My Intentions for 2017

Happy New Year!

Like many, I love the fresh start of a new year.  I’ve been doing a lot of thinking and reflecting over the last little while to try to decide what my resolutions will be this year.  I love exploring different sources for creativity and inspiration, and a theme that keeps coming up over and over again, and one I am really latching on to, is the notion of self-care.

img_1011Self-care is unique to the individual so it really means figuring out what is right for you.  Here’s what I’ve discovered so far about the components of my own self-care practice that I hope to implement this year.

PHYSICAL HEALTH

Exercise

This year, I’ve decided to cancel my gym membership and find different kinds of exercise that I truly enjoy.  Some things I plan on doing are:  walking my dog, cross-country skiing, hiking, at-home basement workouts (cardio, strength training, weights). I’ve also finally registered for my first yoga series at a local yoga studio that I can’t wait for.

Nutrition

I’ve decided to commit to cleaning up my diet for a few reasons.  One, I’ve continued to struggle with ulcerative colitis and am hoping that by making changes to my diet, it will improve my symptoms and eventually put me back into remission.  Secondly, I want to be in the best physical shape of my life and I know a huge part of that is eating properly.  I’ve decided to try something different and have recently started the 21 Day Fix in hopes that a new program will give me the motivation I’ve been lacking.  Finally, I know that eating healthy foods (and cutting back on the unhealthy ones) will give me more energy and help alleviate a lot of the fatigue I have been feeling.

Water

As part of my new nutrition program, I am trying to consume more water on a daily basis.  I find drinking out of a reusable water bottle helps me to get my daily water intake and also helps me to easily keep track of how much I’ve consumed.

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MENTAL / EMOTIONAL

Yoga

Besides its physical benefits, yoga positively benefits our minds helping us to become more mindful, release negative thoughts, and open our hearts to love, light, and peace.  Yoga helps me to feel relaxed and helps me to slow down the rush of day-to-day life.  I am really excited to get started on my yoga journey!

Journaling

The main reason I started this blog was to have an outlet for creativity.  While others may paint, dance, sing, or scrapbook, my creative outlet is writing.  I think a lot and sometimes my brain feels overloaded with too many things.  Journaling helps me to release some of the things I am thinking about which eases my mind.  Furthermore, it allows me to express myself and reach out to others in a positive way.

Slowing Down

As I get older, I find I crave a more simple and quietwe life.  The drama, chaos, and negativity that thrive in the world, make me upset and make me desire a slower, simpler pace. This year, I intend to slow down my daily activities whether it’s my morning routine, driving, reacting to the choices of others, teaching, or just day-to-day tasks.

Being Outdoors

Until recently, I never truly understood the benefits of spending time in nature.  Lately though, I’ve realized that being outside makes me feel overall more positive, calmer, happier, and more at peace.  I’ve even found a new appreciation for our Northern Ontario winters.  I’ve finally realized that fresh, outdoor air and quality Vitamin D is essential to my mental health.  This year, I intend to spend more time outdoors by doing things like: walking (with friends, my hubby and my dog), hiking, cross-country skiing, skating on outdoor rinks, camping, and exploring the woods.  When summer rolls around, I may even try canoeing or kayaking!

Home

One of the places I love being the most is at home.  Our house is small but it is cozy and it’s one place where I can (usually) fully relax.  Most of the time, this happens in my favourite arm-chair, with a cuddly blanket.  Nearby, you’ll find my water bottle, sometimes a coffee, the latest book I am reading, my Chapstick, my hand cream, my iPhone, and my iPad.  Next to me, my husband is watching TV from the couch with our fur baby curled up beside him.  Another favourite place in my home is my bedroom. I love the cozy weight of our duvet, the coolness of our pillows, the light pouring in from behind our white, gauzy curtains.  On my nighttable, I have a simple statue of Buddha that helps me to feel peaceful before bed.  I love long, slow mornings lounging in bed on the weekend with my husband and our dog, scrolling through social media, reading, or making plans for the day.

