Category Archives: Adulting

Treat Yo’Self! Build and Perfect a Pampering Winter Routine

Winter is in the air and this is my favorite time of year. I drive David, my husband, crazy with music, decorating, and traditions. If you’ve always dreamed of building routines, but were never sure how to start, check out my video on How to Build Routines.

Routine Can Put Your Health Habits on Autopilot

This year, Christmas is also all about getting ready for the New Year. I lost 50 lbs in 2017. I am hoping to lose another 50 lbs in 2018. As a way to celebrate, and to slowly get myself back into the swing of things, I’ve decided to go out of my way and build pampering details into my daily routines. Here is how I treat myself, how will you treat yo’ self?!

I am going to buckle back down on this weight-loss journey, but I want to give myself a luxurious threshold. And, since I love Christmas time (like, really, love it. I listen to Christmas music in the shower, I listen to instrumental Christmas music at work, I decorate to Christmas music, cook to Christmas music. Hello, my name is Jenna and I’m addicted – to Christmas. So, for my favorite time of the year, I decided to put together a truly lush morning routine.

Usually, my winter break is a whirlwind of projects. Last year I organized my entire kitchen, pantry, and linen closet. This time around, I wanted to build in some me time. I did a little research, and have perfected integrating little things into your daily schedule to make you feel pampered every day!

1. Buy your favorite holiday-flavored tea

wintermorningroutine

For me, that’s sugar cookie and peppermint. I didn’t invest a ton of time finding gingerbread flavored, but that would be a welcome addition to my Christmas Tea collection.

BONUS: Decaffeinated tea ounces count toward your hydration goals! Delicious AND helps me slay my hydration goals? Um. Yes, please!

2. Set up a drink station

wintermorningroutine

We have tea, decaf coffee, dairy-free powdered creamer, sugar-free hot chocolate with sweetener all set up in my little office. As well as my daily steady, I teach kids English in the wee hours of the morning with VIPKid. (In Fact, I should go to bed right now, but I’m going to finish up this post first. And not read. I won’t read. I won’t read. I won’t read. [Next day update: I didn’t read!! Go me!!] Anyway, we also have creamers in the mini fridge we keep in the man-cave. (Laziness level SAVAGE!)

3. Lotion up the lux way

wintermorningroutine

If you’ve looked at my stuff before, you might notice that I mention Brittany Vasseur…a lot. This little hack actually came from her pregnancy morning routine video. (Here is the link) I got a $5 candle/mug warmer at Walmart and a little ceramic cup from the dollar store. Before I hop in the shower, I pump some lotion and oil into the little cup and let it warm on the warmer. Warm lotion on your skin during the colder months is, literally, a frickin’ win.

4. Feed your beast

wintermorningroutine

This year I began a brand new tradition; I’m going to start reading the Harry Potter Series starting December 1st each year. I don’t know why, but Harry Potter just screams Christmas to me. (I’m Ravenclaw, BTW.) Listening to one of my favorite stories, revisiting some of my favorite characters, puts me in the best mood. Your beast might be drama-filled housewives shows, or gardening, or – well, literally anything.

 

 

 

Honorable Mentions:

The routines I built are the reason that I’ve been able to lose 50 lbs, start a side-hustle that makes me about $300/month, and projects to pour my passion into. Here are my favorite aspects of my morning routine.

For my full morning routine, click here to see the video

  • Gratitude journal – starting your day off with gratitude sets your brain up to look for reasons to be grateful all day, which research shows can improve your mood.
  • Bullet Journal routine – I’m a BuJo newbie and hack. I love the idea of it, but I have zero follow throw. My 2018 goal is to get better at this business.
  • Exercise – I work out at 5 am every weekday. I think I am going to incorporate 20-minute leisure walks on the weekend because when I am physically active at the beginning of a day, I tend to be more physically active for the rest of the day and I tend to lose less (not all) hours to binging on Netflix or Youtubery.
  • Meditate – Headspace has been amazing for me and I can’t recommend it enough.

Reach Out

How do you pamper yourself on cold winter mornings when there is slaying to be done and your bed’s gravitational pull seems insurmountable? Comment below, or find me on the soshymeeds.

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3 Easy and Quick Ways to Save Your Willpower for BIG Things

Your willpower is like a gas tank

When you wake up in the morning, your willpower tank is full. It replenishes with sleep. Once I understood this little fact, inspiration struck.

1. Plan your outfits for the week

$5 and 15 minutes on Sunday saves me from decision fatigue. Instead of spending an ounce of willpower, I have five dollar store baskets in my closet. I put my clothes for that day along with any underthingies and jewelry.

Some people like to hang their clothes together, but I like the separation of my weekly outfits from my wardrobe. It makes it easy for me to see what I am wearing on a weekly basis so that when it is time to declutter, it’s easy to think about what clothes sparks joy, and which are just taking up space.

