How to Design Your Perfect Nighttime Routine

How to Design Your Perfect Nighttime Routine

If you’re like most people, then you’ve probably fallen into these two traps before:

1. You work RIGHT up until you go to sleep

2. You spend your time before going to sleep in front of a screen – whether that’s your phone, computer, or TV

If either (or both!) of these things apply to you, don’t worry – you’re so not alone.

In fact, MANY of us tend to engage in unhealthy behaviours before bed (like the two above) that actually make it harder for us to fall asleep! 

Now, if you’re reading this, you probably already know the importance of having a healthy nighttime routine in place, but you may be having trouble actually implementing one (can I get an amen?). Perhaps you’ve read all the “top 10 things you NEED to do before going to bed” articles, but are still left where you were before – without a solid routine in place. UGH. Why is it so darn difficult?!

 

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Well, the problem is, a lot of these articles only focus on ONE nighttime routine. But we’re all different – so how can ONE routine work for all of us? It doesn’t make any sense!

That’s why for this blog post, I wanted to teach you how you can design your own unique nighttime routine that works for YOU (and JUST you)

The following list of habits, therefore, is fairly long, but it’s not intended for you to do EVERY single one of them. Instead, I’m going to be discussing:

1. What each habit is

2. Who it will work for, and

3. Who it won’t work for

That way, YOU’LL be able to make a decision yourself as to whether or not it will fit with your lifestyle.

So are you ready? Because by the end of this blog post, you’ll have created (for once and for all) YOUR – and no one else’s – PERFECT nighttime routine!

Habit #1 – Stop working before going to bed

Okay, so for this first habit, I would actually suggest that we all try to incorporate it into our routine. Why? Because you need to mentally separate “work time” from “rest time”. This allows your mind to have time to wind down instead of just trying to immediately switch ‘off’.

But what if I’m a night owl? What if I’m more creative and more productive at night?

I hear you. In fact, I’m the same way. If this applies to you, you should still take up this habit. Let’s say you want to work up until 1:30am. Instead of trying to fall asleep immediately after you finish working at 1:30am, just make sure you leave time after that to wind down (maybe stay up until 2am).

Going to bed late isn’t this big, bad thing that a lot of people make it out to be. If it works for you, then it works for you – you just have to make sure you still have some chillax time!

Habit #2 – Switch off your devices

I would recommend this one to most people as well, but not necessarily everyone.

Here’s the thing: the screens on our laptops and phones emit a “blue light”, and it’s been proven that this type of light contributes to poorer sleep quality. So if you’re using your phone to endlessly scroll down your social media feeds and watch videos at nightthis is something you’ll definitely want to stop doing

However, some of us may actually benefit from watching certain videos before we go to bed. For example, there are some amazing ASMR videos on YouTube that work wonders in helping a lot of people sleep.

To determine whether you’re someone who will benefit from this type of content, I recommend checking out this YouTube channel. If these videos make you feel relaxed, you may want to consider adding them to your nighttime routine. If they don’t do much for you, then I suggest avoiding screens altogether.

Habit #3 – Eat a small snack

You’ve probably heard a gazillion times that you “shouldn’t eat before bed”. The thing is, this isn’t necessarily true for everyone!

While some people’s metabolisms may get thrown off if they eat before bed, some people find that evening snacking works perfectly fine – if not better – for them (check out this article to see what I mean!). Personally, I find that having a small piece of fruit is a great way to end my day and signify to my body that it’s time for bed. If you’re like me, then a small and healthy (keywords!) evening snack is perfectly fine.

However, if you have a tendency to overeat, or if you only want to snack on unhealthy foods – this is when you know that you shouldn’t be adding this habit to your nighttime routine.

Habit #4 – Drink a hot tea

If you’re anything like me, then you love a nice cup of soothing herbal tea before bed! 

I especially love drinking lemon balm tea because it’s known for inducing drowsiness (and honestly, it DOES). Some other teas that help promote sleep include chamomile, valerian root, lavender, and peppermint.

Many people find drinking tea before bed to be a calming and benefiting ritual – but not everyone.

Some people find that drinking tea before bed makes them have to get up in the middle of the night to use the bathroom. This doesn’t affect me because I’m a fairly heavy sleeper (there could be a raging tornado outside and I’d sleep through it like a log), but if you’re a light sleeper or if you have a more sensitive bladder, then I suggest staying away from this one.

Habit #5 – Take a shower

This one is prone to causing some debate. I myself am on the side of the evening shower supporters. I find that showering at night relaxes me and immediately makes me think “chill-time”. If you’re like me, then having a shower every night is a great addition to your nighttime routine. Just make sure you don’t wash your hair every night!

For some people though, nighttime showers just don’t work for them. Many people find that showering is something that makes them feel more awake and energized. If this applies to you, then definitely skip this habit and save it for your morning routine.

Habit #6 – Listen to relaxing music

Okay, this is one I’m alllll for. Listening to calming music before going to bed immediately gets me into a zen mood.

My favourite types of music to listen to in the evening are ambient music, spa music, nature sounds, or sometimes even somber classical music. But honestly, there are SO many genres to choose from.

I encourage you to explore Spotify or YouTube to find what genre of music suits you for your nighttime routine.

Listening to music before bed may not be for everyone though. A lot of people prefer just plain peace and quiet to help them get to sleep. Again, everyone’s unique, and you’ll have to do a bit of experimenting to find what suits you!

