I am a life-long journal-writer and it has been essential during many seasons of my life. There are so many great mental and emotional benefits to journaling. It is not only a great way to process your thoughts, it’s also great for writing out plans and progress towards your goals!
Below is a brief video I made about the benefits of journaling. You can find more videos like this on my YouTube Channel.
The quality and content of our thoughts impacts us on many levels. The way we think has an impact on our mental, emotional, and physical health. It can be easy to develop habits of negative thinking and self-talk. Like any habit we can change how we think and develop new thought patterns. Take a minute to reflect on these questions:
Do your thought patterns tend to be more positive or negative?
When thinking negatively how does it impact your day? How does it impact your actions and reactions?
Think of three things you are grateful for. How does it make you feel to practice gratitude? How does it change your perspective in this moment?
Positive thoughts and thoughts of gratitude can have many benefits to us. According the the Mayo Clinic these are just some of the benefits positive thoughts can have (Mayo Clinic Staff, 2022):
Longer life span
Lower rates of depression
Decreased stress, distress, and pain
Better overall well-being and quality of life
Better coping skills and increased resilience
Paying Attention To Your Thoughts
It takes practice to pay attention to and change our thought patterns. Some of the ways we think are so ingrained in us that they come to mind subconsciously. These are called automatic thoughts and for a lot of us they tend to be negative (Hoshaw, 2020). The first step to changing these thoughts is to notice them. There are a couple of ways to do this including:
Write down all your thoughts in a journal throughout the day.
Simply pause and paying attention to your thoughts throughout the day.
Once you notice your thoughts you can then make efforts to change how you think.
Reframing Thoughts With Gratitude
You can change your thoughts by intentionally correcting negative thought patterns with positive thoughts. One way to do this is to reframe our thoughts with gratitude. Replacing our negative thoughts with grateful thoughts allows us to be present in the good things around us.
In the image below is an example of how you can do this.
This takes practice! You can practice by journaling your negative thought patterns and then writing a replacement thought of gratitude. Even simply confronting negative thoughts in our mind with grateful thoughts can make a huge impact to our thought life.
The more attention we put into having thoughts of gratitude, the easier it becomes to think grateful or positive thoughts naturally. To practice this now you can write out in your journal five negative thoughts you’ve had today and five reframed thoughts of gratitude.
We are constantly being told by society how we should look, what we should weigh, and how to have the “ideal” body. Today we will discuss making physical health goals…but not goals that someone else has for you. Today we will reflect on your goals and what’s important to you!
Defining Physical Health
When thinking about self-care for your physical health, this can include anything regarding taking care of your body and it’s biological system. All of us have a unique system and our goals can be unique to what our body needs. Here are some questions to consider when thinking about making goals:
What areas of my health am I wanting to change to take care of my body?
What does my body need to function at it’s best?
For me personally when making physical health goals, I often get overly focused on my weight or my appearance. But I’ve been learning to instead focus on my internal health. Asking myself questions like what would help me manage my multiple sclerosis better? What will help me have more energy? What is a good way to take care of my body’s internal functioning? What makes my body feel good and healthy?
What about your internal health is a priority for you in this season of life?
What are your physical health goals?
When setting goals it’s important to be specific and have a plan to put your goal into action. Here are some questions to consider:
What actions will I need to take to accomplish my goal?
How will I know if I’m making progress?
What routines can I put in place to support my goals?
Any form of change takes time! Be patient with yourself and remember taking care of our physical health is a life long journey.
Boundaries can be difficult to implement. Especially in relationships or situations we have been in for a long time. It can feel overwhelming, vulnerable, and scary to start using boundaries. But it is totally possible and often is absolutely necessary! Today we will discuss some tips for how to put our boundaries in action!
1. Use Assertive Communication
Assertive communication is key to setting boundaries. This form of communication allows us to clearly state what we feel, think, and need. Being assertive means taking ownership of your feelings and using statements that clearly say what you need. A simple way to do this is by using “I” statements. This is a statement that starts with “I” and then is followed by how you feel and what you need. Here is an example:
“I feel like I’m not being heard when you talk over me. I need you to listen to me.”
This is a simple example, but these statements can be used in a variety of ways and situations. This type of communication is effective, but if you are talking with a person who is toxic they may not be able to respect your boundaries or hear your needs. Stay safe and consider if making boundaries or simply separating from that person is necessary.
2. Be Specific About Your Boundaries
Make sure to be specific when setting boundaries. Sometimes when we are not clear about what we need, the boundary can be misunderstood. Take time to think about what boundaries you need ahead of time so you can communicate them specifically. There will not always be an opportunity to plan ahead. Sometimes we don’t know we need a boundary until someone has violated our trust, space, or expectations. Whenever you do know your boundaries feel free to advocate for yourself and your specific needs.
3. Stay Firm In Your Boundaries
There will be people who push back when you set a boundary. This may look like a guilt trip or someone criticizing your boundaries. Stay firm! It doesn’t matter what they think about your boundaries. You are important. Access to you is a privilege not a right! If you feel you need to set a boundary to feel safe, take care of your health, or simply for your quality of life then do that! No apologies needed! I am writing this to myself as well because I am always apologizing, but it’s not necessary.
Something to consider is that we all have responsibilities to tend to throughout our lives. There are some seasons when boundaries will look different because of where we are in life; such as when parenting, being a caregiver, or in the midst of any significant life experience. Because of these changing circumstances the boundaries we have and the way we implement them might change. This is totally normal!
4. Acceptance As A Tool
I personally struggled with this for a long time. It can be very hard to accept the boundaries we need, especially in relationships. There have been relationships that I have had to set firm boundaries in that really turned my world upside down. But they were situations that weren’t healthy and needed to be cut off or changed. Accepting that relationships you have or had were not good for you or needed to change can be hard. Here are some statements of acceptance to practice when struggling with this:
I accept the relationships I’ve had and have. I accept not all relationships are meant to be long-term and there are times when boundaries have to be set for my well-being and self-care.