Decisions saved: at least 5
– which underthings to wear
– outfit to wear?
–  jewelry to wear? necklace? long? short?
–  shoes to wear? flats? heels? sandals?
–  socks to wear? color? style?

2. Pack your meals for the week

My favorite thing about Harry Potter is Mrs. Weasley and the homemaking magic that allows her to knit sweaters, clean dishes, and create meals. I wish life was like that. I wish I could wave my wand and have all the adulting things done. Spend an hour or two on the weekends and prepare your lunch for the week. You can find a ton of quick and easy ideas on my this Pinterest board.

My favorite lunches

Although, my favorite lunches are the easiest things. I love easy, but I need healthy and cheap.

  • Chili (any variety of beans, diced tomatoes, cumin seasoning)
    Open, drain, rinse the can of black beans, kidney beans, garbanzo beans, and fire-roasted tomatoes and dump them all in the instapot with a good amount of cumin, salt, and pepper.
  • Cucumber, Avocado, Tajin seasoning
    I slice a cucumber, slice up half an avocado, and throw them in a bowl. Sometimes I’ll add raw onions, tomatoes, cilantro, jicama or whatever tickles my fancy.
    Decisions Saved: at least 4

    – pack a lunch or buy a lunch today?
    – what to make for lunch
    – what to pack with your main lunch
    – which containers/Tupperware/bags to use

3.  Rotate your menus/meal delivery service

Before we got a meal delivery service, I built 4 months of meals that I rotated. You can even organize your list using my digital bullet journal meal plan template. Planning eventually took no time because I recycled the same four months. I could plan, shop, prep, and organize within two-three hours. That was two-three hours of running my gas tank.

Click on the image above to visit the template

We get 3 dinners for $60 a week. Even with groceries for lunches and the basics, I still spend about $100 on groceries. However, I have zero food waste at the end of the week, I have cut my grocery shopping time down from an hour to 15 minutes. I have cut my meal-prep time to nothing. The best part? I make all of my meal-plan related decisions on the weekend with a glass of wine during Friday-night movie time.

Click to visit my YouTube review

Decisions saved: at least 3
– what to make for dinner (every night)
– which recipes to try
– which ingredients to buy

What will you do with your 12 decisions a day?

Twelve small decisions translate into three or four big decisions. It’s like saving the gas from several small trips for a big trip. If you recovered 12 decisions worth of willpower “gas,” what would you spend it on?

– working out?
– daily cleaning routines?
– meditation?
– Yoga?
– pursuing a passion?
– create something?
– write a novel?
– build healthy habits?
– crafting/DIY projects?

“You are one decision away from a completely different life” #5SecondRule | @MelRobbins
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Digital Bullet Journal FREE Template

My Digital Bullet Journal

Head on over to bulletjournal.com if you haven’t heard of bullet journaling.

It is a combination of an organization system, task list keep, calendar tracker, habit tracker, book list, any list, really – anything. I loved bullet journaling. I loved doodling, deciding color scheme, and everything else. What I didn’t love was HOW TIME-CONSUMING it was.

In my professional capacity, I work with technology to make teacher’s lives easier. I help people understand the tools that are out there that will provide them with self-grading quizzes, math practice that feels like games, and other fun and engaging ways to give students the opportunity to create content, rather than passively consuming it.

So, I figured, why not do that with my Bullet Journal?

Tracking habits became as simple as clicking a button, events and tasks became infinitely easier to manage. And, most important to me, because it was digital, I. Could. Never. Lose. It!!! (A feat for me)

My own digital bullet journal is full of recipes, lists, tasks, notes, and everything else. I created a template to share with my friends who were curious, and today, I’m sharing that template with you!


My own digital bullet journal is full of recipes, lists, tasks, notes, and everything else. I created a template to share with my friends who were curious, and today, I’m sharing that template with you!

Index

 

This is crucial. Using Google Sheets means that you have an unlimited amount of tabs at your fingertips, which is amazing, and overwhelming. Using the simple “link” feature on a cell in the index page, you can keep track of all of your pages. This is also useful when creating a new page because you can link back to the index page, making navigation SUPER simple!

Weekly Grocery List

Making your list is easy because it’s been segmented by common areas in the grocery store, saving you time and money because your location-organized grocery list will keep you on track. When you download the Google Sheets App (iOS App Download -or- Android App Download) there is an amazing button, the strike-through button. You can simply touch the screen and your item will be stricken through!

Task List

 

The beauty of the Bullet Journal system is that it has a predictable flow. You start with your future log, your monthly spreads, then your daily spreads.  This little page will help you keep track of events, projects, due dates, bills, and all other things that sneak up on us. Ever wish you could have your Christmas cards ready early? Put “write Christmas Letter” in November. “Order Christmas Cards” in October. When you’re looking at your Weekly Spread and Daily Logs, you can revisit this page easily to populate it with events and tasks.