Habit #7 – Use essential oils

Ahhhh, aromatherapy – how I love a good smell before bed!

I find that using sleep-inducing essential oils in my diffuser such as lavender, cedarwood, and clary sage works wonders in helping me relax. Sometimes I’ll even put my diffuser on in my bathroom as I shower to create my own little “relaxation chamber”. I love it!

Some people, however, may be a little bit sensitive to scents, and so using essential oils before bed may not be right for them. I encourage you to sample some scents and see what feels right for you!

Habit #8 – Dim the lights

This is one that I beleive pretty much everyone should add to their nighttime routine. Why? Well, I think we can all agree that when it’s darker, we feel more relaxed (this isn’t personal preference, it’s biology). Dimming the lights is therefore a super easy and super effective way to signal to your body that it’s time to unwind.

I love using candles at night because they instantly put me into a very zen headspace. I also suggest investing in a Himalyan salt lamp. These beautiful lamps emit a wonderfully soothing orange light that is just sooooo calming. If you haven’t tried one yet, I highly recommend it!

Whether you choose candles, salt lamps, or both, be sure to put something right beside you on your bedside table so that you can see what you’re doing. And this brings me to my next few habits…

Habit #9 – Journal

Honestly, I swear by this one! 

For me, writing stream of consciousness at night helps me get all my remaining thoughts out before I go to bed. This makes it much easier for me to sleep because I have no thoughts left in my head to keep me awake!

So if any of you have difficulty sleeping because of overthinking, I highly recommend taking up this habit. To learn more about how to use stream of consciousness journaling, check out this article: How to Use Stream of Consciousness Journaling: 7 Tips to Start Clearing Your Mind.

Some of you, however, may not benefit from this habit. Why? Because some people may find that they get too caught up in the writing. This is especially true for people who really enjoy writing and people who feel more productive/creative at night. If this is you, then journaling at night may actually energize you and make you feel more productive! This is counteractive in a nighttime routine, and I’d suggest leaving this for your morning routine instead.

Habit #10 – Write down three things you enjoyed about the day

Another pretty much universal one here!

I would recommend this one to everyone simply because practicing gratitude is 100% beneficial and has ZERO side effects if you do it at night!

By writing down three things that you enjoyed about your day (in other words, three things you’re grateful for), you’re able to reflect on your day in a healthy way and end it on a positive note. Too often, we spend our nights thinking about all the things we didn’t do during the day and stressing about things we have to do tomorrow. This practice shifts the focus from the past and the future to the present moment.

Habit #11 – Plan for the next day

Okay, this is one that I personally like doing during my morning instead of my evening. Many of you, however, will definitely benefit from this one at night.

If you find that you waste a lot of time throughout your day making decisions – what to wear, what to eat, what to work on, what show to watch, what book to read, etc., then you may want to consider setting aside 20 minutes from your evening to plan your next day. It could honestly end up being a HUGE time-saver and and stress-reducer for you!

For me, I find that scheduling at night makes me think a bit too much, if that makes sense. It energizes me and makes me feel like I’m ready to go (not exactly what I want to feel just before bed!).

If you’re not quite sure what would suit you, I recommend spending one week trying this habit and seeing how it makes you feel. It may work for you, it may not be quite right! Again, we’re allllll different.

Habit #12 – Read

I can’t go one night without reading. In fact, for as long as I can remember I’ve always set aside a good 30 minutes to get through some pages of my book before going to bed. Not only does it help me get through my ever-expanding reading list, but it also makes me super drowsy!

A lot of people find that reading helps them sleep, but some people may not. If you’re the type of person that gets super-duper invested in a story and can never seem to put a book down, then maybe this shouldn’t be something you do RIGHT before bed. If it makes you lose sleep rather than help you get to sleep, you may benefit from reading at a different time of day.

Also – it all depends on what book you’re reading. I find that non-fiction books that require quite a bit of thinking and brain-power aren’t the best for me to read at night. Instead, I tend to go for fairly easy-to-read fictional stories before bed (here’s a list of some fun ones to get you started!).

Habit #13 – Exercise

Okay, similar to the whole “don’t eat before you go to bed” thing, you may have also heard that it’s not great to exercise before bed. But again – it’s totally different for everyone. For some people, doing a full-on exercise before bed helps them sleep better, and for others, it may make them lose sleep.

If you’re not quite sure what side of the spectrum you fall on, I suggest starting by doing some gentle stretches or a mellow yoga flow (like this one) before bed. For me, this works best. Also, paired with a chilled-out music playlist makes for the PERFECT pre-sleep ritual!

Habit #14 – Breathing exercises

This last one is another pretty much universal one. I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again – deep breathing works wonders. It’s an instant way to feel more relaxed and centred – which is just what you want before bed!

Final thoughts and reminders

Your nighttime is unique to you, so it’s important you take some time to figure out what works the best for you, not for someone else. We’re all different, and we all benefit from different things.

Once you’ve designed your own personal nighttime routine, I guarantee that not only will you get a better sleep and feel more motivated the next day, but you’ll also actually look forward to going to bed!

Sweet dreams for now!

How to Heal Your Inner Child When You Criticize Her Every Day

How to Heal Your Inner Child When You Criticize Her Every Day

As we make our way through life’s journey, somewhere along our travels from childhood to adulthood we often pick up some very flawed beliefs about ourselves and the world around us. There’s one belief in particular that stands out, as it has the most damaging effects on our lives… 

That belief is this:

That when we grow up, we have nothing to do with our childhood selves. That ‘childhood’ and ‘adulthood’ are two separate entities that exist independently of each other. Once we’ve grown up, we’ve moved on. We’re adults. And there’s nothing child-like about that – right?

