Hey friend… are you looking for a nice gift for someone you care about?
My suggestion is a gratitude journal!
Gratitude journals are becoming increasingly popular as part of the self-care movement.
If you’re new to the idea, allow me to share what the hype is all about! You encourage yourself to grow a positive mindset by listing a few things that you’re grateful for every day (usually 3). That’s it!
I’m thinking that a gratitude journal would make a nice gift for someone you care about. Here’s the idea:
Write the special person a note sharing the top 3 ways you’re grateful for them. You can put it in a letter, or even on the first page of the journal!
Gift them a nice journal, pen, and pencil pouch. 🙂
Encourage your special someone to use the journal to write down 3 things they are grateful for every day. Or to write whatever they like.
(So cute I could cry.)
I admit I am obsessed with notebooks and pens (and cute little pencil cases!). So here are my personally-curated choices for fun matching sets.
Disclosure: This post contains affiliate links, meaning, at no additional cost to you, I will earn a commission if you click through and make a purchase. Click here to view my disclosure statement.
What if you could do EVERYTHING you wanted to… every single morning? What if you had an amazing morning routine? That’s the question I asked myself one Sunday.
I had just finished writing in my journal. I love writing. And I casually thought, “Oh, I’ll do this again tomorrow for sure.” Then it hit me. I wasn’t going to be able to write in my journal tomorrow. Or the next day. I had work. Suddenly, I was suddenly very sad.
Then I thought, “Why not? Why CAN’T I write in my journal tomorrow? Or do anything else I want?”
The answer came quickly: Because my mornings “belonged” to work. Duh. My mornings were not my own. They belonged to my job. Along with my energy. My time. My thoughts. And my dreams.
As soon as I realized I had this mindset, I decided to change it. So I did. For the next week, I woke up earlier and gave myself writing time. It was lovely! But not only that, it was game-changing.
The Morning Routine Snowball Effect
Now that I was setting aside time for myself, I started doing a bit more each day to make my mornings enjoyable. I started making myself a nice cup of tea. Then I added breakfast. After a while, I slapped a 10-min meditation session in there. Before I knew it, I had created a morning routine! I’m delighted to present you my “Extra AF Morning Routine.” Because it really is extra. Then, I happily show you my method so you can make one of your own.* *Btw, my goal here is to inspire you to enjoy your life. Not to make you feel inferior. If you don’t do this stuff, cannot do it, or simply don’t want to, that is 100% fine! Like, I want to inspire you to “do you.” Not to be me. So with that in mind, please prepare yourself for some mega morning inspiration!
My Morning Routine Checklist
I have a checklist with each of these items on my phone. I use an app called AwesomeNOTE. I’d say I do about 80% of these every day, roughly in this order. Okay, let’s wake up! 🙂
1.Remove self from bed
Yes, I literally have this on my checklist. It can be the hardest part! Plus, it gets me to look at the rest of my list.
2. Put on pants (2 mins)
Or a robe or whatever. Some mornings it is so cold, I want to stay in bed FOREVER to keep warm. So I’ll put on sweatpants, a robe, and/or a huge comfy sweater immediately to keep that cozy feeling!
4. Brush teeth, scrape tongue, & splash water on face (5 mins)
Yum, pepperminty freshness! I’m beginning to feel human.
5. Make lemon tea or lime tea (5 mins)
Boil some water. Cut a lemon (or lime!) in half. Squeeze juice into a mug, and pour hot water on top. Check button on the list! Apparently, this is super healthy for your innards.
6. Open curtains (while water boils)
Heaven let your light shine down!
7. Meditate (10 mins)
I meditate 10 mins in the morning. Sometimes I use an app. Sometimes just a timer. It feels seriously amazing and is linked to a ridiculous amount of benefits. It reminds me that I’m alive and my energy is MINE.
8. Light stretch (2 mins)
After sitting still for 10 mins, you’ll want to stretch. Move whatever feels good! Yawn.
9. Breathe fresh air (1 min)
I open up the front door and take a few deep breaths! Sometimes I scare a bird or two… heh.
