I have heard the question before- "Are you a morning person?"
I always want to answer with a resounding, "Yes, I am!"
There is something so beautifully elegant about being a person who wakes up to watch the sunrise; the kind of person who has reflected, completed half their to-do list, and had a nice chat on the phone before the rest of the world has opened their eyes. I want to be the person who gets to savor each and every morsel of the day I have been given. I want to soak up the sunrise and watch the sunset on my days. I want to be one of those "morning people." Perhaps you agree with me.
The reality is I have worked as a barista on-and-off for a good third of my life. I love the idea of being the first one at the cafe; listening to the sounds, inhaling the aroma, and savoring the first sips of that first morning cup of Joe; and connecting with the individual's who, like me, want to savor every moment of their day. Obviously, being the morning barista, I know what it means to wake up at 5 A.M. I also know what it feels like to wake up at 5 A.M. You would think it would be as I described above- beautiful, elegant, reflective...
For me, it's painfully difficult, unnatural, and sadly, not me. I have learned over the years I am a 8-9 hours of sleep per night little lady. I am also someone who likes to go to bed around 10pm-ish. Any earlier and I feel "rushed" to bed rather than "settling into" bed. This means 6-7 A.M. is my ideal time to open my eyes and begin my day. This also means I will miss most of the sunrise, and start my reflection, to-do list, and conversations along with the majority of the world.
So where does this leave me when I answer the question- "Are your a morning person?"
I now embrace my routine and the endless simple joys I am finding in my mornings. I have made a few small changes in order for my morning to feel like that of a "morning person", and I can honestly say I treat my 6:30 A.M. wake up time like that of a 5 A.M. one.
Here are a few things I am embracing in my mornings (Maybe you will enjoy some of them too.):
+ Opening the blinds before bed, so I can feel the warmth of sun on my face as it rises.
+ Having an 8oz glass of water on my nightstand to enjoy before I even get out of bed.
+ Having my coffeepot automatically set (a faux pas in the barista world), or having the espresso machine ready- making my morning cup of Joe effortless.
+ Taking the extra time to pamper my face and enjoy the simple acts of a self-care routine. (Love the scent of lemon or grapefruit first thing in the morning.)
+ Connecting with my husband while making breakfast or simply enjoying our morning cup of coffee together before we dive into work.
+ Spending a few minutes in prayer or reading scripture.
+ Choosing/or not choosing to dive into a 15-minute yoga practice. (I get to choose and I enjoy the spontaneity of the morning practice.)
My answer: Yes, I am a morning person.
I am a morning person who wakes up rested and excited for the day. I move slowly when I wake up and savor the precious moments found somewhere between sunrise and 9-5. I love my mornings for what they are, and I wouldn't have it any other way.
Are you a morning person?
Last week I hosted the first official BP Spring Cleaning Lifestyle Challenge! It was an opportunity for women to come together via social media and support each other in making small lifestyle changes whether they were near or far. I absolutely LOVE that we have the ability to connect on a global level don't you?
The women who participated had so many creative swaps from artificial light vs. natural light, toxic care products vs. natural, and artificially sweetened ice cream vs. homemade cashew dessert! I was so impressed with the women who chose to show up and participate! (Hats off to you!)
Today, I want to share the three basic concepts I look at when it comes to spring cleaning my lifestyle... just in case you could use a little spring cleaning too!
1. Declutter/Detox- What is one aspect of my life I would like to declutter or detox? When I think about decluttering the lifestyle, I pinpoint what keeps me from growing or simply being content. Just like environmental and food toxins dive into our cells in our physical body; toxic relationships, environments, or time commitments integrate into our lifestyles and start breaking down our potential to be content.
Here are a few areas to look at when detoxing your lifestyle:
+ Toxic Friendship/Relationship- Is someone constantly being negative, dramatic, rude, or inconsiderate? Perhaps you have a person in your life who simply doesn't contribute positively to the relationship.
+ Items that No Longer Serve a Purpose or Foster Joy- Are there items in your space simply accumulating dust, adding to your visual and mental clutter, and no longer contributing to the lifestyle you want to live?