Wrong.

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You’ve probably heard the term ‘inner child’ thrown around before, but like many terms, it’s gained a bit of a misunderstood reputation. In reality though, it’s super simple:

Think of your inner child like you think of your shadow. Although you’re not physically your shadow, it’s still very much connected to you and follows you wherever you go (even if it’s a bit hidden at times!).

The exact same goes with your inner child. Even though you’re not physically a child anymore, she’s still very much with youJust because you’ve gained the title of “ADULT” doesn’t mean that you’ve suddenly severed all ties with the childlike part of yourself.

In fact, there are really only two things that have changed about you since you’ve become an adult:

1) your outward appearance

&

2) the things you’ve learned throughout your years living on this earth

And it’s this second one that we’ll be focusing on in this article – because this is one that causes us some problems!

The lens we see the world through

When we were children, we were constantly learning about ourselves and the world around us. Our minds were like these super porous sponges that just sopped up everything we saw, heard, and experienced.

We learned what was “right” from what was “wrong”, what was “good” from what was “bad”, and what was “normal” from what was “weird”. All these things we learned became logged in our mind to create a kind of ‘lens’ that we saw the world through. And this ‘world lens’ of ours doesn’t just stay with us in childhood, it stays with us our entire lives.

In other words, the experiences we’ve had in the past shape the way we see (and behave in) the present.

This can be a bit tricky to understand, so if you’d like a bit of a deeper explanation, check out this previous blog post: How Negative Thinking Gets Wired into Your Brain. It does a great job explaining how this “thought-logging” works in more detail. I also suggest signing up for our free 4-Day Anxiety Course as it comes with some super useful hands-on exercises that help you analyze and challenge your ingrained thoughts and beliefs!

What becomes of bad experiences?

Now, many of the things we learned as children that become logged in our minds as adults were perfectly fine. For example, if we burnt the tip of our finger on a candle, for the rest of our lives we would know that fire = hot. I think we can all agree that that’s a fairly useful part of our ‘world lens’!

But there are also many harmful experiences that have become logged in our minds that make us believe certain things. These are called “wounds”. These wounds will differ from person to person, but there’s one thing for sure: everyone has wounds in some form or another. In fact, the vast majority of the negative behaviours and negative traits we have in life are a direct result of unhealed wounds from our childhood.

Here are 22 common signs that you may have unhealed wounds from childhood:

  1. You have low self-esteem
  2. You have poor body image
  3. You have problems when it comes to eating (bad relationship with food)
  4. You have feelings of shame or regret over something that happened in the past
  5. You’re a people-pleaser
  6. You feel inadequate as an adult
  7. You have trouble committing to or trusting other people
  8. You have difficulty letting go of things (or people)
  9. You feel as if you don’t have your own sense of identity
  10. You have feelings of guilt/shame when it comes to romance
  11. You have issues with jealousy
  12. You have social anxiety
  13. You regularily engage in self-destructive behaviour
  14. You have trouble doing “grown-up” things on your own
  15. You have difficulty making decisions (either big or small)
  16. You’re unable to assert your own opinion to others
  17. You have anger issues/you can’t control your emotions 
  18. You feel anxious when outisde of your comfort zone
  19. You feel like you’re wearing a “mask” around other people (you feel you can’t fully be yourself)
  20. You have dependency issues
  21. You’re passive-aggressive
  22. You have difficulty communicating/confronting others

Hot to figure out what your wounds were

There are SO many different types of childhood wounds that may result in negative behaviours (like the ones listed above) in adulthood.

On the more extreme side, there’s trauma. Trauma is the most harmful wound of all, as it can have absolutely devastating consequences.

But besides trauma, there are so many other ‘little’ wounds that may have caused you to behave a certain way in adulthood. Here are a few examples of some common negative behaviours and the possible wounds that may have caused them:

  • Negative behaviour/trait: you have difficulty asserting yourself to others
  • Possible wound: You were taught that “children should be heard and not seen”

 

  • Negative behaviour/trait: you have guilt when it comes to romance
  • Possible wound: You were told that you couldn’t date until you graduated High School

 

  • Negative behaviour/trait: you believe you’re incapable of doing things on your own
  • Possible wound: You were coddled as a child

These are of course just a few examples – I encourage you to do some digging and think about what your own wounds may be!

But even if you can’t quite pinpoint what your specific wounds were, that’s totally okay! You don’t need to know exactly what they were in order to overcome the negative behaviours associated with them. 

The only thing you need to realize is that you DO have wounds from your childhood, and that they are in desperate need of some TLC!

So in part 2 of this article, I’ll be going over 12 practical steps you can take to reconnect with and heal your inner child. 

Read part 2 here

5 Sneaky Ways Technology is Making Your Anxiety Worse

5 Sneaky Ways Technology is Making Your Anxiety Worse

Our phones, laptops, and social media accounts are like our very dear yet slightly two-faced best friends – we can’t live without them, yet they drive us insane!

Now first things first: I’m not saying that technology is “bad” or that we should go back to a time when we lived without it. Not at all. In fact, I’m a HUGE fan of technology! It’s pretty much the backbone of our entire society, and I’m all here for it.

But (you knew there was a but!) – technology can come with a slightly dark side, especially when it becomes so pervasive in our daily lives.