10. Journal & sip tea (30 mins)
Now it is time for my favorite activity of the day! I sit down with my journal and pens. I write as long as I want to. Usually, my tea is the perfect temperature right now, so I sip it. Sometimes I write only a few sentences, sometimes I write a few pages, and other times I stare out the window. If I don’t use the full time, that’s fine. But I still block it off and respect my precious journal time!
11. Quick little workout (30 mins)
I’ll spend no more than 30 mins donning workout clothes, stretching, then doing a quick workout. I’ll go for a 1 mile run or do a couple Blogilates workout videos. Or do yoga from an app (or simply from memory). This is such a nice thing to do for yourself! Your sense of accomplishment will be sky high! Also, it is a hack of “highly successful people.”
12. Recover and de-sweat (10 mins)
Stretch and prevent yourself from smelling weird all day 🙂
13. Put on actual clothes (10 mins)
I allow myself to enjoy the process of getting dressed, but sometimes I enjoy it too much. So I squash this part after my workout and before food! This prevents me from trying on 1 million outfits, then going with the first one anyway.
14. Make breakfast (5 mins)
Usually, I have pre-made breakfast ready to go. Like homemade granola, granola bars, banana bread, or some overnight oatmeal. Sometimes I’ll make a smoothie. Why do I make breakfast easy? Because I get so hungry I can’t think. Also, I’m expecting this breakfast to give me at least 6 hours of hearty energy, so I go for nutrients.
15. Eat breakfast (10 mins)
I challenge you to do nothing but EAT during breakfast. Try it. Don’t look at anything on your phone, don’t read, and don’t listen to a podcast. Instead look at your food. Taste it. Smell it. Enjoy it. Be grateful for it. Go slow. It feels lovely. Don’t you love food? Surprisingly this doesn’t take very long at all but feels like forever (in a delicious food way).
17. Pick up around the house, water plants, make the bed (10 mins)
I take a little time to put away my breakfast, clear daily clutter, water a few plants, then make the bed. It feels good to spruce up my space. I’ll pick up only: trash, recycling, shoes, clothes. Very adulting. Don’t get carried away tho (no scrubbing okay?).
18. Hair and face (10 mins)
I give myself the chance to enjoy fixing my hair and attending to my precious face. Sometimes I’ll get into my makeup. Some days I decide to simply shine my innate beauty (its pretty bright). Here are my Daily Hacks for Happy Winter Skin!
19. Pack bag (5 mins)
Along with important items like keys, wallet, phone, laptop, I take time to pack a water bottle. Maybe a snack. I make sure I have tissues, deodorant, gloves, etc. Any little things I might want or that the season might call for. Very classy.
20. End of routine!
Now that I’ve enjoyed my morning thoroughly, my work has permission to begin!
→ → ABSOLUTELY NOT ALLOWED during morning routine (trust me):
Social media. Checking email. Returning texts. Let the world think you’re sleeping. Shh…
Learn more about the class
Benefits of a Leisurely Morning
Now let’s see how long that took altogether: 145 mins! Oh my! Adding some restroom time and that’s about… 2 1/2 hours.
Before you freak out, allow me to dissect the time and few reasons why it is worth it: ENJOYMENT & EXTRA ENERGY
You will actually WANT to get up and do your favorite things, so there’s no need to account for hitting snooze.
You won’t have to experience stress first thing in the morning
You’ll be STICKING IT TO THE MAN who says “Your morning energy is MINE wahaha” (I think)
I use this routine to manage depression and anxiety symptoms.
You will be FULL OF ENERGY and have a super effective day.
I did say this was “Extra AF”
PROVING YOUR TIME IS YOURS
You must do many of these things anyway! Like put on clothes, brush your teeth, and pack your bag. Why not track them?
Lots of workplaces are flexible with time. So see about beginning your workday a bit later.
If you’re a student, maybe you can plan your schedule with this in mind 🙂
Entrepreneurs – I bet you have some control over your availability.
You can easily cut out the workout and/or cleaning to save time
So why is it “worth it?” Because you are worth it. And you’ll be worth more today if you energize first thing!
How To Make Your Own Morning Routine
Find your anchor. For me, it is writing in my journal. Not only is it the thing that drives me to look forward to morning times, but it is the central, core component of the morning routine.
Sit down and write out a list to answer the question: “What would I love to do every morning, which brings me joy?”