Weekly Spread and Daily Log

 

This is what I touch and look at daily. The three columns help me organize my tasks, which is a blessing! I have a lot on my plate, just like I bet you do. I keep track of tasks, link relevant emails, and plan my blog, videos, and other social media events. If I accomplish a task, I use the strikeout key.

 

If I don’t accomplish a task, I just change the font color to a light gray. This helps me figure out if I’m giving myself too much to do in a day, (if the tasks are grayed out,) or if I am not giving myself enough to do (all items use the strikethrough font.)

Habit Tracker

Part of the magic of the Bullet Journal is that you can keep track of the healthy habits you’re trying to build. This page helps you do that. You select a series of habits that you would like to keep track of. Type in the days of the week across the top row.

I like to use M for Monday, T for Tuesday, W for Wednesday, R for Thursday, F for Friday, S for Saturday, and N for Sunday.

Then input the dates and use the lightest color to set your goals and darker colors to show which days you accomplished those goals.

Cleaning Zones

 

Because we only have one spin on this planet, I don’t want to spend a ton of time cleaning. However, cleaning my house has given me the mental and emotional energy to make the best and healthiest choices.

Daily zones are things that I accomplish on a daily basis. The Weekly DC (Deep Cleaning) zones are restricted to a single room and each daily task should take no more than 20-30 minutes. I got the zone rotation idea from DoItonADime.

Mood Matrix

 

If you are a fan of the Bullet Journal system, then you are probably familiar with BohoBerry. She does a Mood Mandala Spread that tracks her daily mood throughout the month in a beautiful mandala. It’s gloriously beautiful. It was more important for me to get the data, to just track my feelings.

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Routine Can Put Your Health Habits on Autopilot

morning routine, healthy habits

I recently lost 40 pounds. People ask me how I do it, and I joke that the answer was simple for me. I did build routine after routine after routine. I cultivated several routines until all of the healthy habits I wanted to be successful at have become the background noise of my life.

Once my house was clean I suddenly had the mental energy to begin my journey of self-awareness. I began to focus on the healthy habits that I wanted to build.

After I had my list of healthy habits (fitness goals, meal planning, and cleaning routines to name a few,) I knew that I was going to have to be strategic about how I introduced these new habits into my lifestyle. I didn’t want to get overwhelmed and ditch my efforts halfway through, as was my usual pattern. Routines saved me. Afterwards, I wondered at the fact that I used the power of routine in my classroom, but had never thought to use the same power in my life.

Automate your Life

Why is it important to create a morning routine? Our willpower is a like a gas tank.When we first wake up, if we’ve had a solid amount of healthy sleep, we have a full tank. Every decision you make throughout the day depletes your tank a little bit. Routines are ways that you can automate your behavior and actions so that there is no decision to waste your willpower and you get the things that are important to you done.

 Check out my Morning Routine

 

1. When

The first thing you need to decide is when do you want to do your routine?  I would start with a single routine. Slow, purposeful change is a change that will fundamentally change your life. I don’t say that lightly. Routines have helped me lose 30 lbs, routines have helped me declutter my home and keep it clean, and routines have helped me automatically make healthy decisions every day.

2. What

What do you want to accomplish during your routine? It’s important to know what you want to have done at the end of your routine. Do you want to have your work bag ready by the door for grab and go? Do you want to walk a mile? This is when I think about the healthy behaviors and decisions that I want to make.

3. How?

How are you going to accomplish the tasks you want to accomplish during your routine? This is KEY. It’s easy to say that you’re going to “be more active,” or that you’re going to “work out,” but what does that look like? What will that look like every day? It’s important to figure out a realistic way to meet your goals.

4. Make Lists

Use check off lists to access the rewards center of your brain. There’s a reason that people spend money on digital goods like gems on freemium games. Setting goals and meeting goals make our brains happy. Research shows that if you write something down, your chances of completing the task drastically improve. I love lists, that’s why I adore my Digital Bullet Journal.

5. Practice

Spend time practicing the different elements of your routine, physically and mentally. Research shows that visualization has real, measurable effects on improvement. Spend time practicing the mechanics of the routine. If you want to get up and put your workout clothes on first thing in the morning, put them right next to your alarm on the other side of the room. Darken your room as much as you can. Set your cell phone for 3 minutes. Get into bed and make an authentic effort to relax. When the alarm goes off, jump directly out of bed and throw on those clothes. Try to practice a few times a day before you commit to your routine.

6. Reflect & Adapt

Routines need to be living thingsThat means that you need to constantly ask yourself what’s working and what needs to change. This is one of the most important parts of building routines. Before we can cultivate a life, we need to examine how well things work for us. Pay attention to how successful your routine is making you feel. What parts are working? If pieces of your routine stress you out, if there are pieces that you aren’t looking forward to, I would suggest that you spend some time examining why and come up with a different plan.

Check out the companion You Tube Video

 
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