And that dark side goes by a name you’re all familiar with: ANXIETY.

So in this article, I thought I’d illustrate the 5 main ways that our devices fuel our anxiety levels. It may be tempting to turn to technology to keep us entertained during social isolation – but as you’ll soon see, too much of it may come at a cost to your mental health.

Disclaimer: products on this page may contain affiliate links. We only promote products that we think are super awesome and will provide value to you! You can read more about our terms here.

  Just want to let ya know: The information and tips on this website are from my personal experience with anxiety and are not a substitute for any type of medical, psychological or health advice.

There is always help out there, and you can find a mental health professional locally, through your doctor, or through an online directory like this one. This is a link to a great article with affordable therapy options and this is an affiliate link to a great online therapy option. If you are in a crisis, I have a list of help hotlines here. You are not alone!!

1) Wiping Out Uncertainty

When was the last time you went somewhere new in a city without first planning out the route on Google Maps? 

I use Google Maps religiously, so I always know exactly where I’m going, how much time it’ll take me to get there, and when the next bus comes. It’s great. I know exactly what to expect. 

And it’s not just Google Maps that takes away uncertainty like this. Before going to a party, we can see how many people will be attending on the Facebook event. Before heading to a new restaurant, we can check the reviews on TripAdvisor. Before going to a café, we can look online to see how busy it is. 

This is all super useful. But at the same time, it conditions us to being certain of everything.

In turn, we may notice we get overly anxious when we’re confronted with situations that we can’t control or predict – which are of course an inevitable part of life!

2) The Fear of Real-Life, Face-to-Face Interaction

Imagine if you could “edit” your speech while you were talking to someone. 

Aside from being time-consuming (and a bit Black Mirror-ish), this is essentially what we’re doing when we text. When a physical screen becomes the medium for communication, we can take as much time as we want editing our message.

Instead of having an awkward in-person confrontation with someone, we can spend an hour crafting the perfect response. Instead of going through the nerve-wracking process of asking someone out in person, we can just send them a well-worded and witty proposition through Messenger. We can hide behind our screens and compose.

But real-time, face-to-face face communication isn’t going anywhere – so we have to be comfortable with it!

Getting too comfortable communicating through a screen can make us feel more socially anxious when the screen is replaced with a real live person.

3) The “Compare and Despair” Trap

We all know of Instagram’s insidious way of tricking us into thinking that the perfectly curated “highlight reel” of photos that we’re shown on the app are a representation of real life – every perfect outfit, perfect holiday, perfect meal. 

We know that these photos aren’t “real life”. But even though we logically know this, it’s easy to forget when we’re going down the rabbit hole of scrolling through photo…after photo…after photo…after photo.

When we’re wrapped up in the present moment, our brains have a difficult time separating fact from fiction.

Example – we know that movies aren’t “real life” but we still get invested in the story. It’s the same thing with Instagram. We know that the photos aren’t “real life”, but we still compare ourselves and our lives to the idealized images that we’re shown. 

And with constant comparing comes constant anxiety. Anxiety in the form of, “my life doesn’t look as perfect as that – am I not good enough? Am I doing something wrong?!”. Head-ache.

4) Disconnecting, Unplugging, and Switching ‘Off’

Even on a less “mental” level, technology can have a nasty habit of making us feel physically anxious as well. I like to refer to it as a “technology hangover”. 

You know the days when you just spend hours in front of a screen? Maybe you’re having a FRIENDS marathon on Netflix, or maybe you’re just feeling particularly inspired and have spent the whole afternoon typing away your next big novel. It doesn’t matter what you’re doing, but for some reason you feel a bit shaky afterwards. A bit unsettled. Like you’re in a weird fog and you can’t seem to disconnect and fully return to reality.

Looking at a screen for long periods of time often has the after-effect of making us feel a bit jittery and anxious.

The reason behind this is that the blue light emitted from our screens actually delays the release of melatonin and increases alertness. But like one too many cups of coffee, sometimes this alertness isn’t such a good feeling.

5) Too Much of a Good Thing

It’s nice to have choice. It’s nice to have access to millions of blogs, websites, documentaries, audiobooks, podcasts, and online courses. We can learn about basically anything we want. All we have to do is choose something we’re interested in, and click. Sounds like a dream.

While having access to all these resources is truly incredible, it also makes it easy to become overwhelmed with too many good things to choose from.

We feel anxious that we may have chosen the “wrong” thing. I love using Skillshare, for example, but I have to admit that even though I’ve started a figure drawing course, I can’t help but feel that little tapping in the back of my mind reminding me that there are so many other courses out there – should I be doing those instead? Is there something better out there? Am I missing out on something?

This “decision paralysis” can make us feel so confused that we end up doing nothing rather than doing something – fuelling our anxiety even more!

Final thoughts

 As much as it can be tempting to spend social isolation plugged into your devices, it’s important to know that it may definitely come at a cost in the long run.

Remember: moderation is key!

The healthier of a relationship you have with technology, the healthier your mind will be. If your anxiety levels have been on the rise during social isolation, I encourage you to challenge yourself to go for 24 hours without any screen-time! Just switch all your devices off, and see if you notice a difference in your mood (and check out this list of self-care ideas for other ways you could spend your time!).

If you’re looking for more tips and tricks on how to incorporate more stress-free living into your life, check out my free resources self-care resources! I consistently add new awesome journal exercises, daily self-care trackers, calendars, and more!

