Over the last few months, we've all gone through stages. Stages of grief, acceptance, frustration, fear. I have found that when I allow myself to focus on the negative, the dark, I forget about how much light there is in my life. I have found that actively practicing gratitude has helped my mood immensely. I have always been someone who is grateful for what she has, but I have found it even more important lately to practice gratitude.
When I forget to be grateful, I focus on my husband leaving his clothes on the bathroom floor instead of reminding myself that he serves me coffee every morning. I focus on the messes my kids make instead of on the memories they made. I focus on the things I didn't get done instead of the things I did.
At the very beginning of this pandemic, I quickly realized that if I wasn't being actively grateful for the things I DO have, I could easily fall into this hole of self-despair and woe-is-me. And honestly, that's not a place I really wanted to be. So throughout the day, I found ways to stop and be grateful for something.
I chatted with Dr. Erika Velez of The Mindful Corner, who gave me some really interesting information. Robert Emmons is considered the world's leading expert on gratitude, and he says that gratitude has two important components. The first is that gratitude is an affirmation of good things in the world. In the second, we recognize that the things we are grateful for exist outside of ourselves. We acknowledge that God and other people give us gifts both big and small to help us achieve the goodness in our lives. Gratitude is a source of strengthening relationships because it requires us to see how other people have been able to support and affirm us.
Emmons found that people who practice gratitude consistently report many benefits. Physically they can have stronger immune systems, can be less bothered by aches and pains, can have lower blood pressure, exercise more and take better care of their health, and sleep better. Psychological benefits include higher levels of positive emotions, more alert, more joy and pleasure, and more optimism and happiness. Social benefits of practicing gratitude include being more helpful, generous and compassionate, forgiving, outgoing, and feeling less lonely and isolated.
Practicing gratitude is something that requires mindfulness and intention, so while sometimes it may seem like I am just doing something to check it off a list, it is done intentionally and to build it into my routine so it becomes a natural practice. Because I have seen firsthand some of the benefits listed by Emmons above, I want to continue to be consistent in this practice.
Some simple ways I practice gratitude:
And there you have it - 5 simple ways to practice gratitude daily. It doesn't have to be a complicated process. Just make the intention to do it, and you will find yourself finding more ways to be thankful each and every day.
Let me know in the comments, how do you practice gratitude?
*Links are affiliate links.
Here's a roundup of some of the things I've bought online this month. Some of the things I have shared in stories and many of you have asked, and others are thing I think might be useful!
1. With all the extra screen time lately, I got these blue light glasses to help Caleb and his tired eyes.
2. I have been packing lunch for Caleb and this morning I started packing Chloe's, too. I love using these Bentgo Boxes because it lets me give them a good variety of things - I have one great eater and one picky one. The great eater gets foods from most of the food groups. The picky ones gets a variety of things I think she may eat.
3. Cables everywhere drive me bananas, and this sticks to the underside of a desk or table to hang headphones.
4. How gross and grimy do bottle brushes get? This Teal Trunk Bottle Brush is silicone and bends just right to get into all those crevices of water bottles and baby bottles.
5. This Amazon Basics device holder is perfect for adjusting and holding phones and tablets. Plus, it's super portable!
6. Okay, so targeted ads get me, too. In this case it was this Summersalt Swimsuit. It kept popping up on my Facebook and Instagram, and when I saw this black and white one, I couldn't resist. I hadn't bought really nice, high quality (read: expensive lol) swimsuit in a while. I think the price on this is reasonable and the compression on the suit is great. Get $10 off your purchase with them by shopping with this link.
7. Chloe got a new swimsuit too. She's had several from Rufflebutts before, but this rainbow striped one is just too cute!
8. I also got the kids these Yeti Ramblers. They're pricey, but all their other water bottles don't really keep their water cold and have a pretty short lifespan. These can also be washed in the dishwasher, which isn't the case for many kids water bottles! It's a little hard for Chloe to open the top, but we practiced with her and she's a pro now. I also love how easy it is to carry with the handle.
That's all for today, I'll have more for you soon!
Today, I turn 35. I remember being 15 and thinking 35 was old. When I was 15, my parents were only 38! Most days, I still feel like I'm pretending at this whole "adulting" thing.
And the older I get, the more I realize that I will continue learning every single day. This year in particular I feel has been a very enlightening year, and I've learned (or re-learned) so much.
I've learned that...
You can love people and not always agree with them.
Friends might be forever, but they might also just be for a season, and that's okay .
There is no substitute for fresh air.
How much I put in will determine how much I get out.
Time is valuable, and MY time is worth something.
Tuning out the outside noise is not just good, it's necessary sometimes.
If I surround myself with negativity, I will become negative. The same goes for the opposite.
There is no greater confidence booster than realizing you were perfectly made by God.