I accept how I’ve gotten to this moment. I accept my past, present, and future. I accept in this moment I need boundaries to live well in my present and prepare for my future.
I accept boundaries are a tool to use in my self-care. I accept that I am worthy of having boundaries. My needs are worthy of being met.
We all face stressors in various ways throughout our days and lives. Stress can have impact on our physical, emotional, and mental health.
How do you feel the effects on your mind and body when the stress is mounting?
How have you managed stress in the past?
When we are wanting to start managing stress it’s important to do a stress inventory. This just means taking a step back and looking at your life to see what areas are causing you increased stress. Here are some questions to reflect on.
What areas of your life are causing the most stress?
What areas of your life are least stressful?
Is there a change that has happened recently that is stressful?
In the brochure pictured below I wrote about the five categories for managing stress. I wanted to discuss these in this post!
Changing our behavior: this could mean setting boundaries, changing our responsibilities, scheduling breaks, and making time for activities you enjoy.
Engage in Physical Activity: this could be in an active form of doing exercise, going outside, or getting a massage. This could also be done in a passive form of meditation, deep breathing, or stretching.
Tune Into Your Feelings: to do this you could consider journaling, talking with a friend, or listening to music.
Think Positive: practice positive self-talk, gratitude, and positive thinking.
Strength in Faith: activities to do this are different for all of us. Some ideas could be praying, singing, or reading scripture.
I’ve also found myself wondering about how people become and stay wealthy and what we can learn from their financial habits. Many of the articles I read suggested that most wealthy people have multiple streams of income (Taylor, 2022). This is helpful because if one income stream ends you still have income from other sources.
Times are difficult financially! The cost of everything is going up and many of us are looking for additional income! This post is all about various types of income and creating income streams! There are four types of income that we will look at today.
There are four types of income streams (Matthews, 2017):
Earned income is the most common. It is income we get from working at a job. This could be employment for someone else or for yourself. Typically payment is given based on an hourly schedule and yearly salary. If you are looking for additional income through your job or career here are some ideas to consider:
Looking into open positions in the company you are with or other agencies that have higher paying jobs.
Seek promotions in your current work.
Working extra shifts or hours.
The best thing about earned income is that it is fairly predictable and you can count on payments on a regular basis. This may be more uncertain if your pay depends on tips, commission, or sales.
Passive income is typically slow to grow, but for some can become a significant source of income. These days there are many opportunities to make passive income and can allow you to make income with less effort then earned income. The great thing about this type of income is that it can grow without you having to do a ton of work. Here are some ideas of ways to make passive income:
Start and monetize a blog!
Sell digital or printable products
Make an online course (Matthews, 2021)
Start an online shop. You could possibly sell items you have made, bought wholesale, or through drop-shipping.
Affiliate marketing for other businesses
Residual income is the money that continues to flow after an initial investment of time and resources has been completed”
Will Kenton, 2022
This has similar benefits as passive income in that there is initial effort to get the income started and then it generates itself ongoing. Here are some examples of residual income sources (Matthews, 2021):
Rent received from properties
Network Marketing, also known as direct sales or multi-level marketing
Providing a service that clients can subscribe to, for example coaching or subscription boxes
This income comes from money that is invested that in turn makes you a return.
Just like Passive income, your money is working for you. The income from these types of investments include, interest, dividends, and capital gains.”
Erica Matthews, 2021
This list includes sources of investment income (Matthews, 2021):
One of the biggest lessons about life with chronic illness I’ve learned is how to budget my energy. For myself and a lot of people living with chronic illness our bodies experiences fatigue and energy differently. I can’t speak for other people but I will share what this has looked like for me.
I’ve learned to think of energy budgeting as a series of deposits and withdrawals. Things that take energy are withdrawals and the things that fill you with energy are deposits. When living with a chronic illness there are types of activities that take a lot of energy for us that the average person does not consider taking any energy. This could be something as simple as a shower, getting ready for the day, driving to work, or cooking a meal. Deposits of energy are things that give us energy this could be taking a nap, taking rest breaks, or pacing ourselves when doing a difficult activity.
For me personally I am evaluating my energy levels throughout the day. There are days where I start the day at a yellow and have to be careful with how much I push myself that day. There have also been days when my day started out and I was completely exhausted and unable to go to work or do my normal life activities. Then there have been days when I start out with a lot of energy on one of the greens. But have had to be careful to not take too much advantage of the unexpected energy and deplete what I have.
The most important part of evaluating your energy is to simply notice. Notice what your body is telling you it needs. If you notice you are very tired is it possible to make a deposit by taking a small break or a nap? It’s even good to journal about patterns you’ve noticed in the week or month about things that have been draining or adding to your energy. Below are some helpful tips of what helps me budget my energy:
Develop routines that support your energy. This could be going to bed and waking up at certain times. Eating foods that give you energy or doing light exercise to stimulate your energy.
Be willing to say ‘no’. There have been times when there were fun activities going on with my family or friends and I’ve had to learn to be able to say ‘no’ when I didn’t have enough energy to go. There are activities that can be more taxing then others and it’s important to know your limits and when to say ‘no’ and when to say ‘yes’.
Letting others help you. This is one of the hardest for me. There are times I don’t have the energy to keep up and need help! It’s okay to ask for and receive help from others. Sometimes it makes a world of difference!
Have you ever felt like sharing your feelings is hard?
Me too!! It can be so hard to express ourselves when we are overwhelmed by our emotions! There are many reasons why this is true. One reason could be that we have not identified our emotions within ourselves. This may sound like a very basic idea, but naming and identifying our emotions helps us to know how to manage them.