Of course, there is always room for improvement in our home.  While I have some projects I’d like to see happen this year, there are a few simple things I can do to help make my home even more cozy.  I’ve started listening to acoustic music when doing household tasks.  I love lighting candles around my home.  I love the greenery of dispersing plants throughout our house. I love having cuddly blankets and pillows.  I am also considering putting up some white twinkly lights in my bedroom to help create a cozy, romantic, warm space.

Relationships

There is nothing in life more important to me than the relationships I have.  I am very blessed to be surrounded by so many special family members and friends.  This year, I hope to cultivate those relationships even more by paying more attention to my loved ones’ needs and showing more kindness and appreciation where I can.  I hope to stay in better contact with friends that live far away and to visit my three, precious nieces more often.  There’s nothing that makes my heart feel fuller than time spent with those I love.

Parenting

Parenting is a tough job, and I would argue that step-parenting is even harder, especially to two teenagers.  That being said, this year I intend to practice more patience when it comes to parenting.  I am a highly sensitive and emotional person that tends to react too quickly to feelings of stress, frustration, hurt, or anger.  This year, I will pause and think before reacting to these kinds of situations.  I will listen, not half-heartedly, but really listen to their needs and interests when they talk so that they feel the love and attention they deserve.  In essence, I will be kinder and more loving to my children.

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SPIRITUAL

Mindfulness

This year, I hope to practice being more mindful and fully present in the moments of my life.  By slowing down my day-to-day routines, I hope to notice the small things that make life so pleasurable (example: the beauty of the snow-covered evergreens that line my route to work).  Practicing mindfulness will also fill my heart with gratitude, faith, and love.

Yoga / Meditation

I am excited to learn more about yoga and meditation this year and hope to discover more about myself through the practice of both.  I plan to explore some guided meditations and perhaps even create a yoga space in my basement surrounded by things that inspire and motivate me.

Light

For me, light is both figurative and literal.  Especially in the long, dark days of winter, spending as much time in daylight is crucial.  It’s one of the reasons I always open the blinds in my home and in my classroom, and switched all my indoor supervision duties for outdoor ones.  But light can also be figurative. For me the notion of bringing light into my life means to bring positivity and happiness ~ something I definitely intend to do this year!

Morning Intentions

At school each morning, our principal asks us to take a moment of silence to reflect on our day.  Each day, I use that time to set some intentions for myself, for my students and co-workers, and for my loved ones.  Recently, I have starting sharing my morning intentions via Facebook as a means of sending hope and light into the world. Also, by writing down my intentions, it allows me to reflect on them and express them more clearly.

Gratitude

Similar to my morning intentions, I sometimes share daily expressions of gratitude on my Facebook account.  Again, writing these thoughts helps me to see them and feel them more clearly.  But it’s also my intention to help others recognize the small, simple things in life that we have and to realize how very blessed we are.

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What are your goals / resolutions / intentions for the New Year?  Whatever it may be, I hope your year is filled with love, light, peace, and positivity!  💕

“Spring Cleaning” for Fall

autumn

I’m not sure if it’s the change of season, a little book I read this past summer called The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up  (check it out here), or simply my inner “to-do list”-loving self, but lately I’ve been thinking a lot about cleaning out and re-organizing my home.  Like many people, I feel like the list of things to do to properly maintain our house is never-ending. There are countless jobs that have  been waiting to be done for weeks or months but we just never seem to have the time to get to them.  My husband assures me that these jobs aren’t going anywhere and I shouldn’t stress about them (and I really am trying hard not to) but sometimes a good overhaul and a little reorganization can feel incredibly satisfying.  So over the next few weeks (or months), as the days get colder outside, here’s what I plan on doing inside, to make my home a little more tidy, clutter-free, and organized.  Check out more organization inspiration below!