5 Simple Mantras to Reduce Stress

5 Simple Mantras to Reduce Stress

You know when you feel like you have a million and one things to do and NO time to do them? When your to-do list just seems to be getting longer and longer as the day goes on? Or when you’re so overwhelmed that even the smallest of tasks puts you over the edge?

Well, we’ve all been there. And this is exactly where a mantra comes in handy!

Disclaimer: products on this page may contain affiliate links. We only promote products that we think are super awesome and will provide value to you! You can read more about our terms here.

How mantras work

First of all – what exactly is a mantra?

A mantra is a word or phrase that you repeat to yourself in order to alter your consciousness and re-shape the way you see your reality. Sounds like magic, right? It’s pretty close to it!

Here’s why it works – our reality is shaped by the way we think about reality. And the way we think about reality is shaped by what we say

For example, if you’re constantly putting yourself down by saying “I’m so stupid” or “I’m so ugly”, you’ll start to truly believe it! The more you say these negative things about yourself, the more your brain will think it’s a fact.

Mantras work, therefore, by instilling positive ways of thinking into your mind by”forcing” you to think good thoughts! When it comes to mantra, the magic truly lies in the words!

Mantras and stress

A mantra is in essence a form of meditation. And like all mediation, it has the ability to alter your mindset by bringing you a deep sense of calm.

Mindset is THE most important thing you can focus on when trying to do or achieve anything in life. Among other things, your mindset can help you:

  • reach your career goals
  • manage your mental health
  • improve your self-esteem
  • reach your fitness goals
  • make friends

It can also help you attain a much calmer state of mind when you’re feeling stressed out!

The following 5 mantras are specially designed to target a stressed-out mindset. I recommend writing them down either on your phone, on your laptop, or anywhere near your workspace so that you’ll be able to quickly refer back to them the next time you feel your stress levels on the rise!

The 5 anti-stress mantras

Mantra #1: I will not hesitate, I will just do what I need to do

This has worked absolute wonders for me, as I’m sure it will for you too.

If you feel like you’re at a standstill because you just don’t know where to start – this will help give you some clarity and motivation. It will push you along to just start doing what you’ve gotta do! It could be anything from doing your laundry, to exercising, to studying, to working on your goals and dreams!

Mantra #2: I will accept what I cannot control

Many of us tend to get frustrated and stressed out over things that we have no way of controlling. One of the biggest examples is frustration over what other people do.

This is completely wasted energy. Why? Because it’s impossible for you to control! You have NO power over other people – you only have power over yourself. So all you need to focus on? You! This mantra will help remind you of this.

Mantra #3: With every deep breath I take, I feel myself becoming more calm

Taking deep breaths is an amazing way to immediately feel calmer and more at peace. However, when we have an overwhelmed mindset, we often forget about doing this. Instead, we tend to take short, shallow breaths that make us feel more anxious and more on edge!

This mantra will remind you to STOP what you’re doing and take some deep breaths. Once you’ve finished, you’ll be able to return to your work in a much more centred and aligned state of mind.

Mantra #4: I accept myself as I am

A lot of the time we can get quite frustrated and overwhelmed because we doubt ourselves and don’t believe that we can do something. We may fear that if we try something new – whether that’s a new project or just a new recipe – we’ll make a mistake or fail completely.

This way of thinking is toxic, and is just getting in the way of you doing what you need to do! This mantra will help take the focus away from your flaws and help you accept yourself as you are – imperfections and all.

Mantra #5: I’ve done more than enough today

This last one’s designed for all you over-achievers out there (myself included!).

Too often we set WAY too high expectations for ourselves with regards to how much we want to cross off our to-do list. We’re not superhuman, and we’re only awake for about 14-16 hours a day! We need to leave time for resting, enjoying, socializing, eating, etc.

If you’re anything like me though, you’ll constantly feel guilty about not having done enough in your day, regardless of how much you’ve actually done (which is usually more than you think!). This mantra will help remind you to be more realistic. And even if you haven’t had an overly productive day – it happens! You always have tomorrow.

Final thoughts

The more you incorporate these positive anti-stress mantras into your daily routine, the more calm and centred you will feel as you work your way through your to-do list.

Remember: YOU have the power to change your mindset and re-wire your thoughts. All it takes is dedication and practice!

To learn more about how you can harness the power of your thoughts to design your life for the better, check out all of my self-care resources!

15 Ways to Cope with the Pressures of Being a Good “Adult”

15 Ways to Cope with the Pressures of Being a Good “Adult”

 

When I was a child, I used to think of adults as these all-knowing, totally put-together, completely without-fault beings that had all the answers to everything and knew exactly what they were doing in life. I also thought that when I was older, I would suddenly wake up one day and be one of these adults.

Well, I’m almost 26 years old now (a real-life “adult”) – and I can confirm two things that totally disprove my childhood fancies:

1. Becoming an adult wasn’t sudden. It happened gradually – so gradually, in fact, that it was hard to tell whether it actually happened or not!

And

2. Adults are NOT these all-knowing, totally put-together, completely without fault beings that have all the answers to everything and know exactly what they’re doing. Nope, not at all.

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I’m not the only one who feels this way, either. I’ve had so many discussions with my other grown-up friends and we all agree on the same thing:

We don’t feel like we live up to our childhood fantasy of what a “real adult” is like.