+ Tasks and Commitments Weighing Down the Schedule- Do you have tasks on your plate that you are holding on to simply because you committed to them two years ago? What activities are you doing simply to please others at the sacrifice of your own peace of mind?
+ Environmental Chemicals and Food Toxic to Your Body- Are you putting anything in or on your body that is doing more harm than good?
+ Negative Thoughts
2. Organize/Restructure- Are there places in my lifestyle that if I simply restructure the tasks/items or organize them a bit, they will cohesively build off of each other rather than fight against one another?
Here are a few examples of organizing areas of your lifestyle:
+ Making Your One-Hour Weekly Work Meeting a Two-Hour Monthly Meeting- You will use the meeting time for efficiently if you know you are only meeting once a month versus weekly.
+ Establish Carpool For Your Kids- You share the responsibility of getting them to school with other parents which opens up a couple hours for you each day.
+ Moving Items Around In a Space- The space better serves its purpose for you.
+ Bringing Like Friends Together- You can all meet together rather than always scheduling separate commitments for each. (Of course, 1:1 dates are still lovely sometimes too.)
+ Creating a Plan For Meals- Using how busy your schedule is for the week and selecting wholesome foodie options that will help fuel your busier days.
+ Plan Complimenting Plans with Your Spouse to See Friends- You have more time together alone.
3. Flourish/Nurture- What areas of my lifestyle do I truly enjoy and how can I continue to grow/highlight these areas? Which aspects of my life make me feel whole, make my heart flutter, and cultivate joy?
Here are a few examples of nurturing areas of your lifestyle:
+ Faith- Do you place your foundation on faith in God? Do you show up to meet with Him daily? How can you make Him more of a priority in your life? How can you cultivate a deeper relationship with Him?
+ A Person- Is there someone who truly and completely accepts and loves you? Do they help your grow in a positive direction? How can you spend more time with them? How can you show them you appreciate them and how they make you feel?
+ A Hobby- Is there something you enjoy doing so much you lose track of time when you do it? Perhaps make time in your schedule to do this activity daily.
+ Traditions- Are there certain traditions that foster the woman you aspire to be? Perhaps it is getting a fresh bouquet of flowers for your space, shopping the local farmer's market, or cooking a family recipe.
+ Quiet Reflection or Creativity- Do you find clarity when you take time to reflect? How can you create more time and space for such things?
+ Whatever fosters feminine lightness... focus on and cultivate such things.
Spring is the perfect time to embrace a little detoxing, organizing, and flourishing. Just as a space loves to be spruced up, a lifestyle does too. How will you spring clean your lifestyle this season? I would love to hear your plans! Please comment below or send me a message!
Happy spring cleaning my friends!
Your Lifestyle Consultant
You wake up, scurry around the house to get the kids ready, make yourself presentable for the day, and shove random food into bags for everyone’s lunches. You kiss the hubby goodbye, rush out the door with the kids in tow, drop off, and head into work. You work, and work, and work long into the night and make it home just in time to tuck the kids into bed, and snuggle under the covers to rest a few hours before doing it all again. Your stomach is about to eat itself from starvation, your body is aching because you have not had time in weeks to make it to your workout class, and your friends think you fell off the face of the earth.
In the back of your mind, you know what is important to you, and your friends and family know too… Don’t they? You just have a lot on your plate at work lately, well okay, for the last two years. There is light at the end of the tunnel, but everyone understands it is just the way the world of work is.
Cue harsh reality.
Yes, sometimes certain situations are unavoidable. We have to embrace them, commit, and power through; but these should be the exception to the rule lovely lady, not the norm.
However you choose to spend your time and whatever you fill your schedule with also becomes the characters in your life story and what you want people to see as your narrative. What if I were to tell you the story of “Romeo and Juliet” was actually about Juliet’s desire to run a seamstress company? You would laugh right? Why did the playwrights not include that in the story if that is really what it is about?
The same goes for your life narrative. Whatever you allow to consume your time is EXACTLY what your life is filled with. You are making those things more important than others. What story are you communicating?