Yard

  1. Empty water from hose and store for the winter.
  2. Gather yard décor items, and store in garage/shed for the winter.
  3. Rake leaves and fill Pumpkin bags 🙂
  4. Check Christmas lights and replace as needed.
  5. Store small recycling box from patio in garage for winter (don’t worry, we still recycle in the winter, we just have a bigger, more efficient can to use that doesn’t get buried in snow!)
  6. Store outdoor furniture in garage for winter
  7. Toss dead plants

Bedroom

  1. Sort through clothes in closest and drawers – discard worn-out items, prepare bag for women’s shelter, re-fold or hang other items
  2. Sort through, re-organize, dust, and tidy shelves in closet
  3. Sort through book shelf and move books onto proper shelves (I totally need more bookshelves in my house!)
  4. Sort through accessories – discard or giveaway items I don’t wear and re-organize remaining items – develop system for displaying frequently worn accessories.
  5. Nail polish collection – develop a better system for storing nail polishes (they’re over-taking the top of my dresser currently!)

Bathroom

  1. Under sink – discard old or unused items, wash cupboards, and reorganize remaining items
  2. Medicine cabinet – discard old and unused items, safely discard expired medications, reorganize remaining items, wash down shelves

Kitchen

  1. Spice cupboard – discard old and unused spices, reorganize and wash down shelves
  2. Baking cupboard – discard expired or unused items, reorganize and wash cupboard
  3. Dishes – prepare box of unused items to give away, reorganize remaining dishes and kitchen gadgets, wipe down and clean shelves
  4. Cutlery drawers – sort out, giveaway or discard unused items, wipe out drawers
  5. Create better system for storing waxed papers, tin foil, etc.
  6. Display cookbooks on counter for more regular use
  7. Remove gadgets that we don’t use often from counters and store away
  8. Clean out and re-organize the “junk” drawer
  9. Food cupboards – toss expired or old items, prepare box of items for food back, reorganize and straighten remaining items, wipe down shelves
  10. Sort through items under sink – toss old items, reorganize and clean shelves
  11. Develop a system to store cleaning products under kitchen sink
  12. Develop an efficient, organized system for mail and other documents
  13. Clean off magnetic board and store items in proper locations

Dining Room

  1. Re-organize bookshelf and move books to proper location in house -discard old papers, books we no longer need.

Entryway

  1. Re-organize items in front hallway closet for better storage
  2. Develop system to make hats, mittens, scarves, etc. easily accessible.
  3. Develop a better system for shoe storage (we have very limited space!) at the front door.

Basement

  1. Create space for working out (Treadmill, weights, yoga mat, television, water jug)
  2. Re-organize storage bins in storage space under stairs
  3. Move summer items to garage or shed for storage
  4. Bring Halloween, Christmas, and winter supplies in from garage and shed and store in basement.
  5. Re-organize DVD and bookshelf – discard or giveaway old, unused items

Laundry Room

  1. Wash inside of washing machine
  2. Discard or giveaway old, unused items on storage shelves – reorganize remaining items and wipe down shelves
  3. Develop system for random items found in laundry (sole socks, coins, toys, etc.)

Miscellaneous

  1. Complete the wedding photo book that I’ve been working on online for since our wedding two years ago!
  2. Print pictures and fill frames (that we received as wedding gifts!)
  3. Change seasonal decorations

And finally…. sit back, relax, and enjoy a highly organized, tidy house!

 

A pretty way to store accessories and jewellery.

A pretty way to store accessories and jewellery.

A pretty bathroom storage solution.

A pretty bathroom storage solution.

I might have to try this for extra shoe storage!

I might have to try this for extra shoe storage!

Drawer organization for any room in the house.

Drawer organization for any room in the house.

How to organize household documents and papers.

How to organize household documents and papers.

I like this idea of using a magazine holder to hold kitchen supplies.

I like this idea of using a magazine holder to hold kitchen supplies.

A unique way to store girly essentials.

A unique way to store girly essentials.

A lovely way to store throw blankets in the living room.

A lovely way to store throw blankets in the living room.

Because every house needs more books, including the kiddos!

Because every house needs more books, including the kiddos!

With an unlimited budget, I would go crazy in a store like this!

With an unlimited budget, I would go crazy in a store like this!