But that’s just it – it’s all a fantasy! The truth is, being an adult (or “adulting”, as it’s called now), isn’t as rigid and as straightforward of a definition as a lot of us may think it is. In fact, our idea of what a “real adult” is is a total illusion!

But if that’s the case, then why do so many of us still feel the pressure “to have it all together” and “to be a good adult”?

Well, it’s all thanks to some outdated societal expectations that have been imposed on us since we were children. That is, the expectation that life should follow this ONE linear progression:

Go to High School – go to College/University – get a job – earn money – get married – buy a house – have kids – etc, etc…

The thing is: this is just ONE pathway in life! And for many of us, this pathway may be completely unrealistic, unreachable, or just undesirable. But despite this, so many of us tend to judge our worth as an “adult” based on how closely we’ve followed this path.

I’m here to tell you that you need to GET RID of this totally archaic idea of there only being one correct way of going about adulthood. Throw it out the window! You don’t need to “live up to” or “fit into” any one specific definition. We are all completely different, and we are all travelling through the adventure of life on totally different paths. And that’s what makes this world (and all the people in it) so incredibly interesting!

Now that you understand this, I want to help you even further by giving you 15 ways that you can deal with the unrealistic pressures of adulting in a positive way.

The more you do each and every one of these things, the more self-assured you’ll feel that you’re doing the right thing. Because trust me, you are.

15 Tips to Help You Deal with the Unrealistic Pressures of Being an “Adult”

1. Fuel your passions

‘Life fulfillment’ doesn’t just mean ‘career fulfillment’ – it goes much deeper than that. Do some soul searching to find out what really makes you tick and dedicate more time to doing that. When you make time for your passions, you’re allowing yourself to experience what makes life truly worth living (and if that’s not what being an adult is all about, then I don’t know what the point is!).

2. Question your self-imposed deadlines

Who says you need to get married by age 27 and have your first child at 28? If you feel like you’re always under a time crunch to go through life’s milestones and get onto the next stage of life, then you’re totally going to miss out on the most important part of these things – enjoyment. Relax! Everyone is going at their own pace. There’s no rush – it’s all in your head!

3. Be willing to feel negative emotions

One side effect of the happiness movement is that it has a habit of making us feel guilty if we feel sad or angry. This is problematic, as these are completely natural and necessary emotions. One of the kindest things you can do to yourself is to just allow yourself to feel these things without judgement. Next time you’re having a bad day (or week), don’t beat yourself up about it.

4. Take responsibility for your life

You are powerful, you are capable, and you are in control of your life. The sooner you realize this, the sooner you’ll stop feeling like a victim of the world around you (which is one of the most damaging things we can do to ourselves!). It’s completely within your ability to change your life – all it starts with is your mindset

5. Stop waiting for other people

This ties into the above point. No one else is going to change your life for you – only you can do that. Your parents can’t, your partner can’t, your best friends can’t. So if you’re waiting around for OTHER people to change, you’re going to be waiting around for a looooong time! Stop looking outward, and start focusing inward.

6. Get clear on your values

Going through life as an adult without being clear on what your values are can make decision-making way more difficult than it needs to be (which is a source of stress for MANY of us!). Spend some time writing down what your core beliefs are – that is, the things that are most important to you in life – and then use them to guide you as you make important decisions throughout life (if you want help figuring out your values, this article is a great place to start!).

7. Relieve your money stress

Just because you’re an adult doesn’t mean that all of a sudden you have to FREAK OUT about investments, mortgages, credit scores, and other financial things. Relaaaax. The best thing you can do now is just to start putting aside and saving a small percentage of your money. Even if you only make $100 a month – put away $5!

8. Stick to a schedule

Having a routine in place that you follow is an incredible way to get more things done throughout your day – things that you need to do, and things that you WANT to do (this one’s especially important!). By using a schedule to plan out your day, you’ll be able to set aside time to do things that truly energize you so that you can feel more aligned with your true self

9. Take it one day at a time

Like I said before, everyone is travelling through life at their own unique pace. If going at high speed doesn’t work for you, that’s totally fine (in fact – it’s probably for the better!). Just focus on taking baby steps. Remember: it’s the little things we do every day that will make the biggest difference in the long run.

10. Listen to those around you

One of the biggest mistakes that we can make as adults is to think that we know everything about everything and that OUR opinion is the RIGHT opinion. This way of thinking will just close you off from learning so many things there are to learn from other people! Listen, listen, listen – to everyone and everything. You may be surprised what you learn.

11. Celebrate your success

And I don’t just mean big successes – it’s the small successes that deserve to be celebrated more. Too often, we have these grand expectations and high standards for ourselves and will only feel good when we’ve achieved these things. This is no way to live, as it completely overlooks the importance of the little things in life that make it truly worth living!

 

12. Learn something new every day

Just because you’ve graduated doesn’t mean you should stop learning. Far from it. In fact, learning something new every day (no matter how small!) is one of the best ways to feel more fulfilled as a human being! We’re curious creatures, and we need to constantly fuel that curiosity of ours. Open a book, listen to a podcast, watch a documentary…there are so many cool things out there just waiting for you to discover!

13. Keep your inner child satisfied

Although adulthood and childhood are two separate stages of life, being mature and being child-like are not opposites. In fact, they work much better when they’re joined together, like a perfectly balanced yin and yang. It’s so important, as adults, that we nurture and take care of our inner child, because it’s this inner child that’s going to help keep us connected and aligned with our true purpose in life.