Naming our emotions empowers us!! When we name them are are able to understand our needs, process how we are feeling, and identify what led to us having these feelings. This can be huge to knowing ourselves and being able to communicate our needs with others. Below is a list of emotions from Berkeley Wellness Institute:
Which one of these emotions speaks to you most today?
Peppermint essential oil is an energizing, minty, and refreshing scent, which makes it one of the most popular oils! It is also one of the oils for sale in the Blooming Resilient Shop. You can find it at the link below!
Benefits of Peppermint Essential Oil
These benefits have not been evaluated by the FDA. Always be sure to listen to your body and stop using any oil if it causes an allergic reaction or does not make you feel well.
Helps reduce headaches, joint pain, and muscle aches (NCCIH, 2022)
Helps reduce nerve pain (Ansorge, 2022)
Has anti-inflammatory properties that may help gastrointestinal issues (Seladi-Schulaman, 2022)
Repels mosquitoes (Ansorge, 2022)
Help reduce cold symptoms when inhaled (Ansorge, 2022)
When used may help increase energy and be uplifting emotionally
How to Use
There are many ways to use essential oils! Some people feel comfort ingesting essential oils, but it is not something I recommend because these oils are so concentrated.￼
Ways to use your peppermint essential oil:
You can add this oil into your body care recipes! This is a great oil to add when making soaps and body sprays!
Can be applied to the skin when diluted with a carrier oil in a roller bottle or spray bottle.
You can add this to your aroma diffusers to create a refreshing scent in your space!
Cleaning is one of those life skills that there is always something new to learn about. There are so many products and methods to use that help us keep our spaces clean. Below are a few new things I’ve tried recently and wanted to share with you!
I had to get resourceful with some of my cleaning lately and I’ve found things that worked great for me!
I ran out of the dishwasher rinse aid that I had bought from the store and wanted to see if anything else I had at home could work instead of going out and buying more. I have been using vinegar in the dishwasher for the rinse aid and it works great! It seems to be working way better then the store bought aid I had bought. This could be a great way to save money and still have good results with your dishwasher.
I normally use Blueland laundry tablets, but I ran out before ordering more. I found myself wondering if this Dr. Bronner’s Pure Castile Soap would work as laundry detergent and it did! On the bottle it says to use 1/2 cup of soap for a large load of laundry. It also advises to put vinegar in the rinse cycle. Instead I added baking soda to the wash. It worked really well and my clothes are clean and smell great!
I love this Plant Therapy multi-surface cleaner!! I use it in the bathroom and kitchen and it works really well. All you do is pour all the contents of the cleaner concentrate into the glass bottle and fill the rest of the bottle with water. Shake the spray bottle before using. It also smells really good!
Would love to hear your favorite cleaning hacks! Comment below! 🧼
The best thing about creativity is that it is unique for all of us. There are so many different mediums and ways to be creative. I believe we all have creative power, sometimes it comes out in art, conversations, mechanical work, crafts, music, and in anything we pour our passion into. I felt very insecure about my creativity when I was growing up and struggled to find my creative voice when I was a young adult. What I learned during those seasons was that it’s okay if your creativity looks different than other peoples, simply creating is empowering, and in the process of creativity we learn a lot about ourselves. There are a lot of benefits to being creative for our overall well-being.
Benefits of Creativity
Being creative, in whatever form, is a great way to share your story. It’s an opportunity to develop your voice and share that with your community. Telling our story can be healing, empowering, and affirming.
Getting creative often is a mental challenge. We learn while we are being creative about different mediums, how things work together, and skills to make a project work. This mental stimulation is great for our brain and challenges us to be resourceful.
Creativity can be a great source of peace and comfort. Life can be really hard and taking time to be creative is a great space for our mind to rest. To just be able to focus on a project that we enjoy and get creative can be so comforting and give us a moment of calm in the midst of the craziness of life.
Creativity can create community with others. There is something so special about connecting with other people about creativity. It is so cool to see how everyone creates differently and finding common ground in creativity can help us not feel so alone in this world.
Creativity can be a source of emotional strength. There have been times in my life when I have been working through heartbreak, disappointment, or sadness and being creative helped me brave those hard moments. Being creative does this by being a great form of expression, giving us a since of purpose, and allowing us to work out difficult feelings in a productive way.
I love using and making melt and pour soap!! It is cheaper then buying bar soap and you can add in your favorite oils! I buy my soap from Hobby Lobby when they go on sale. I typically use Lavender and Lemon essential oils. I tend to get eczema and the Lavender helps ease any irritation on my skin. I also like to use lemon or sweet orange because of their natural cleansing properties!
Melt & Pour Soap, I like using Shea Butter
Microwaveable glass bowl
Essential Oil of Your Choice
Soap Mold, I use food-grade silicone molds
I normally will make 1 pound of melt and pour soap at a time, which will typically make enough for a whole six to eight cavities in a silicone mold.
Cut the block of melt and pour soap into smaller pieces to fit into the microwaveable glass bowl.
Microwave the soap in 30 second intervals.
In between the intervals take the glass bowl out and stir the soap.
Once the soap is completely melted add in your essential oils. I normally add 50 drops of essential oils for 1 pound of soap. Depending on your skin sensitivity you could consider added less or more than 50 drops.
Stir the essential oils and soap together.
Pour soap into the silicone mold.
Once the soap has hardened and cooled you can carefully pop the soap out of each cavity.
We often joke that talking to ourselves is weird or a sign of being “crazy”. But in reality, most of us have an ongoing monologue with ourselves all the time. This is something called self-talk.
Self-talk can be out loud or simply the monologue of thoughts within our mind. I am an external processor, so I often speak things I am thinking out loud to myself just to make sense of it, while others have an internal processing as they think through life.
