Repost | Beating the Winter Blues

Y’all. I think the groundhog lied. I’m starting to feel as though winter will never be over. I try not to complain too much because I know there are places much colder than Oklahoma. However, I’m over the teasing of the Oklahoma weather system. One day it’ll be 20 degrees and the next it’ll be 70. I feel like I could go crazy at any moment, haha! Not to mention, also, that my hands and feet are chronically frozen. Whatevs.

Today I’m reposting a blog post that I wrote a little over 2 years ago. It’s so easy to write content and then just forget about it. However, I thought it would be fitting to repost this one–because maybe some of these tips will be useful to you too during this frigid and glacial time. Ok, I’ll stop being dramatic now. Enjoy!

Beating the Winter Blues 
December 17, 2016

Now that daylight savings time is over, the days are much shorter and it gets dark SO much earlier. The other day it was almost pitch black at 5:00 in the afternoon and I felt exhausted because it felt like it was 10:00 at night. Does anyone else get into hibernation mode and become a complete couch-potato? Not to mention that it is also becoming colder and blankets, comfy clothes, and blasting the heat sound so much more appealing than anything else. In case this fits your description here are some things you can do to help beat the winter blues.

Stay active

The winter weather and darkness can make you feel like a completely unmotivated blob. Try to get in at last 30 minutes of exercise a day by either bundling up and going for a walk, going to the gym, or park a little further away from the front doors of places where you are Christmas shopping. I know that my mood and energy levels are significantly different when I make an effort to get moving.

Be around people

Surrounding yourself with people who care about you and vice versa can lift your spirits so much! Being with family and friends is definitely better than secluding yourself. I know that some people can only handle so much “people time” and need some time to be alone–but don’t make the being alone part a lengthy habit.

Plan things

Instead of just going home and planting yourself in front of Netflix, why not plan something fun? Some ideas are going ice skating, going out to dinner or having friends over for dinner, driving around to look at Christmas lights, go see a movie at the theatre, FaceTime or Skype someone who lives out-of-town, go see a Christmas play or show, etc.

Fun night at home

On the nights that you just need a relaxing evening at home, plan what you are going to do that evening. Find a movie that you love, pop some popcorn, make some coffee/tea/hot chocolate, put on a face mask, read a book, give yourself a manicure/pedicure, etc.

Light

Just because it is pitch black outside, it does not mean you have to be in the dark, as well. When you are home, light some candles, plug-in those Christmas lights, light a fire in the fireplace, and just make it cozy.


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Preparing to Come Home from Traveling

I get so excited when it’s time to travel and I build it up so much for myself that it can be really hard returning to reality. Haven’t we all be there though? As much as I love my travel routines and things that I do to prepare for a trip–I also have a routine for coming home. A day or two before I come home, there are some questions that I begin to ask myself to help prepare for “post trip letdown/depression” and getting back into my normal routine. There are also a few things that I like to do when re-packing and then as soon as I get home.

QUESTIONS I ASK MYSELF BEFORE RETURNING HOME

  1. What have I learned from this trip? I think it’s important to always be evaluating yourself for things that you can learn or that you have learned. I think that trips can also be more meaningful for you personally if you have this mind-set.
  2. What am I dreading the most about going home? Face your fears and stressors head on! Yes–there will be responsibilities waiting for you, yes–there will be laundry, yes– there will be work to return to, and yes to so many other things that you will have to resume. However, I think it’s important to work through these feelings and concerns so that you can prepare strategies for dealing with these issues.
  3. When can I next look forward to time off? Something I have learned about myself, over the years, is that my work and focus tend to be better when I know that I’m working towards something or some time off. I think that it’s healthy to regularly plan time off so that you don’t become overly attached to work and forget to take care of yourself. I have tried to plan time off every few months, or as the opportunity arises, and it’s a great motivator for helping me return to everyday life and stay motivated with my responsibilities.