14. Reflect on how far you’ve come

Just like celebrating small successes is important, so too is looking back on how far you’ve come. When we cross the threshold from childhood into adulthood, we tend to get a little bit of amnesia when it comes to realizing how much we’ve grown. Many of us think, “Oh my god, I’m 25 years old and I have nothing to show for it”, when in reality, you’ve probably grown SO much even in just the past year! Before getting down on yourself, always look back to see how far you’ve actually come – you may be surprised!

15. Focus less on doing and more on being

“Life is just flying by!” – how many of you have thought this before? I’m guessing most of you! Well, it’s not because of some flaw in the time-space continuum – it’s because we’re often so busy doing things in our adult life that we never feel fully in the moment – the calm, still, present moment. Don’t make this mistake forever, because you will regret it someday. Life isn’t just about doing, accomplishing, and achieving –

It’s about being.
The more you can learn to immerse yourself in the present moment, the more at peace you will feel with yourself – the amazing, unique, and totally fine adult that you are!

30 Self-Care Tips for Introverts (and why it’s important)

30 Self-Care Tips for Introverts (and why it’s important)

“Society has a cultural bias towards extroverts” – Susan Cain

It doesn’t take a whole lot of searching to discover just how true this statement is. When it comes to introversion and extroversion, we definitely live in a world that favours the latter.

But first of all – what exactly is introversion and extroversion?

(spoiler alert: it’s not just “shy” and “not shy”)

 

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Extroverts – The Social Butterflies

Extroverts are people who get energized when they’re around other people. They’re the social butterflies of the world. And if these butterflies spend too much time alone, they’ll start to feel isolated and uninspired. Full of life, full of energy, and full of chat – you’ll always find the extroverts wherever the action is (think Genie from Aladdin – that should paint a pretty good – if not slightly exaggerated – picture).

Introverts – The Not-So Social Butterflies

Introverts, on the other hand, get their energy from being alone. This doesn’t mean they don’t like being social or aren’t friendly, it just means that too much social interaction drains them. They therefore tend to be the ones who are quieter, more introspective, and usually a good few feet away from all the action (think Belle from Beauty and the Beast. Slightly romanticized, but I think we’ll take it).

There’s a place for both these wonderful types of people in our world. But the reality is: society tends to privilege extroverted traits over introverted ones.

Think about it – how many times have you heard ‘leadership’, ‘action-oriented’ and ‘team-player’ spewed out as virtuous qualities to aim for? And how many times have you totally faked these virtuous qualities on your resume in an attempt to land a job?

There’s an extrovert expectation that’s imposed on children from the time they can walk and talk – Beth Buelow

This extrovert expectation can be seen everywhere you look. The business world is a perfect example – where being persuasive, decisive, and assertive – trademark extrovert traits – is pretty well the holy trinity of the corporate game (besides being able to speak very LOUDLY).

And it’s not just in the business world – this extrovert bias can also be seen in the other most important institution in our societyschools.

Participation grades – my story

When I was in University, we had this god-awful practice in place called participation grades (I’ll take a moment here to let every introvert reading this catch their breath).

During class, we were expected to speak up and contribute to the discussion. The thing is, I didn’t want to speak up and contribute. It wasn’t because I was shy – it was just because this simply wasn’t the way I (or any other introvert sitting in that class) operated.

I work best by listening to other people and then having time to process my thoughts on my own.  And a 30 minute class discussion where 20 people are going back and forth debating doesn’t quite allow for that.

I would always feel so overwhelmed when I was sitting in these classes. And it didn’t make matters any better when I could see my professor glaring at me from across the room just waiting for me to “speak up”. 

It never happened, and I have the grades to show it.

Knowing yourself and the world around you

What it all comes down to is this: you need to know how you work and you need to know how the world around you works. Only once you know this will you be able to understand how to make yourself happy in it. 

This is true for both introverts and extroverts. Introverts, however, may need a little extra help with this, as our society does little in the way of helping them on its own.

And THIS is where the power of self-care comes in

For us introverts, think of self-care as your lifeline. Without it, you’ll have a hard time being able to function in the extroverted world around you. That’s why for this article, I thought I’d round up my best, most effective self-care habits to keep all you introverts feeling fulfilled, energized, and FULLY operational!

So go some place quiet and listen up (which I know you will because you’re all great listeners), because here are 30 THINGS that are going to help you survive in this hectic world.

Come out of your shell’ – that noxious expression which fails to appreciate that some animals naturally carry shelter everywhere they go and some humans are just the same” – Susan Cain

30 Self Care Ideas for Introverts

 

1. Schedule in daily alone time

Now when I say schedule, I mean schedule – schedule it in that calendar like a doctor’s appointment! Even if it’s for ten minutes every afternoon, make sure you spend some part of your day A-L-O-N-E.

2. Learn how to say ‘no’

And stop feeling guilty about it! There’s no need to take on more than you can chew. If your body’s telling you that you don’t want to do something, you need to listen to to you body. 

3. Have a solo morning routine

Being alone in the morning is essential for an introvert to start their day off on the right foot (read: be in a good mood). Wake up before anyone else, do your stuff, and watch how much more aligned you feel for the rest of the day.

4. Have a solo night routine

This is just as important as your morning routine. Ending your day alone will give you time to be quiet, reflect, and work through any thoughts you have before going to sleep.

5. Stop comparing yourself to extroverts

Remember – society favours extroverted traits. This means that people who aren’t like are going to be celebrated as the “ideal” in the media and in your life. Don’t let it get to you. Remember: you are totally fine just the way you are.