Write out a second list to answer the question: “What do I really NEED to do every morning?”
Combine the lists and adjust for reasonability (Maybe you can’t go to a cafe in Paris every morning, but I bet you can mimic the ambiance of that experience by making yourself a homemade latte, then sipping it in your dining room while playing cafe music. Why not?).
Estimate times for each item, then calculate total time.
Set your alarm accordingly!
Try this for 5 days in a row (for reasons to NOT TRY IT ONCE THEN GIVE UP, you might enjoy my post How to Set the Bar Low).
After day 5 assess and adjust (I adjust all of the time)!
In closing, I know this is crazy. I know this routine is huge and extravagant. But you know what? It is amazing. And life-changing. And really not that weird (if you want to conquer life on the regs). 🙂 So make one. Try it. And then tell me what’s on your own crazy list.
So it’s cold. It’s gray. It’s dark. And I feel lame. Do you ever feel yucky when the weather is bad? What about fully depressed? I sure do. That’s when I open my mental health kit!
Where’s the Sun?
Some days, there’s less sunlight than I’d like. I love the sun’s ability to make me feel bright, engaged, open, activated, and tuned-in. So when my bright friend is hidden behind clouds for the *$@%ing fifth day in a row, I start to feel a little puny.
My cure? Immerse my mind in something.
My Cure is Immersion
I have a theory that my brain loves the sun because of the type of state it gets me into. An immersive one. One where it is easy to pay attention to and enjoy something for a while. When I’m immersed, I can’t think of anything else.
So, when I don’t have the sun to help me, I engage in activities that allow my brain to fall into the same deep, engaged state.
The trick is to find immersive activities. Then actually do one!
Go back into your memories, and pick out some things that feel great to do! Things that when you do them, you can’t think of anything else. Immersive activities that will truly activate your brain. Here is my winter blues mental health kit!
Mental Health Kit
To help stimulate your noggin, I’ve got a checklist of activities for ya! A mental health kit, if you will. These are things that can activate your brain and uplift your mood. And they’re simple. They are things you might do weekly anyway; things that you probably already have the materials for.
1. MIND-OCCUPYING TASKS
Here are some activities guaranteed to take you in:
Get out your art supplies and doodle, draw, or paint
Organize something (junk drawer, vanity, pantry, etc. – very satisfying)
Take your mind to a new place. See different things. Feel different things. Do it actively, not passively.
Go for a nature walk (Otherwise known as a nature bath -nature is magical in any season.)
Treat yourself to a nice meal at a cute little restaurant (You know, the one that makes you feel like you’re back on that amazing trip)
Hit the thrift shop (Go pop some tags baby! Buy a weird kimono for $5 that makes you feel like a goddess. Then send me a pic.)
Walk around the block (This is so easy and instantly effective at resetting my mind)
Go for a stroll around the mall (Lots of activity, people, and free samples)
See a movie in the theater (Pick something weird)
Play a video game (Suddenly you can fly and shoot lightning bolts!)
Try the free meditation introductory class (You know, the one you always see signs for? It will be AMAZING.)
Visualize a beautiful, calm place
Plan a dream vacation (Not a realistic vacation)
Read a book in Sci-Fi, Fantasy, Romance, or History (Personally, I would never read history. But some people say it’s dope.)
Read a story to kids
3. PLAY WITH YOUR NEUROTRANSMITTERS
Try drinking a different type of caffeine than your usual. Caffeine works at the neurotransmitter level; new caffeine causes new activity. Drinking it will give you a brain boost (and maybe some antioxidants). I like to have one of these when the sun goes down (and I get sad about it). Just one cup 🙂
Do yoga for 20 mins (I just do 10 sun salutations then lay in corpse pose)
Workout to one little video
Try a new dance class (I HIGHLY recommend African dance)
Watch a sporting match or reality show that makes you get up and yell at the screen
5. EAT SOMETHING THAT FEELS GOOD
If you feel lousy, maybe your sugar levels are too low, or you’ve been eating junk? Fresh, delicious, genuinely nourishing food helps me feel like a functional human again. These always make me feel better:
What is going on??? That’s right! You guessed it! I’m having a crying jag. And all I want to do is stop crying.
What do I mean by a “Crying Jag?”