If you feel like you are sharing a narrative that does not match who you are and what you hold to be important, here are a few ways to get started in changing the story:
Physically Write Down What is Important to You
Pick your top three things that are absolutely, without a doubt, most important to you. Remember you cannot give 100% of your energy to 100% of the people 100% of the time. By selecting your top three ways you would like to show up for your priorities, you are able to physically see what should be taking up most of your time.
Declutter the Schedule
Print off a blank weekly schedule, and write in how you want to show up for your top three things. For example, if family is something you consider to be important, put them in your schedule as you would like to show up for them. This might include carving out time for breakfast, being home for dinner, or creating family time during the weekends. Write out how you want to show up.
Continue this process with all of the pieces of your life you hold to be truly important, and then look at how your current narrative lines up with the schedule you created. What needs to give? What are some active steps you can take to remove the other “fluff” from your schedule? Be honest and intentional when decluttering.
Commit to Your Narrative
Once you have a schedule that is more in line with who you are and what is important to you, resist the urge to take on that extra project at work, schedule in too many extracurricular activities, or being the “yes girl” that EVERYONE can count on.
Whenever you choose to adjust your schedule, remember that when you commit to something, you are saying “no” to something else. What do you want to communicate to the world? What is important to you? And is what is most important truly being reflected in your life?
If you would like to change the narrative you are communicating with your schedule and want guidance along the way, I would love to help you navigate the process of adjusting your schedule. Simply contact me to get started!
For the sake of all that this blog post represents... I am going to try to keep this "little novel" short and sweet.
Margin of white- What is it? Do I want it? Why is this important?
Margin of White
The space in your calendar where you have scheduled flexible, undefined time. Yes, I realize this may sound contradictory, but it isn't I PROMISE! It can be a couple hours a few times a week, and entire day, or a set hour at the start/end of the day; whatever fills your cup! The point is... keep that space white... mark off the time and leave that sweet precious gem clutter-free.
I Hope You Want It
Most people roughly fall into two categories- the "planner" and the "go-with-the-flow-er". The planner schedules her days, follows them to a "T", and wakes up to do it again the next day. She is scheduled, precise, and determined. The go-with-the-flow-er lets the day carry her where it may, enjoys the journey of the day, sees how much she can fit in as it comes, and rarely commits to anything ahead of time. She is fluid, flexible, and fun. However, when balance is not found, people often cannot grow to their fullest potential. The planner may find herself controlled by her commitments, tired, and too serious. She is not able to stop and smell the roses, because then, she will surely be late. The go-with-the-flow-er may find she is at the mercy of everyone else and their needs, late for the commitments she does make because she tried to squeeze one more thing in last minute, and going somewhere in life, but with no set direction.
The Importance of the Margin of White
When you create the margin of white in your calendar, you are striking a balance with yourself. Whether you tend to be scheduled and you are opening a space for a bit of freedom, or you have no structure and you are scheduling in growth, the margin of white allows you to find balance and carve out a time for true personal growth and whatever that looks like for you. You are allowing yourself a moment to embrace whatever is going to make you feel the best, to reconnect, and dive into something meaningful knowing you have the time and the space to do so.
My charge to you this week....
Carve out your margin of white, and then let me know what you did with it! Happy Monday lovely lady!
Wake up groggy, stare at the countless texts, emails, and comments I "have" to respond to... but don't... get ready for my job that begins at 6am in less than 30 minutes, hustle out the door only to show up to a workplace which is unprepared for the day ahead, think about all of the unanswered forms of communication and the projects that pull at my mind while working, get bombarded by "small talk" texts from people I just connected with in person, respond to all the people I can over a 30-minute lunch break that is usually interrupted, leave work, dive into my purpose-driven work with an immense amount of brain fog and mental exhaustion, hubby and I make dinner (may be the first time we are eating), contemplate the invites to events that I don't have time for, stress about the time crunch in the day ahead, say "no" to all of the important relationships with friends, go to bed still thinking, and begin again...