THINGS I DO BEFORE AND WHEN I GET HOME

  1. Put dirty laundry in a drawstring bag or separate tote bag. I think that this routine helps so much when unpacking because all of my dirty clothes are in one place and I can easily start laundry when I get home.
  2. Put away suitcase as soon as possible. About a week before a trip, I’ll pull out my suitcase so that I have something to look at that lets me know time off is coming. However, I like to put my suitcase away soon after I get home so that I don’t keep looking at it and wishing I was still on vacation. I really like to do this routine, even if this means that I literally dump out my suitcase into a pile and put it away–it helps me so much.

I hope these tips have been helpful for you! Do you have any routines for coming home from traveling?

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My Travel Routine: Things I Do Before a Trip

Tomorrow is a travel day and it’s going to be an early one! I feel like breaks always seem to come when you’re starting to feel a little burned out–so I’m thankful for a little bit of time away to recharge and refocus. I thought I would share with you a few things that I like to do to prepare for travel and then what I do that morning.

Have car serviced the week before a trip

If I am driving somewhere, I will usually take my car in to get the oil changed and just have routine maintenance to make sure I don’t have any breakdowns. When I was growing up, there were a few times that my family was unlucky with cars and road trips and I think those experiences have been ingrained into my memory. However, if I am flying somewhere–I will probably just make sure that my car has been vacuumed out and that it’s clean inside.

Set 10 alarms

Ok maybe not 10 but I probably do set 5-6 alarms to help me wake up on time. I prefer to travel super early in the morning, that way you get to your destination earlier and have more time to explore. A big thank you to my dad, also, who is willing to take me to the airport when I book flights for 4am, haha! But seriously, set several alarms if you have a super early flight.

Leave a clean space

Before I leave on a trip, I have to make sure that my living space is clean, my bed is made, and that all of my laundry has been done. This helps me to feel less chaotic about leaving and it makes coming home less stressful, knowing that I don’t have to worry about a mess.

Lay out everything you need for travel day

I will leave out a pile of clothes that I’m going to wear, anything I need to use in the morning and then pack, and then unplug everything that’s been charging. I also really like to do this because I know where everything is and I’m not running around in a mad dash–especially if I oversleep through the first 4 alarms.

Get to the airport early

I’m really glad that I live close to an airport and that it doesn’t take too long to get there. I still like to get to the airport earlier than needed so that I can take my time and find where I’m supposed to be. I also like to get a cup of coffee at the airport because it’s a little ritual I have to help start vacation.

Do you have any trip or travel day rituals?

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Photo by Ross Parmly on Unsplash

 

How to Enjoy the Holidays: Savoring vs. Stressing

I can definitely tell that the holiday season is upon us. How do I know that? Because I feel like people are already going crazy. I went to run some basic errands over the weekend and happened to be in the vicinity of a shopping center–it was already packed and people were driving around like crazy people! So to that I say–“everyone can we please just calm down.” The holidays are one of my favorite times of the year and I really want to enjoy them instead of dreading them. I have some tips to share with you today about how to savor the holidays and not stress over them. These tips are just as much for me as they are for you and I hope they help in some way.

Make your plans early

Have a general idea of where you’re going to be spending the holidays and who you will be spending them with. I know this one of probably a no-brainer but I think having a plan early helps so that you’re not trying to figure it out last-minute.

Make this the year you get all your shopping done early

I think last year was the first year in a while that I had my Christmas shopping done before the week of Christmas. This year I have set a goal to have all my shopping done by December 1st–that way I can just enjoy the rest of the month and be prepared.

Watch all of the holiday movies

One tradition that I have, with my mom, is to watch all of the Christmas movies available. This means Hallmark, ABC Family, old classics, etc.–we watch them all, even if they’re dorky. I think this is a fun tradition to have and it’s something that I enjoy during the holidays.

Enjoy the company of others

I love doing festive things with people during the holiday seasons! If you do too–go ice skating, drive around and look at Christmas lights, have a “Friends-giving,” have a holiday movie night, bake together or make Christmas cookies, dress up fancy and go see the ballet, etc. There are so many things you can do this time of year to enjoy the company of others around you.

