twenty eight, feelin’ great
this past tuesday marked my 28th birthday, and i said this last year when i turned 27, but… twenty eight… seriously?!
just to backtrack for a minute… on may 10th, 2015, i was in l.a., hoping that my plan to leave new york for the best coast would end up working out… not knowing where i was going to live or work… how or if i was going to make new friends… and a year later, i’m here, working at a company i love, and surrounded by some of the most amazing people i’ve ever met… pretty. effing. insane.
last year i made a list of 27 things i’d learned in my 27 years on the planet, and this year i thought i would keep the tradition alive, but instead of 28 life lessons i thought i would list twenty eight things i’m grateful for. practicing gratitude has become a part of my morning routine over the past few months, and it just seemed fitting. so, here goes nothin’.
- for my family and friends, near and far. they are the most important things in my life, always and forever.
- that it doesn’t snow in l.a… ever.
- for my job at snacknation and all of the amazing people it has brought into my life.
- for my big girl apartment.
- that i no longer have to take public transportation… ever.
- for music, especially the way it brings people together.
- for the beach [where i could go every day if i wanted to.]
- for my morning routine, even though i over sleep from time to time and have no time to do it.
- that my hard work is paying off, even if it took longer than i thought it should have.
- for re-discovering my love of camping. seriously, my amazon cart is full of camping gear after going to joshua tree a few weeks ago.
- for blogging and having this creative outlet to do what i really love to do… write!
- for yoga.
- that leo finally won an oscar. about damn time.
- for puppies. still don’t have one of my own, but one of these days that’s going to change.
- for coffee. not sure how people make it by without it.
- that i broke up with the scale and haven’t looked back.
- that i took the leap and moved to l.a. i’ve never felt more at home.
- that i can workout outside all. year. round. [hello, hiking!]
- for the people in my life who call me out on my sh*t.
- for learning how to put myself out there.
- for being able to say that i’m making serious progress with mastering my mean girl.
- for pizza. never not grateful for pizza. and also grateful for margaritas.
- for the bad days. they make the good days even better.
- for weekends away when i can disconnect from social media and my phone… and reality.
- that i said “yes!” to almost everything for a while, but grateful that i’m starting to say “no” again.
- to be going to the u.k. in july with my family. nothing gets me excited quite like traveling does.
- that i’ve adopted the “i.d.g.a.f.o.s.” mindset. because there’s no point in being miserable.
- and last, but not least, i’m grateful for having another amazing year to look forward to!
pumping the brakes + disconnecting
today i want to talk about something that seems to be one of those things that we’re constantly reading and talking about, but not necessarily following through on. we see it everywhere… the idea of pumping the brakes, slowing down, and really enjoying life and living in the moment… but how often are we doing this?
it seems like we are constantly in a rush… a rush to get to the next task, the next event, the next day of the week, the next promotion, the next relationship, the next vacation… and we distract ourselves in those “in between” moments, often with things that don’t bring any real value to our lives, such as social media or television. and we’re doing this so much that we’re often missing some pretty important stuff along the way. [and listen, i enjoy social media and a good binge watch on netflix as much as the next person, but hear me out.]
a few weeks ago, i spent the weekend camping in joshua tree national park [i plan on blogging about this trip and my new obsession with camping soon, so stay tuned]. it was a group trip for a friend’s birthday, and i was going into it only knowing a few of the people who were going to be there. committing to a camping trip in a place you’ve never been with a bunch of people you don’t really know can be a little intimidating… factor in that you’re pretty far away from home and there is no cell phone service [aka no escape from moments where you maybe feel awkward or left out]… and yea, you could definitely say that i wasn’t sure how it would all pan out.
for those of you who aren’t familiar with joshua tree, it’s one of the national parks out here in socal, about 150 miles east of l.a. in the middle of the desert. the little towns that surround the park are exactly how you would imagine desert town to be, and within minutes of driving into the park, you find yourself in a dead zone.