Oh, a crying jag is a lovely emotional state. Also known as bawling, weeping, sobbing, blubbering, wailing, grieving, crying, or mourning.
Familiar with the sensation?
I like to describe it as crying my eyes out. Because I seriously think they might pop out out of my head. It is that serious.
You know the drill. Once you get started, you practically can’t stop. The tears keep flowing. I personally make pitiful sounds that never end – boo hoo hoo hoo hoo. My face begins to resemble a ripe tomato. Nerves get all twitchy. Breathing is rapid and gasp-y. And everything and anything seems to make me cry more!
My ability to function? That’s gone. The feels have taken over!
Here’s how I make it stop.
Luckily, I know a few tricks. Just like How I Cure Migraine Pain Naturally, I have a painkiller-free plan that works: A way to get myself out of this particularly deep state of languishing. Yup, I have figured out how to stop crying (thank goodness!).
Here is how I return to a more normal, comfortable state of breathing, thinking, seeing, talking, and overall facial complexion.
(Because at this point, I’m crying about the fact that I’m crying. FML.):
Peppermint tea is able to do this because it is anti-inflammatory. Drinking something anti-inflammatory will physically counteract your inflammation reflex. This is the reflex that makes you puffy, swollen, red, constricted, and achy. It makes me feel like my blood is pounding in my head, face, eyes, pillow, etc.
As soon as you realize you’re in stuck in a crying loop, do the following:
Fill a tea kettle with water and set it to boil.
Pick your favorite mug or teapot.
Open up a bag of peppermint tea. Smell it, if your nostrils will allow. It is lovely: somehow soothing and sharp at the same time! Ahh.
Place the tea bag in mug or teapot. Top with boiling water.
Sit down with your face over the cup so the steam flows onto your distraught visage.
Wait 5 mins. Take some slow deep breaths of the steam.
Remove the bag. Your tea is now ready to enjoy!
Take a sip. Adjust the temp. If the tea is too hot to drink, add a splash of cold water or an ice cube.
Drink it slow and feel your swelling go down, breathing stabilize, nostrils open, and redness dissipate!
Mystical pursuits are cool because they can help you increase intuition, cultivate your mental health, and reach higher levels of consciousness.
Here I provide a brief introduction to the top 3 mystical pursuits. Then I show you the rockstars who are creating must-see content in this exciting realm. Enjoy:
Horoscopes have become incredibly popular in the last few years. Have you noticed too? In addition to seeing constellations and words like “Capricorn” and “Gemini” printed on everything from shirts to plates, I think this trend of astrological exploration is going to continue to expand. Here are a few such avenues, along with some great resources for learning about each.
I bet you know your “sign.” Awesome! Well, there is so much more the zodiac can help you understand about yourself (and it’s amazing)!
Your moon sign is where the moon was when you were born. Knowing the sign of your moon is just like knowing your type of subconsciousness. Check out your moon sign to gain insight into how you mentally process things, how you deal with past hurts, your relationship to your dreams, and how you choose to use your intuition. Pretty cool.
And that’s just one of many things the zodiac can shine a little more light on!
Your rising sign is the zodiac house that was on the horizon when you were born. This can tell you about how other people see you from a distance. Ever feel misunderstood, or like people judge you incorrectly? Your rising sign can help shed light on this, and give you the tools to smooth over perception snags.
Here are a few astrologers dedicated to the craft of communicating the planets’ effect on us, whose predictions are spot-on.
Omg. She’s JUST. SO. GOOD! Chani explains why reading your rising sign is super helpful. She offers WOKE horoscopes touching on current political and social issues. And she makes her own imagery (which is AMAZING). Hop on her newsletter and regret it never.
Literally, twins who read horoscopes. They are hilarious. And comprehensive. I have their app, which offers daily, weekly, and monthly horoscopes. But they also have so many amazingly revealing articles on their site. These two also love to cover unconventional horoscope topics (such as fashion, hair, and wellness trends). Check out their amazing and prolific perspective.
Disclosure: This post contains affiliate links, meaning, at no additional cost to you, I will earn a commission if you click through and make a purchase. Click here to view my disclosure statement.
What is Tarot?