Reflect on what the holidays are all about

I think that this point gets missed a lot because of the crazy and business of the holidays. But seriously, take some time to reflect. As much as we tend to think this, the holidays are not about us. Be thankful for so many things in your life and count your blessings. Reflect on the meaning of Christmas and savor the truth of Christ’s birth. I think this tip might be the most important thing to take to heart during the holidays–I know I’m going to try to be better at it this year.

I’m really looking forward to the next few weeks and months of celebration and I hope you are too!

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Packing for a Long Weekend in One Bag

It’s September–my favorite month of the year!! Today in Oklahoma it is absolutely beautiful and that makes me so happy. I hope you are enjoying the first day of a new month and that you have a wonderful, long Labor Day weekend! A lot of people choose to travel when there are long weekends and I am no exception. I am leaving town to go see some family, who I haven’t seen in years, and I’m looking forward to spending some time with them. Also, because of the specific airline I needed to use to get to my destination, I am only allowed to take one bag, period, on my flight. When I found out that information my first thought was, “challenge accepted.” Today I am going to show you what kind of bag I am taking, how I got all the absolute necessities packed, what I am taking to wear on this trip, and what I decided to leave behind.

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I’m really excited to break in this bag and use it on this trip! I found this canvas duffel bag on Amazon and decided it was a good investment for me because of how much I travel and because some of my other luggage was work out. I like the canvas material, the black detail, and the leather straps. You can also get this bag in other colors, I’ll link it here. This bag is the perfect size for this trip because it does fit everything that I need.

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Sometimes I will use packing cubes to help compact items and I think I found these on GroopDealz a while back. For this trip, I used a small packing cube for my swimsuit, socks, compact raincoat, and a few other things.

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As far as getting everything in, I tried a few different methods to see which worked best. I folded clothes, tried another packing cube, and then found out that it was better to roll all of my shirts and lightweight items. Because my pants are thicker material, I just folded them and set them on top of the smaller packing cube.

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Because I do have limited space, I tried to make everything smaller and only take what I absolutely needed. I am taking a clutch purse that I can easily grab out of the main bag and one that holds the basics (i.e. passport, cash, mints, sunglasses, ear buds, pen, chapstick, protein bar, phone).

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Toiletries are something that I can over-pack because I’m always afraid of forgetting something. However, since I am going to see family members, I skipped all of the shower things like shampoo, conditioner, etc., because I know they will share.

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These shoes have been trusty sidekicks for months now (my Chacos have even lasted me 12 years) and they’re coming with me. These leather sandals and my Chacos are super comfortable and are versatile for wearing with different things. I am wearing a pair of sneakers to the airport and also because they are more bulky than my sandals.

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Makeup is also another thing that I can over-pack but I’m keeping it super simple this time and taking mostly travel-sized, basic products.

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Packing clothes has become so much easier than recent years for a couple of reasons. Number one is because all of my clothing is pretty much neutral and number two is because I actually really like and love wearing the clothes that I have. Aside from the clothes I’ll be wearing at the airport, I’m taking a pair of denim shorts and a pair of black linen pants–both of those can be worn with any of the tops I take. I’m taking a set of pajamas and a shorts for swimming and/or hiking. I’m taking two flannel shirts and a cardigan that can be layered and worn depending on what the weather will be like. All of the t-shirts below can also be worn with anything else that I pack. Making clothing versatile is something that helps to make the packing/traveling process so much easier, at least for me, because you really don’t have to think that much about what you’re going to wear.

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The things that I am leaving behind this trip are my Polaroid camera, extra toiletries, larger medicine bottles, and my regular laptop case. I always take my Polaroid camera with me to document trips but I decided to leave it this time for the sake of space and the fact that I will have my phone with me. The extra toiletries I just didn’t need this time and if I do–I can always go get some or ask a family member if I can use theirs. I put a few medications into a Dramamine tube, put it in the side of my purse, and it didn’t take up any room at all. I took my laptop out of its regular case and put it into a drawstring back that I can wedge in between my rolled clothes.

Ok, so that is how packing went this time! I hope that, if you are traveling this weekend, you have a wonderful time and that these tips have been helpful. What are your plans for Labor Day?

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