Does this sound familiar? Can you relate? When, and if, you find yourself in this position, it is time to make a dramatic shift in your schedule, prioritize your time, and make room for the things that really, really matter to that sweet heart of yours!
Here are 3 things to consider when shifting your schedule:
Meaningful Work- What is it that makes your heart sing and fills you with a sense of purpose? Whatever it is, your days should be filled with it. Remove the clutter so you can begin actually using your talents and give to the world the special gift you have to offer it!
My Life- I left my part-time job in order to open up a full week's schedule for my purpose-driven work as a lifestyle consultant, content writer, and home decor creator. It was scary, but so necessary!
Meaningful Relationships- Reality. You can only have a handful of really solid relationships. When looking at your relationships, consider who you can trust, who brings you joy, who understands you completely, and who truly fosters your growth. Think of your spouse, family, and dearest friends. Also think about people you would like to form stronger relationships with. Then, (and get ready for the harsh reality), say "no" to the individuals who don't have the best intentions or do not align with what is important to you in your relationships.
My life- I only say "yes' to those relationships that really allow me to be me, those people who love me unconditionally, and foster my growth as a person. I carve out pockets of time for those relationships, as well as relationships I want to foster. It may seem harsh, but the older we get, the more important those valuable relationships, and carving out the time for them, becomes.
Meaningful Experience- Look at how you spend your time in the morning, evenings, and weekends. Fill those moments with a balance of routine and spontaneity, but only do the activities that fuel your soul and restore you.
My life- I now start my mornings slowly and end my days the same. These are times where there are no electronics, I spend quality time with my husband, and the "work-brain" is turned off. As an introvert, this is sooo important, because I need this time in order to show up fully for the day.
Once you know what you find to be meaningful, shift your schedule so these things are at the forefront of your life. Not-so-fun-stuff will come up, but always consider whether you actually have to react and take on that "stuff" or not... usually we just think we have to.
Shifting your schedule isn't always easy, but it is truly necessary! (Seriously, it is.) If you need a shift in your schedule, but need a little more guidance and direction to do so, you know where to find me lovely lady!
Here is to creating a life that truly reflects YOU!
Life. Is. Messy.
You know it. I know it. Everyone knows it. And because it is so messy, we often create for ourselves nice little tidy boxes in order to help define who we are, what we do, and how we interact with the community we live in. We desperately seek to shove "good stuff" into all the crevices and remove all of the negative, the undefined, and the uncomfortable. We want to be able to package ourselves up and deliver what we offer this big ol' world of ours without any muss, and certainly, without any fuss.
But what may we be depriving ourselves of in this process?
What would it look like for you to live for a moment in time in an undefined mental and physical space? Put more specifically, what would it mean to you to make a bold decision because you KNOW it is better for your deeper sense of self and how you choose to live, without having a SPECIFIC plan in mind for your future?
Would it make you uncomfortable? Do you get itchy just thinking about it? If this is too scary, think about this- what would it mean to you to spend an entire day with NO PLANS, NO SELFIES, NO POSTS ON SOCIAL MEDIA?! How would you possibly define yourself to the world without documenting who you are as a hiker, a foodie, a human being?.... It is in moments like this that you are choosing to live "Undefined". Your titles, your social media, your career, your family and friends are not there to determine if your package (YOU) is "defined" enough, and instead you are living defined by your internal sense of self and the importance you give to the moment. Do you get where I am going with this?
We spend so, so, so much of our time making sure our lives are defined so that we may be understood by the outside world, but in doing so, we neglect taking the time to filter through WHO WE ARE in the UNDEFINED. In order to live fully in ourselves, we must know who we are in all of the space that is messy and undefined. We must seek to understand our values and our priorities with 100% clarity, so we can get comfortable in the undefined, because that is when we KNOW with certainty that we are truly ourselves regardless of situation and of circumstance.
This week, try not to define, try not to wrap yourself and your life up in a nice little package tied with a bow, and try not to get too definitive in every aspect of your life. Instead, embrace the undefined, hone in on what truly matters, and share yourself just as you are and who you have the potential to grow into.
The undefined may be your space for growth.
Celebrate + Savor Life
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