I have heard people say this in a variety of ways, but I find it to be so true that our relationship with ourselves is the longest and most vital relationship we will have in our lives. Many people come in and out of our life, but we always belong to ourselves. Though this is true, we often treat and speak to ourselves with such disrespect and disregard. Many of us battle with negative and critical self-talk and it becomes simply a part of our everyday life. This is something I personally struggle with all the time.
The trouble with self-talk, which we can also think of as our thought life, is that it informs our actions. All of our actions and decisions begin with a thought or belief within ourselves. If our thoughts are mean, disrespectful, and demeaning towards ourselves, how is that informing our actions and our way of living? How is that impacting how we let other people treat us? As someone who has struggled with negative self-talk for most of my life, I have realized that it impacts my decisions, the treatment I accept from others, accomplishing my goals, and trusting my own judgment.
How Self-Talk Impacts Us
I want to break down some of the impacts of having positive and negative self-talk.
Impact Negative Self-Talk Can Have:
Lowers our self-esteem and our ability to see our worth
May become a barrier to accomplishing our goals
May keep us from taking risks or putting ourselves in positions of growth
Effects our mental health and can increase anxiety or depression (Psychology Today)
Can cause complications in our relationships
May cause use to need increased affirmation and validation from others
Impact Positive Self-Talk Can Have:
Allow us to see our strength and resilience
Calms the mind and allows us to build resilience
Allows us to have increased confidence in ourselves and our abilities
Encourages us to pursue our goals
Equips is to take chances and to bloom during seasons of growth
Promotes positive mental health
Equips us to be a healthy partner or friend in relationships
Helps us to self-soothe and increases our ability to self-assure and believe in ourselves
May allow us to love ourselves and others better
How to Improve our Self-Talk
There are a lot of strategies to improve our self-talk. No matter what strategy you use, it requires practice! Our brain adapts as we repeat the habit we are attempting to build and implement. The problem I often face is that I try to change four or more habits at once, then get overwhelmed and quit practicing all of them. I have found it to be better to choose one or two habits and really focus in on those for a period of time. Then once your brain and body have adapted to those, then adding in one or two more. No matter what be patient and kind with yourself! Here are some strategies you could try to help build positive self-talk:
Write out something kind about yourself and hang it up. Reread all the kind statements every day.
Journal about things you have done well or about stories that reflect your strength.
When noticing something negative you are thinking, correct yourself and think something strength-based and kind. For example, if thinking you are ugly, then correct yourself and think you are beautiful instead.
Tell yourself positive affirmations, such as, “you are strong and capable and will accomplish your goals today.”
When thinking of something negative about yourself or your story, think of an exception. For example, if I am thinking I am a failure, then challenge that thought and think of an exception of when that has not been true. When have you succeeded, accomplished a goal, or done something well?
Today we will be talking about the importance of building your community. Life can be so hard and it is essential to have a community and support system that we can lean into and feel a sense of belonging to.
Communicating can be so hard! Have you ever felt like what you were trying to say came out too harshly? Have you ever chosen not to say anything because you were not sure how to express your needs?
Communication can be tough for so many reasons. We have often witnessed destructive communication during our childhoods, within our relationships, and in our workplaces. Maybe you have even felt belittled by someone else’s poor, passive aggressive, or aggressive communication. Communication with others and ourselves directly impacts how we get through life and the quality of our relationships.
The great news is that we have control of what we say, how we respond, and the actions we take. We do not have to be stuck in unproductive or destructive communication styles. We can choose to communicate in ways that expresses what we need, is respectful, and is productive. I know I write that statement as if it is easy. It does take intentional work to change and to recognize our own patterns. First, we will discuss the different kinds of communication on the communication spectrum.
There are four commonly used categories of communication including passive, assertive, passive-aggressive, and aggressive.
Passive: This type of communication is characterized by not speaking up, not sharing, and not stating your opinion or needs in order to please someone else. Since the needs of this person are not being expressed, they may be at risk for being taken advantage of, having pent up hurt feelings, not having clear boundaries, and having unmet needs.
Passive-Aggressive: This type of communication is also characterized by not directly sharing needs, but the person will then penalize others for not knowing their needs or wants. Similar to the passive communication this can lead to resentments but is also like the aggressive communication in that the person works to manipulate others to eventually get what they want.
Aggressive: This type of communication is totally self-centered and is used to dominate, take advantage of, bully, and intimidate others. This type of communication does not leave room for others to share their needs, wants, or rights.
Assertive: This type of communication is characterized by respectful communication of needs, wants, and boundaries. There is no manipulation or discrediting someone else’s needs and there is a safe space for the individual to share their own needs. This is the most ideal form of communication.
Benefits of Assertive Communication
There are many benefits to using assertive communication. When both people are using this form of communication it creates a space for both people to be able to speak with respect and to be able to share what they need and want. The other forms of communications cause barriers in communication and in relationships. If you are communicating with an abusive person, they may not be receptive to your assertive communication. It is important to evaluate if it is a safe person and place to speak assertively about your needs and boundaries.
Using ‘I’ Statements
A great way to practice assertive communication is by using ‘I’ statements. This is a great tool because it helps us to take responsibility for our feelings, words, and thoughts, while sharing what we want and need. Using ‘I’ statements first starts with you sharing how you feel when something occurs and then sharing what you wish would happen instead. Here are some examples:
I feel hurt when you talk about me and I would like it if you would talk about issues with me first.
I feel upset and unsafe when you slam the door during a disagreement, please do not do that.
I enjoy going bowling with you, can we do that sometime this month.
These are just examples of some ways you can use ‘I’ statements. Take some time to think about conversations where you could have used these kinds of statements or practice using this tool with a friend. I will say it can be hard to use ‘I’ statements when someone is accusing you or arguing with you, but it is so worth it to be able to express how you are feeling and what you need in that moment.