the idea of being in a dead zone, without wifi or at least cell phone service for even a couple minutes freaks people out [remember those verizon commercials from years ago?]… let alone a whole weekend? forget it.
so, in the spirit of making a long story short: i went to joshua tree, disconnected from my day to day life for two days with a group of people i barely knew… and had one of the best weekends i’ve had in a while. i mean, look at this place!
we’re living in a world where being connected constantly is the expectation. cell phone service is one thing, but even having a wifi connection at places like the grocery store, bars and restaurants, or in a public park has become commonplace. and we all know that we’re spending wayyyyyyy too much time with our phones in our hands, mindlessly scrolling our social media feeds, and checking to see who has/hasn’t texted us… i mean, for crying out loud, we don’t even use our phones to actually talk to people anymore.
being in the middle of the desert without any kind of connection to the outside world was so refreshing. every single person on the trip was completely unreachable, which allowed us to interact and connect with one another the way human beings were meant to: with face to face conversation that isn’t being constantly interrupted by buzzing phones letting you know that someone, somewhere has sent you a message that is so trivial it can be said via text message instead of an actual phone call.
it was nice to look at my phone, see that there was less than 10% battery left and not have an anxiety attack about needing to charge it.
on top of all of this, i also noticed that i was rarely checking the time throughout the weekend. when you spend your days in front of a computer/phone screen, checking the time constantly becomes a habit. so, when you know that it’s impossible to have received a text or a facebook notification, you check your phone much less [if at all] and suddenly, time doesn’t matter anymore. you’re living in the moment, not fast-forwarding through it. you’re moving with the universe and the people you’re with in realtime… at a pace much slower than what you’re used to… and wow, does it feel good.
at the end of the weekend, i felt so rejuvenated and relaxed [even after a saturday night spent drinking pretty heavily… i mean, after all, there are some things i’m just not willing to get away from!] that the idea of heading back to the real world and getting reconnected actually made me a little sad, and i felt as if i was leaving a piece of myself behind in the desert [okay, yea, i know that’s cheesy a.f. but whatever, it’s true].
so, do you see the point i’m trying to make? whether you’re spending your weekends in dead zones, switching your phone to airplane mode for a few hours each day, or establishing a “no phones at dinner” rule [except to take food pictures, obviously], disconnecting from technology and slowing down is not only a good idea, it’s so important.
important for our relationships [all of them, with others and ourselves]… important for our sanity… and important for our self-worth and personal growth.
when we’re disconnected, we have no choice but to focus on what’s right in front of us… getting to know the people we’re with, acknowledging our insecurities, confronting personal problems we might be facing, whatever. we automatically slow down and take things moment by moment for what they are, and we don’t distract ourselves from what’s most important with things that are so trivial, yet have somehow managed to become a priority over everything else.
we also can’t engage in activities that make us feel sh*tty, such as comparing ourselves to the people on our instagram feeds who seem to have it all together [remember, it’s all a matter of perspective]. it’s pretty effing liberating.
so, i challenge you to come up with a way you can disconnected this week. for a society that lives and breathes in the digital space, disconnecting sounds terrifying… but in all honesty, you might be surprised by how much you enjoy going off the grid. even if it’s only for one hour, it’s something, and something is better than nothing. start small and see where it takes you. it’s always has been [and always will be] about those baby steps!
need a starting place? i wrote this post a looooongggg time ago about ditching your digital addiction… i’m still working on applying these tricks and staying consistent with them each day. it’s alway easier said than done, but getting started is the first step.
and personally, i’m committing to this 7-day smartphone detox, starting today. i want to make sure that i don’t lose sight of that feeling i had in joshua tree when i was completely disconnected, forced to the pump the breaks, and really just soak up the present moment.
