

 

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-XO Amber