I love journals! They can be a great tool for expressing ourselves, working towards our goals, and to reflect on our present moment. Using a budget journal can be a great tool to feel empowered when working towards your financial goals. There are benefits to having a written budget:
Taking time to write down a budget can help you to be more intentional to make your plan your own. When using an app or spreadsheet it could be less personalized to your life and needs.
Writing increases our brain’s neural activity, which can increase our connection to our budget (Olson, 2016).
Writing has a therapeutic affect and can be calming (Olson, 2016). This can allow us to have a positive connection with our budget and financial plan.
It is easy to look through our written budget and to see progress towards goals (The Panther Group, 2019)!
Features in a Budget Journal
There are certain features that I look for in a budget journal and try to incorporate these when I am making a journal for myself or to sell. These are some of those features:
A Monthly Overview Page: to have a view of all the income and expenses for the month.
A Savings and Debt Tracker: this is helpful to be able to see progress towards goals of saving or paying off debts. This can be empowering to keep working towards your goals!
Spending Tracker: a tracker can help you be more intentional of how to spend your money, to see how your spending actually fits into your budget, and to see patterns in your spending.
Space to Write Goals: writing down our goals is a huge step towards completing them! Writing it down and planning action steps gives you the freedom to work towards your goals with confidence!
An additional feature that I recently put in a new printable budget journal that I made is a Bill Organizer. I was excited to make this because often we have to pay bills to a lot of different companies and may have additional subscriptions and services that are billed monthly. This form can be a great way to organize these payments! Below is a free download from my printable budget journal! Check out this free bill organizer worksheet! You can check out the full budget journal at the link below and the download for the freebie is below that! Would love to know what features you look for in a budget journal or what tools you use for your budget!
I have found that paying attention to my thoughts is very important to my wellbeing! When I let my thoughts go unchecked I start to be in negative thought patterns, vicious cycles of disappointment thinking of all the things that I “should” do and assuming what others are thinking. None of these patterns are helpful and it takes being intentional to notice these thoughts in yourself to create change. Paying attention to our thoughts is essential to our mental and emotional health.
Common Thought Distortions
One of the books about resilience that I have enjoyed is by Dr. Glenn R. Schiraldi, called The Resilience Workbook. This book has a lot of helpful information and exercises for building resilience and overcoming past stress and trauma. Below is a list from Dr. Schiraldi of common thought distortions:
Flaw Fixation: getting stuck on all the things that we consider to be wrong, undesirable, or negative.
Dismissing the Positive: choosing to not notice, accept, or believe the positive in a situation or about yourself.
Assuming: this could look like thinking that you know what someone else is thinking without them expressing themselves or predicting what you think will happen as fact.
Labeling: when we reduce ourselves, others, or a situation down to one characteristic.
Overgeneralizing: thinking that a certain type of situation always or never happens.
All-or-None Thinking: I find when I am engaging in this kind of thinking I am wanting to either have everything exactly as I want it and am all in or I totally walk away and don’t invest any of myself. In this thought process solutions in the middle are not considered.
Comparison: Comparing someone’s situation to your own, but often it is comparing someone else’s best to your worst.
Catastrophizing: thinking the worst is going to happen.
Emotional Logic: making decisions based solely on emotion and not considering the facts of the situation.
Should Statements: when you have rules or beliefs of what life has to be like.
Personalizing: believing something is about you personally, without considering other possibilities or circumstances.
Blaming: not taking responsibility for our own thoughts, words, and actions.
Looking at a list like this can be overwhelming because chances are we might be struggling with several of these thought processes. Next, we will look how to focus in on one of these thought processes and start the process of making change!
Changing Thought Cycles
Sometimes it can feel very difficult to change our thought processes especially when we have been thinking a certain way for a long time. When I was first trying to change my thought processes I first reflected on which one caused the most difficulties in my life. Or consider which one is holding you back the most from goals you are working on. Making changes is not only about what we won’t do, but figuring out what we will do instead. For example one of my struggles is assuming what other people are thinking. So when I catch myself doing this I remind myself that I am not a mind reader or that I can only control my thoughts, words and actions. Once I’ve reminded myself of this I take a step back and look at the facts. What did the person actually say? What circumstances were happening that led me to assume their thoughts? And what do I actually know about the situation based on these things? Here are these steps laid out below:
What thought distortion do you want to work on?
How can you replace this thought process with a new health thought process?
Are there circumstances that trigger this thought distortion?
The awesome thing about our brain is that the more we practice a skill and put our attention to it, the more our brain adapts to support the new thought process or habit. It might take time, but you have the power to change your brain and to change your thoughts! Take time to reflect on this! Leave a comment below of what action step you are going to take!
Schiraldi, G. (2017). The Resilience Workbook. New Harbinger Publications, Inc.
If you are like me, then you might struggle with saving money. Saving money takes so much intentionality and discipline and it is far too easy to spend on things that are not in the budget and to splurge on things that are wants instead of needs. We are often bombarded by all kinds of activities and duties from work, school, church, or personal care and sometimes taking time to figure out our financial goals is hard. Taking time to consider how much we are wanting to save, why we are wanting to save, and where we are wanting to store our money is difficult and can take a lot of energy. But I think it can be easier than we think.
Again, if you are like me, you may get stuck at the stage of planning and never actually do the plan. This has happened to me in particular with saving money. There have been times when I wanted to have a perfect plan of how I would save money, how much I would save each month, and what my overall saving goal was. Unfortunately, I would get so wrapped up in the details that I was delayed getting started or sometimes did not get started at all. It is best to keep plans for things like this simple. I am going to share a list of possible ways to save up money and maybe choose two of these and just run with them.
Why is working to save money worth it?
There are many reasons why it is a worthy goal to save money. Here are just a few of the benefits:
It gives you a foundation to draw on when needs, emergencies, or even big items we want to purchase come up. This foundation allows us to have a sense of stability.