This is a fun predictive card game. Each card has a life theme on it. You ask an open-ended question, draw a card using your intuition, then look up the meaning of your card for some insight. I find it a stress-free way of gaining new perspectives on issues in my life that are foggy. Its one of the mystical pursuits that anyone can do, because there’s always an instruction manual to help you interpret the cards.
These cards are a is a visual sonnet. Seriously breathtaking. Do your eyes a favor and peek at Danielle Noel’s beyond-gorgeous cards.
Ever had your palm read? Most professional readers will give you lots of insightful information about yourself and your life. This may be a year you decide to get a palm reading just for fun!
The type of palm reading I think will be big in 2018 tho, is self palm reading. That’s right! Reading your own palm. Here are the 3 basic lines.
The most popular of lines for a reason, your love line stretches from underneath your pinkie finger over toward your pointer and middle fingers. My favorite thing to read on the love line? Which finger does it point to?
Middle finger: You tend to care most about making the other person happy in the relationship.
Pointer finger: You don’t see the point of relationships that don’t bring you joy.
Line split or in the middle: You’re flexible.
The line of mental strength, stability, and change. The beginning of your life starts under your pointer finger, then moves toward the side of your hand (under the pinkie). Most head lines extend to underneath the ring finger, which is toward your later life years. Check out variations in depth. This helps show when you get most interested in mental activities in your life. You can also track lines off-shooting from your head line to other lines to see things you might be thinking about!
This one wraps widely around your thumb! Excitingly, this line won’t tell you how long you’ll live. Sigh. Rather, it indicates the quality of your life. (Deeper is higher quality, more balanced.) The beginning of life is in between your thumb and pointer finger, and the line extends in time down toward your wrist.
There you go! You’re a beginner palm reader!
Palm reading for beginners
Lauren Conrad has an excellent article on palm reading for beginners. If this piques your interest a little, I invite you to check it out!
As with all mystical pursuits, there is a lot of variety in interpretation. Everyone agrees about the basics. But the deeper interpretation is in the mind of the beholder. So, if you’re reading your own palm, then go with what feels right in your gut. Discard what feels fake.
The ultimate guide to palmistry
For palm reading, the only thing I truly trust is what I call THE TEXTBOOK (because it is 500+ pages and written by two lifetime professional palm readers). The Art and Science of Hand Reading by Ellen Goldberg and Dorian Bergen was just published in 2016 and I’m obsessed.
It’s 2018: Be a little mystical!
So go ahead and try something here that resonates with you! I hope you find some inspiration in your own mystical pursuits.
In this post, I discuss why keeping dry skin happy is one of my favorite mental health hacks. Then I show you my favorite ways to do it.
Why Dry Skin is a Mental Health Foe
I am convinced that extremely dry skin is a mental health issue.
Why? Because it hurts!
It leads to bleeding knuckles for goodness sake!
Is there any symptom more motivating than blood loss, I ask you? Absolutely not.
Pain is actually a very helpful thing. It alerts us when our body is in trouble, hurting, or damaged. Therefore, painfully dry skin is actually a signal that something is wrong. A part of our brain hears something like this:
PAIN! SOMETHING IS WRONG! ALERT! DAMAGE IMPENDING! [actual transcript of my skin]
In the past when I had mega itchy skin, and these signals were flying all over, I would just ignore it. Amazingly, my body just got drier. This continued until my skin felt like it was no longer sufficient to cover my organs. Sooo painful. Yet somehow I remained mystified as to why I “felt bad.”
One day, I did something truly crazy. I hydrated my skin. Heavily. An entire bottle of olive oil may have disappeared. And you know what? It felt AH-MAY-ZING. And now I’m never going back to the land of dry cracked lips.
Keeping Skin Happy Feels Amazing Inside and Out
My vision of mental health is feeling GOOD. I want to feel peaceful, vibrant, and well. These days, nothing makes me feel all glowy and positive faster than tending to angry skin. Why? When I tend to my painfully dry skin, I prove to myself that I can overcome any assaults to my wellbeing.
When I tend to my painfully dry skin, I prove to myself that I can overcome any assaults to my wellbeing.
And it just feels great too. So not only is skin hydration some much-needed body love and kind maintenance, it is a physical signal of care and love sent to my nervous system and brain. What could be more lovely than that?