But mostly, I've learned that I am the only person who is responsible for myself. The way I wake up, the way I spend my free time, the people with whom I surround myself, and the information I take in all affect me and my outlook. In 2019, I decided to simplify, and it was such a release for me to start saying "no" to events, to activities, and to things I didn't want to do. And this year, I have truly simplified (as have many of us since it was forced on us with the pandemic). I have turned inward often, in prayer, in reflection, and I have reminded myself often that the choices that I make are what is best for me and for my family. I have come to the realization that I will never be able to control anyone else's actions - my friends, my children, my husband - but I can control my REACTION. I can control my own actions, and that has been a lesson more valuable to me this year than anything else.
Cheers to growing, learning, and living each day in faith and in positivity.
If there is one thing I am grateful for when it comes to social media, it's all the amazing women I have been able to connect with. I have found so many moms who in one way or another I can relate to and who make me feel a little less alone when it comes to motherhood. I'm linking all their Instagram pages, but most of them have really incredible blogs with tons of information on there.
@themattiejames aka Mattie James
Mattie is the ultimate blogging boss mom. She puts out such amazing information, her campaigns are so well done, and she has a really great way of showing her audience the behind-the-scenes of blogging. She also has some incredible courses, and if you're a new blogger, you should definitely be following her.
@thoughtfullyorganized aka Jessica DeSiato
I never knew how much help I needed in organizing until I met my friend (and neighbor) Jessica, the mind behind Thoughtfully Organized. She is truly thoughtful about the way she organizes everything and she makes organization seem achievable. Follow her for some incredible tips!
@whineandcheezits aka Rachel Sobel
If you want to laugh, you need to be following Rachel. She's brutally honest, and her tweets will make you think that she has been reading your mind.
@JoyfullyGreen aka Joy Green
I met Joy in New York when we were there for a Johnson's event in 2018. She really is a joy and her Instagram is a whimsical dream. Think balloon arches, rainbows, and flowers. Her little ones are too cute, and her personality is infectious.
@BambinaDiaries aka Krystal and Maddy
Two Miami natives who are in Orlando and Atlanta, respectively. They have some great resources and share all kinds of awesome products and local finds for moms.
@adventuresoflawyermom aka Jazmine
Jazmine and I co-hosted an event at Ann Taylor in December, and all I could think when I met her was "This woman has it all." She's gorgeous, and she's smart. She has great style, and her posts are very informative.
@drschellcares aka Dr. Jennifer Schell
Jenny is an ob-gyn who started a postpartum concierge service. She answers women's gynecological questions on IG (it's not medical advice, relax), and I have seen how much good she has been able to do.
@stephaniejimenezmiami aka Stephanie Jimenez
Funny story... Stephanie and I actually went to high school together and I used to drive her home after school! She is a badass mom of two who has battled with binge eating. She is very vocal about her journey to healthier living and about how she manages her emotions to prevent binges. Her stories are really entertaining, too!
Go give these super moms a follow if you aren't already. I promise you won't be disappointed!
I was recently asked by a follower and emerging blogger how I stay organized. The truth is, I work really hard at being organized, and actually, I probably waste some time each day just trying to "get organized" instead of actually doing what I need to do. But over the last few months, with less to do and more time to work on things like this, I started to put a system in place to help me stay organized.
Right now, there are three main tools I have been using to keep myself organized.
My iPhone's Calendar App
I have always used my calendar app, and recently Eddie and I started sharing a calendar and anything that we both need to know about goes on there. I use this mostly for events and things that require physical presence, school events and important dates - birthdays, vacations, things like that. We include work events, my shoots, and appointments. Lately this is looking a little sparse, but I'm okay with that!
A Paper Planner
I am and always have been a paper girl. I love to physically write, use pens, stickers, and all those silly things. It's another way I decompress, I guess. I use my physical planner to map out what my week looks like, to plan out blog posts, and to have a "picture" of what everything looks like together. This is where I keep due dates for campaigns, blog posts, where I write notes from calls I've taken, and most recently, I had been including all of our zoom calls on there. I have been using Erin Condren for a few years, but I decided to switch over to the Blessed is She planner starting in August. It has an hourly breakdown per day, plus note pages for each week, a place to make a grocery list, meal planning, and prayer reminders. (Blessed is She is a network of Catholic women - they have a daily devotional e-mail you can subscribe to and they sell products, like this planner). I have been very happy with my Erin Condren planners, but was looking for an added way to boost my prayer life, which is why I made this switch.
Thanks to my friend Marylin, I recently discovered how functional Trello is and I've created several boards for some categories I found helpful. I have a board for general to-do's, one for sponsored blog partnerships, and one for blogging in general. In Trello, you create columns, and under each column you add cards. Within each card you can add attachments, checklists, due dates, and labels. You can easily move cards from one column to another, so cards can go from an "Idea" column to an "In Progress" column and make their way to when they are complete! I am currently using a free account and still have plenty of functionality. What I like about this is that it can be used across all my devices so if I have an idea I can just add it, even if I am on the go. It has really come in handy during my consistency challenge in July!
I think organization is such a personal thing. It looks different for everyone, and each of our brains works differently. These are just some of the tools I use and have found to work for me. I've tried a lot of different strategies, but for now, this is what I have found that just works best for me and my needs.
Have you used any of these tools? Is there something else that you have found that works really well for you? Let me know in the comments below!
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