Helps us to accomplish big goals like retiring, buying a house, buying a car, or getting married.
It helps us to be prepared for the everchanging circumstances of life. Some of these circumstances could be an unexpected illness, losing your job, having children, moving, or expenses that come with death of a loved one.
Allows us to prepare for special moments with our family and friends, such as going on vacation, gifts, or other expenses that come with special occasions.
What is your ‘why’ for wanting to save money?
The list above is a general list of reasons, but what is YOUR reason for saving money or wanting to save money? It could be a mixture of these or none of those at all. Consider taking time to think what you value and what saving money can do to serve your goals, desires, and lifestyle. Sometimes finding out ‘why’ can help us to move forward with actions to meet your goals.
I recently was determined to save all the money I could to buy a house. For a couple of years I saved all that I could, went to informational meetings about being a homeowner, went to showings, and shared my goal with my friends and family. After all that and saving a decent amount of money, I ended up deciding it was not the right time. I’m so thankful that I decided this because I ended up needing that savings to pay for an unexpected surgery and to purchase a car. Even though the money I saved did not go to the particular goal I had, it ended up being necessary for other expenses.
These are strategies of ways you can save money for your goals:
Automatically transfer money to your savings account every month or paycheck. Most online banking tools have an option to schedule transfers.
Save your coins in a jar or other container. It’s amazing how much this can add up. There has been times when I have also added dollar bills to my change jar too.
Track your progress towards your savings goals.
Having a savings accountability partner. My cousin and I did this once. It made budgeting so fun!
Save through making extra money through Ibotta or Swagbucks. I used Swagbucks as a way to save up for furnishing my new townhouse.
Decide how much you are wanting to save on a regular basis. But don’t overcomplicate it. Keep it simple.
Have you ever had a goal that you wanted to accomplish, but it did not end up working because of lack of planning?
Have you ever had a goal that you planned for, but the plan did not work out and it was difficult to find motivation to keep working towards your goal?
I have been in both of these situations and been disappointment when working towards my goals did not go as planned. Having a plan and ongoing inspiration can help us to accomplish our goals. There is a theory that there are four steps to change. These steps are pre-contemplation, contemplation, preparation, and action (DiClemente & Norcross, 1992). The preparation stage is when we have accepted the change we would like to make and then taking steps to get ready for taking action. Vision boards and planning are great steps to take to prepare for action!
Making a vision board, whether it is for the new year, a special project, or a new habit, allows us to stay focused on our priorities and stay inspired even when the change is difficult. Any change, new habit, or even new year will have challenges that we did not anticipate or that may decrease our motivation. Because of this a vision board can help us to stay focused and to press forward when parts of the plan have to be tweaked or changed to accomplish our overall goals. We all grow tired and feel overwhelmed at times from making any kind of change. Because of this it can be helpful to have something to look at and to help us to visualize why it is important to keep working towards our goal.
Types of Vision Boards
There are several ways that you can make a vision board or display your goals in ways that can inspire you and keep you focused on what your priorities are.
You can make a collage of your vision and goals! This can be very fun because you can use whatever stickers, pictures, phrases, and embellishments that inspire you regarding your goals. This is a great way to express your hopes, desired results, and your “why” behind working towards that goal. The inspiration from the collage can spur you forward towards your goal and be a source of comfort to press forward when barriers come up. You can see a small vision board that I made below with a frame from the Dollar Tree. This is my Amazon referral link for the stickers I purchased for the vision board.
You could choose a word to focus on that represents your “why” behind the goal, that describes your desired outcome, or that inspires you towards your goals.
If you are someone who likes to work on a variety of goals, you could write out all of the goals you have for the year. For example, if you were wanting to work on your health, career, relationships, and faith during 2022 then you could write out a reflection on all four topics and what you are hoping to achieve throughout the year.
Using SMART goals as our foundation can be helpful in allowing us to make plans that are specific, measurable, achievable, realistic, and time-based. After we have made a vision board or other inspirational reflection, we can than break down our goals into specific and measurable steps. This supports us in making changes and allows the change we make to be sustainable.
Specific – I would like to eat more vegetables.
Measurable – I plan to eat 4 servings of vegetables daily.
Achievable – this is a doable goal because it is simple and will take place during my lunch and dinner meals.
Realistic – this is realistic to me because I enjoy vegetables and can fairly easily start eating 4 servings daily.
Time-based – I plan to work on this goal for the next three months.
Summary: My goal is to eat 4 servings of vegetables daily, during my lunch and dinner meals. I will work on this goal for the next three months. This is realistic and achievable due to my enjoyment of vegetables and desire to eat healthier.
Trouble Shooting Your Plan
There are times for all of us that working towards our goals does not go as well as we hoped or planned. For most of us we give up on our New Year’s resolutions by February or we might quit a diet three weeks in. If the methods that you had planned on did not work, do not allow that to dishearten you to give up on your goal! Try adjusting the plan or the methods of how you go about working towards your end goals! Your health, wellbeing, and dreams are worth pursuing!!
DiClemente, C. & Norcross, J. (1992). In Search of How People Change: Applications to Addictive behaviors. American Psychologist, 47, 1102-1114.
Money is one of those topics that is difficult to talk about, but is something that we all have to deal with in our every day life. Managing money can be hard and spending it can be too easy. Most of us have bills we are trying to keep up with, expenses that come up unexpectedly, fun activities we would like to pay for, and necessities like food and gas to purchase too. It can be hard balancing all of these expenses and sometimes can feel like there is just not enough money to go around! I know there has been times for me when I just got paid and then after all the expenses for that two weeks it’s just gone. This is why it is so important to have a budget.
Having a budget empowers us to know exactly how we want to spend out money and helps us to work towards our financial goals. When thinking about budgets it can seem like a tool that limits us, but in reality it can set us free from harmful habits and give us a picture of our true financial situation. There a several benefits to having a budget:
Gives you the power to plan for spending money on your priorities.