Ten Dry skin cures to improve mental health
I highly encourage you to pamper yourself this week with some skin hydration hacks. Here are my favorite ways to do it! I’ve listed these in order of craziness.
10. moisturize in the morning
Add the fun and soothing activity of slathering lotion, lip balm, or coconut oil on your skin as part of your morning routine.
9. Drink more water with each Sip
I used to take one sip, then put my glass back down. Now I go for gold! For example, I’ll take 8 small gulps at once. Each is about one ounce. Just like that there’s 8oz of fresh water in my body. Try taking on a greater challenge each time you pick up your cup. Your innards will thank you. This also works great with herbal tea and infused water!
8. only remoisturize 1-2 more times a day
Do you slather on lotion constantly? I find when I do this I am treating symptoms instead of the root cause. So I try not to treat dry hands and lips with lotion and lip balm more than 1-2 extra times a day. Instead I do it by drinking more water, and feeling the difference. Allow the dryness to be a signal to drink more water.
Your body is constantly regulating the balance between water and salt. Use your cravings as a guide. If you just KEEP DRINKING WATER and STILL FEEL DEHYDRATED, you probably need a little salt, my friend. Trust your gut. Literally.
This locks in moisture for days, trust me. It just feels so amazing mentally to pamper yourself this way too! Let it dry while you listen to something soothing. Then adorn pajamas for a comfy evening!
4. Stop soaping all of the time
When you shower with soap, you’re washing away your body’s natural oils, along with other things you might want to get rid of. Try not soaping your entire body every day. Try washing only your naughty bits in between showers. And dry shampoo. I’m actually in love with dry shampoo.
3. Marinate your entire body in oil
Emergency! I do this when I’m seriously in skin distress. If you’ve ever been outside on a super cold dry day, you know what I’m talking about. Grab a bottle of olive oil, coconut oil, an avocado, or a bunch of fresh aloe. Head to the bathroom and turn on the hot steamy shower. Put on some music and light a candle for ambiance: its time to rub that stuff all over your skin! It SERIOUSLY feels like my skin is drinking water when I do this. Ahhhh…. Chill out for awhile in the spa-like atmosphere, until you’re ready to rinse it off.
2. Use natural products
It is becoming greater public knowledge that many companies put additives into their products that cause a negative cycle of dependence. That is, their products contain ingredients that actually damage your body. For example, some products are intentionally designed to make your skin immediately moist, but then much DRIER after several hours. This prompts you to use the product more, and thus to need to buy another bottle. This makes me so angry I have to stop talking about it now. If I don’t know what the ingredients are in something, I honestly don’t trust it. Try organic companies who don’t advertise. I like: Nature’s Gate, local goat milk lotion (life changing!), and good ol’ coconut oil. You can also look up your products on Environmental Working Group’s Skin Deep Database. It is fun and revealing!
1. Mist your skin like a movie star
I spray water, coconut oil, and essential oils on my face from a tiny little spray bottle. You know what, it makes me look like a movie star. And it feels so heavenly. Like seriously, try it.
BONUS: Also pee
Finally, a reminder. Don’t wait until your kidneys hurt to pee! Listen to that innate bladder signal. Peeing is good. Urination is normal. It is a badge of honor to have clear, un-smelly pee. And bonus! Peeing when needed alleviates unnecessary pain. This in turn increases mental well being (any time of year).
Go forth and pamper!
Thank you for reading! I hope these inspire you to nourish your mind and crackly skin. Healthy skin for the win!
Hello, I'm Dr. Erienne Weine. I am the creator of Fresh Philosopher. Here I share how to cultivate mental wellness, expand your mindset, and live a high-vibe life! Welcome.
I am a Professor, Cognitive Scientist, and Motivational Speaker. Everything I create is inspired by my Fresh Philosophy of how the brain creates the mind. Change your brain ~ change your mind ~ change your life! Start with the Consciousness Challenge ↓
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Hi Friend! I've decided to solve the mystery of how the brain creates the mind. Now announcing my Unifying Philosophy of Mind, Brain, & Consciousness. Composed of four theories, I'm dropping one theory at a time. Theory 1 coming 2019! This has changed how I see the world forever. My dream is to share it with you! ↓