3 reasons to implement a morning routine
i’m sure you’ve heard how important routines are to our health, and if you haven’t, let’s talk for a minute.
why do you think parents are so crazy about making sure their babies and kids are on some kind of a routine? because it’s good for them. both mentally and physically. when our minds and bodies know what to expect and when to expect it, they function more optimally. i’ve recently started to build up a morning routine, and while it’s not quite where i want it to be yet, it’s slowly becoming a habit and that’s all that matters … baby steps.
tomorrow is the beginning of october, and fall is a great time to get into new routines, especially when that colder weather starts changing our habits! here are 3 reasons you should start implementing a morning routine a$ap, and 3 ideas to get you started:
1. easing into the day sets a positive tone for the rest of it. we all know that feeling … our alarm goes off and wakes us up from a deep sleep and we hit snooze. and the alarm goes off again … and we hit snooze again. and again … and again. we wake up at the last possible minute, take a hurried shower, get dressed, throw our sh*t in a bag, inhale our breakfast and run out the door. sound familiar? starting our day off in a rush is going to set a pretty negative tone for the rest of it.
personally, i like to set my alarm for about 15 minutes earlier than i need to be up, and allow myself at least an hour to get ready so i don’t feel rushed. of course, this doesn’t always happen, but on the days it does, i feel so much better when i head out the door. what do i do with that extra 15 minutes?
tip #1: meditate! starting your day off with a quick 10-15 minute meditation can do wonders. it’s as easy as turning off your alarm, sitting on the edge of your bed, turning on some meditation music [i love krishna das] and zoning out and being completely still for a few minutes. studies have shown that meditation has a huge positive impact on how the brain fuctions, so it’s a great way to get you into the right headspace before beginning your day. if the idea of meditating freaks you out, this guided meditation from one of the sweetest souls i’ve ever met, cassandra bodzak, is perfect for getting started … and for a little extra motivation for going after your goals!
2. looking at your phone first thing in the morning is bad for your brain. it’s probably not new information that the light given off by our device screens seriously effs with our eyes and our brains. waking up and immediately trolling our instagram or facebook feeds isn’t going to help us ease into our day and will really confuse our brains that are trying to adjust to being awake again. when you don’t have a routine in place, it’s so easy to grab your phone, turn off the alarm and go straight to email, texts, twitter or whatever it is you’re into these days, so …
tip #2: buy an alarm clock … like, a real alarm clock. invest in a real alarm clock and put your phone facedown on your nightstand when you go to sleep the night before so you aren’t as tempted to wake up and check it immediately. i promise you, whatever it is, it can wait. try to go phone free for at least 30 minutes after waking up. this cloud alarm clock is fun, simple and gets the job done.
3. when we wake our bodies up in the right way, all of our systems start to regulate. sleep is something that our bodies need in order to function. sleep has a huge impact on all of our systems … digestive, lymphatic, circulatory … literally everything our bodies does requires sleep to do it right, but giving them a little jumpstart won’t hurt! how can we do this?
tip #3: wake up your system with skin brushing or give your metabolism a head start with hot lemon water! dry skin brushing [read all about it here] is a great way to wake up the lymphatic system first thing in the morning [i typically do this right before hopping in the shower as it’s also a way to exfoliate] and drinking a mug of hot water with the juice from half of a lemon [and maybe a sprinkle of cayenne pepper, turmeric and a splash of apple cider vinegar] before eating breakfast will give your metabolism a little boost after it’s been at rest overnight [the recipe for my daily detox drink is here].
getting started with something like this can be daunting, especially when we feel like we’re losing sleep. i highly recommend starting slow … that’s what i’ve been doing over the past few weeks and it’s working wonders!
go out and buy an alarm clock and start waking up just 5 minutes earlier than usual for the next week to meditate. for the week after, try 10 minutes, the following week, 15 and so on. once that’s feeling good, add skin brushing or hot lemon water … and keep building it up! the change doesn’t have to happen overnight [see what i did there?!] … as always, baby steps build habits, extremes don’t.
do you have any ideas for creating a morning routine that i didn’t mention here? share in the comments below!
photo courtesy of the design chaser
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