6. Spend time in nature

This is one of the best ways to feel instantly refreshed and energized. Go for a walk around your block, go for a hike in the forest, or even just take a few deep breaths on your doorstep (pretending not to notice any of your neighbours who walk by, of course).

7. Read a book

Immerse yourself in the pages of a book and let them wisp you away to a whole different world (because sometimes our world can just be too darn much – and too darn loud).

8. Journal

Journaling – especially stream of consciousness journaling – is an incredibly powerful tool that helps you get in touch with your innermost thoughts and, therefore, your true self (also – it’s WAY easier for us introverts to express ourselves in writing rather than speaking).

9. Check in with yourself

How are you feeling in this moment? Are you okay? Are you stressed? Overwhelmed? Overstimulated? Make a habit of asking yourself these questions a few times a day. In fact, annoy yourself with how often you ask these questions!

10. Have a TV show just for YOU

Watching creepy crime dramas with your partner can be great, but don’t forget to keep some feel-good shows specially for you! Gilmore Girls for the 80th time, perhaps?

11. Do some breathing exercises

Deep breathing is an immensely powerful way of bringing your thoughts out of the outer world and into the inner world for a few moments. If you want to learn about some specific breathing techniques, you can find them explained in our free Anxiety Handbook!

12. Listen to your favourite music

Put in your earbuds and jam out to your favourite tunes alone in your room. Use your hairbrush as a microphone, 2001 Lizzie Mcguire style. We won’t judge. In fact, we’ll be doing the same alone in our room!

13. Listen to podcasts

Tuning out the world and learning at the same time? Pretty much the definition of a win-win solution for any introvert. Try checking out these podcasts that are especially designed for us quiet types.

14. Exercise

We already know that exercising is crucial for pretttty much everyone on this earth, but introverts can benefit even more from the alone time it gives them. 

15. Listen to spa music

For me, listening to spa music is the quickest way to just calm down and zen out when I feel overwhelmed. Here’s a good playlist to get you started. WARNING: be careful not to close your blinds while you listen to it, or you may do what I’ve done MANY a time and accidentally forget that an outside world even exists.

16. Use some essential oils

Aromatherapy is another great tool you can use to counteract the hecticness of the world. My personal favourites for a chill-out sesh are lavender, eucalyptus, and clary sage. Pair this with the above mentioned spa music and you’re in for a real time.

17. Research something

Introverts tend to be naturally curious and good at studying. A good way to satisfy this urge is by researching a topic you don’t know much about. I suggest labelling a notebook “My Introverted Investigations” and using it to write down all that you discover!

18. Take a bath

This makes a great addition to your solo nighttime routine. Add in some essential oils for an extra bit of well-deserved pampering.

19. Bake or cook something

Yet another great way to get in the zone and tune out the world for a while. Plus, if you can get lasagna or cookies out of it, it’s a pretty sweet deal!

20. Clean your house

Try dedicating a half hour each day to cleaning. On top of giving you some much-needed alone time, it also has the added perk of ticking stuff off your to-do list!

21. Do something creative

It could be playing music, writing, doing some art, even just doodling on a scrap piece of paper – spending some time getting in touch with your inner artist child is a great way for introverts to feel more energized.

22. Shop alone

This is a MUST for every single introvert out there. Spending an afternoon shopping alone – whether that’s grocery shopping or treat-yourself shopping – can be all you need to feel fulfilled for the rest of your day. And get this: the only person you’ll have to talk to the whole time is the cashier!

23. Take a break from social media

The constant bombardment of information and photos of OTHER people can get exhausting. Switch your devices off and just focusing on doing your thing.

24. Take a long shower and spend a lot of time getting ready

Honestly, who doesn’t like a nice, thorough shower and then spending a good two hours in the bathroom self-pampering? Sorry roomies – bathroom is occupied for the foreseeable future.

25. Look through old photos

This is a super cute and personal activity that’s meant just for YOU. Close your door, open you old photo albums, and take a wistful walk down memory lane.

26. Schedule a date with your best friend

Although introverts get refreshed by being alone, we can also sometimes get this from spending one-on-one time with one – ONE (did I mention one?) – of our closest friends. Just make sure it’s someone who you feel comfortable being totally yourself around.

27. Set specific times for contacting people

If you’re an introvert but you have a lot of friends, it can be overwhelming when text after text after text starts to cram up your inbox. Instead of feeling like you have to respond to everyone STRAIGHT away, set aside 30 minutes a day dedicated to catching up on your correspondence (sounds romantic, no?).

28. Go on a solo day trip

If you’re an introvert and you’ve never spent a day at a museum, art gallery, or even a restaurant alone – you’re seriously missing out. This is one of the most refreshing things that we can do as introverts. Plus – it’s also a fantastic way to gain confidence!

29. Take a long drive

Turn up the radio, roll down the windows, and just enjoy the cruise. Maybe discover a new town, maybe get lost, maybe accidentally drive to the mountains and stay for a month… whoops.

30. Schedule your week

One of the most useful things you can do as an introvert is spend some time (on a Sunday!) scheduling out your week. This allows you to schedule in advance time to spend doing these self-care habits.

It’s one thing to read about self-care, but it’s a whole other thing to actually incorporate these habits into your daily routine.

Natalie Burns-Holland

Natalie Burns-Holland

Content Creator at Mindaya

Natalie is a freelance writer living in Edinburgh, Scotland.