Allows you to track your habits and see where you are spending more money then you would like to.
Helps you to save more and work towards paying off debts.
Empowers you to confidently make financial decisions with your money!
Beware of little expenses; a small leak will sink a great ship.“
I have used a variety of budget tools. One that I enjoy is a binder system. The great thing about a binder is that you can add in pages and take them out as needed. It’s also a great way to keep all of your papers and receipts together. I recently found some great manila folders on Amazon that are perfect for budgeting because they have a monthly calendar on the front. You can watch a video I made below of how to use a binder for your budget!
These are affiliate links for items I bought on Amazon for the budget binder:
Below is a link to a previous blog post that I did about budgeting and there is a free download for a budget worksheet that you could use in a binder system.
I have gone through many seasons where I used tools to track things related to my wellness. Sometimes it’s tracking what I eat, exercise, stress, symptoms, medications, or progress of a goal. When working towards any new habit we have to put our attention towards making changes or choosing ways to support the new way of life. Writing and tracking my new habit on paper has been the most successful way for me to track wellness goals. I am a life long “journaler” and love to use writing as a way to process, to track, and to plan.
Why Use A Health Tracker?
Developing any new habit can be difficult. It takes time for our brain and body to adjust to the new way of living. The best tool to use when working on a new habit is using the tool of attention. So often as we live our life on auto pilot and we revert back to old habits. Because of this starting any new habit means we have to pay attention. Using a health tracker can help bring intentionality to the everyday choices we make about what we eat and how often we exercise. Being intentional and purposeful in our choices allows us to make decisions that supports the goals we are trying to accomplish. A health tracker can be an invaluable tool when planning for your health, tracking aspects of your wellness, and progressing towards your goals.
My Common Mistakes With Health Goals
There are mistakes that I’ve made when using a health tracker and making health goals that have derailed my progress.
Expecting Perfection: there have been times when I planned things out in my health tracker and everything was going well, but then I make a mistake. It could be that I ate that piece of cake or sweet I had been craving, or I didn’t do the exercise I planned for the day, or I got take out instead of eating what I had meal planned. Sometimes when these mistakes happen I would get so discouraged that I would just want to quit and give up on using the health tracker or feel like a failure. DON’T QUIT!!! We are human. We make mistakes and sometimes we just don’t make the best choices, but it’s okay!! Your goal isn’t ruined, you are not a failure, and your hard work is not cancelled out. We all go through this and it’s totally normal. Just make the next right choice. So what, lunch didn’t go as planned, maybe dinner will be better or maybe tomorrow will be better. Just keep going!! Your health is worth it! You are worth it!
Making Vague Goals: I often have these big ideas of things I would like to work on, but I forget to break my big goals into measurable small goals. For example, if you are wanting to lose 100lbs, that’s an awesome goal, but a bit overwhelming. How can you break that into measurable small goals? It could be that you are going to make a goal of losing 1lb per week instead of the big goal. Having small victories makes it easier to work towards our big goals.
Being Obsessed with Weight: There have been times when I’ve been working on being healthy and I get totally consumed by what the scale is saying. There have even been times when loved ones in my life had to hide the scale from me because I was so consumed by the numbers. I have found that I am much more successful when I make goals around behaviors rather than weight. For example, eating 4 servings of vegetables a day, or having only having one sweet treat per month, or exercising four times a week. These kinds of goals work much better for me because weight fluctuates for many reasons.
Health Tracker Features
There a variety of features to look for in a health tracker depending on what your goals are. Here is a walk-through of a health tracker that I created and the features.
These are affiliate links for items I have bought for my health tracker.
I love mushrooms! I know a lot of people may not like them because they are kind of an odd vegetable. I hope after reading this post you will consider giving them a try! It is important to know what mushrooms are toxic and which ones are safe to eat. The typical types of mushrooms found in the grocery store include shiitake, portobello, crimini, white mushrooms, oyster, enoki, beech, and maitake (Goldman, 2017).
Mushrooms have many nutritional benefits! Mushrooms have antioxidants, fiber, Vitamin B, copper and potassium (Goldman, 2017). I started eating mushrooms more when I was doing the Keto diet and this was one of the foods I ate in order to avoid the imbalance of potassium. It worked really well for me. This is a nutritious vegetable to add into your diet!
There are a variety of ways that I enjoy cooking mushrooms. I’ve roasted them in the oven with seasonings and other vegetables like asparagus, bell peppers, and green beans. I’ve also cooked them on the stove top and sautéed them with avocado oil and various seasonings as a side dish. What I did this week was cooked them in the air fryer! They turned out really well! Again, I’m no cooking expert, but here is what I did if you want to give it a try!
2 Cartons of Mushrooms
Seasonings that you like, I used Himalayan Salt, Pepper, and Garlic Salt
Liquid Aminos or Soy Sauce
Rinse mushrooms with cold water
Chop mushrooms into desired size. I chopped each mushroom into fours.
Put the mushrooms in a bowl and toss with avocado oil, Himalayan salt, pepper, and garlic salt.
Put mushrooms in air fryer for 15 minutes at 400 degrees.
Check on the mushrooms periodically to see if they need to be stirred.
When there is about 5 minutes left add liquid aminos or soy sauce.
When it’s done, enjoy! I ate mine over brown rice with chicken!
I love Swagbucks! At the beginning of the year I started looking for some additional ways to earn income to pay for furniture for an upcoming move. I remembered someone mentioned that they used Swagbucks to save up for Christmas gift spending so I started looking into it. What I discovered was a fun way opportunity to earn gift cards. Through Swagbucks I bought many things for my new home including a dresser, bed frame, night stand, chair, craft desk, lighting, pots and pans, toaster, silverware, and many more things. It was a game changer for my new home and provided a peace of mind in getting the items that I needed for this new chapter.
These are some of the products that I bought!
There are a variety of activities that you can do on Swagbucks! Some of these include watching videos, answering surveys, shopping Swagbucks deals, playing games, discovering content, using their search engine, and installing the Swag button. They also have a lot of fun events including Swagbucks Trivia Monday through Friday, SWAGO, and team challenges.
The key that I have found to doing Swagbucks successfully is to be consistent. Doing something on Swagbucks daily or consistently participating in the various activities allows the SB to add up! When my aunt first start using Swagbucks we were doing trivia at the same time and she almost quit once we was eliminated. She laughed at me as a enthusiastically said, “Auntie, you never quit!” Just keep going and trust that the SB will add up! I would definitely recommend giving this a try!
This is my referral link if you are interested in giving Swagbucks a try!
How do you cope with transitions? I am in the midst of a big transition right now. I previously moved back home to go to school for my masters in social work. I finished my masters and am moving back out on my own! So excited!! But along with the excitement is fear, anxieties, and pressure. I tend to not handle transitions well. There are times when I don’t choose the best ways to cope like going shopping or get a large pizza. But here are some other ways that help me cope!
1. Pray, Pray, Pray! I don’t know about you but for me, my faith is a big part of my coping process. But it’s not simply that I trust in Jesus to get me through transitions, but I trust him daily to hold me together and provide. So even today as my mind was full of concerns and things to do on my list, I also continuously ask that the Lord would be honored in my life, praying for his help and seeking his wisdom.
2. Laughter! If you know me, then you know I am continuously laughing and giggling. It helps me to find humor in life and just enjoy being silly! Like when I bought this scarecrow hat that I had seen on the Shabby Tree. It’s so silly, but it made me happy, it made me smile and relieved some of the pressure of this move.
3. Time with Friends and Family! During this time I’ve gotten to spend time with several friends and family members that had brought me joy and reminded me that I am not in this transition alone. Sometimes when we are moving or in the midst of a transition it can feel lonely. But take a moment and look to see who is in your corner and is willing to weather through the transition with you!
4. Spending Time Outside! I was so thankful to have some time this weekend to be outside at my favorite park and enjoy the trees, nature, and water.
5. Get Creative! Sometimes we just need a creative release. Try a new craft or one that is dear to you. Just spend time enjoying a moment of focusing on making something with your hands.
6. Exercise! There’s has been many times this week when I needed a break from the stress of life and did a few yoga poses, walking outside, or exercise at the gym. Consider using movement to release some of that stressful energy. But be careful not to over due it and listen to what your body needs!
7. Gradual Progress! I know this isn’t always an option, but something that helps me is to work towards a change gradually. For me this had looked like packing a few boxes at a time and gradually getting ready for the move so that it’s not overwhelming to all the sudden need to do the whole move at once.
8. Take A Break! Enjoy some time to just relax and rest! You are important and it’s essential to take care of you! Sometimes this means choosing to rest instead of pack or stopping to eat a nutritious lunch or going to bed early.
9. Journal! Take time to journal how you are feeling about the transition. A way of journaling I’ve been doing to help with the transition is to write something I’m grateful for or looking forward to about this transition whenever I start feeling stressed about it. Sometimes perspective is everything and journaling can help release stress and refocus our perspective.
10. Be Present! Sometimes when we are stressed and worried we are not being present in the moment. It’s easy to be consumed with what could happen or with what might go wrong. Be intentional to be present in the moment you are in.
We all worry, think about, plan around, and try to budget our money. There are a lot of tools that can help with this including apps, websites, and excel spreadsheets. I am a paper person and work best with budget journals.
These are helpful features that are to have in a budgeting tool:
Monthly Overview: This is simply a space to write a summary of your income, expenses, and goals for the month
Weekly Overview: Having this kind of feature is good to plan how each paycheck will be spent on expenses specifically.
Spending Trackers: Are helpful to see how we spend money and to notice our habits
Debt & Savings Trackers: See the progress being made on paying off debts and working towards saving goals.
To meet financial goals it is important to be intentional with how we spend, invest, and save. Here is a tool that might help!
This is a blog spotlight about egg plant being in season in September and the fun of trying new foods.
If you are anything like me, you may not know what vegetables and fruits are in season. In Ohio, one of the vegetables in season in September is the mysterious Eggplant. Besides being a beautiful color, eggplant is nutritious and a good source of vitamin K, vitamin C, and antioxidants (Link, 2017).
One of my neighbors had a ripened eggplant in her garden that she was not going to use and generously gave it to me to try. I have eaten eggplant at Olive Garden before, which was of course delicious, and had tried to cook it once for myself and it did NOT go so well. I ventured to try cooking egg plant again! This time I used an air fryer, which by the way is amazing and I would highly recommend it. I found a recipe that sounded good and went for it! One thing to know about me is that I am terrible at following recipe directions. I tend to take the instructions as suggestions and just do what I think sounds like it would be tasty and I don’t always measure. Because of this I am not here to give cooking advice, but want to spot light some vegetables and fruits to try each month.
The original recipe I used was by Holly, on Spend with Pennies (2021). I first cut the eggplant into slices and sprinkled salt on top to get out any extra moisture. After leaving it for about a half hour I used a paper towel to press out any excess moisture. I then dipped the eggplant in a bowl of whisked eggs and then in a bowl with panko, parmesan cheese, and seasonings. Then I cooked it in the air fryer. for 12 minutes on 380 degrees and flipped the slices after 6 minutes. The eggplant was soft and went well with quinoa and brown rice noodles and tomato basil sauce. Consider giving eggplant a try this month and find a recipe that fits the cooking tools and equipment you have at home!
Leave a comment if you try a recipe with egg plant this month!