Inspiration: February 3

Inspiration: February 3 >> Life In Limbo

Anyone else feel like they’re losing their minds this week? Same. This might help. (A little.)

If you want to say thank you, don’t say sorry.

These are such great ideas for getting your mornings closer to where you want them to be.

I rediscovered the blog Smart, Pretty & Awkward this week – I used to subscribe but stopped somewhere along the way. She always has lots of great tips!

Yesterday I needed to let my brain relax a bit so I tried my hand at painting a triangle painting like the one in this post and I’m really happy with how it turned out.

I found out about AdoreMe this week – you get to take a style quiz and then look at pretty things so I’m a fan so far.

This week got away from me a little bit. When I looked up, it was Thursday night, and I’m still feeling a bit off this week like last week. Things are weird in the world right now and I’ve spent way too much time watching Youtube videos and TV and reading scary articles and getting drained by it all. One of my intentions for this year was to unplug often and I’d like to remind myself to revisit that in the days to come.

This weekend my book club is meeting, which is fun! We read The Happiness Equation this month, which had some interesting concepts that should be cool to discuss as a group. I will also be trying my damnedest to get off of Facebook, Instagram, and the internet as a whole. I hope you have a wonderful weekend too!


Inspiration: January 27

Inspiration January 27: Life In Limbo

I usually try to keep things really positive around here, but this week my brain has been unfortunately consumed by reading about the first few days of Trump’s presidency. Like millions of people, I feel baffled, panicky and upset. If you’re curious, here are just a few reasons why I feel that way.

However, Liz Gilbert made a promise today that I admire: “I promise that I will never again post any political commentary or reaction on social media unless — at the same time — I offer all of us a CONCRETE ACTION that we can take in response to that political issue. In other words, I won’t use social media as a place to “bitch and moan”. So in honour of her resolution, I’ll share her full post and list of resources with you – they inspired me, even if only slightly.

I also want to say that the friends of mine who are sharing news, images, links and resources inspire me greatly. As hard as it is to take this stuff in, it’s important we pay attention. Okay! On to the more light-hearted stuff.

I literally laughed out loud at this quiz. I have no idea how one’s food choices predict your level of introversion, but apparently they do.

I mentioned this in another post this week, but I’m taking Sarah Von Bargen’s More Money, More Happy mini course this week and it’s awesome. The Facebook group is full of awesome people, and Sarah herself is sharing a ton of awesome content all for free. Very impressive and helpful.

This might easily be my new favourite website, naturally.

I listened to all of Making Oprah (it’s only 3 episodes) this week and found it really inspiring. I used to watch Oprah every day after school for years, and this show made me want to start watching reruns again! What an amazing woman.

I’ve really been enjoying listening to episodes of the Longform Podcast – I’ll admit I’m cherrypicking the episodes with people I already really like, but so far I’ve enjoyed Heather Havrilesky, Cheryl Strayed and Anna Sale’s episodes.

On the off chance I haven’t mentioned it before, I’m a fan of The What List – it’s one of the few newsletters I subscribe to on my personal email and I always find at least one interesting thing to click on inside.

I subscribed to the Break the Twitch Youtube channel this week. I like his blog too, but I like to listen to or watch interesting things while getting ready, so I’m always looking for new well-made, thoughtful Youtube channels to follow. If you have any suggestions, let me know!

If you couldn’t tell, it’s been a bit of a weird week. Things feel strange and scary, and I haven’t been as balanced this week – lots of sitting, not a lot of walking, and a few too many canceled social plans means I’m not at my best this week. That’s okay! I’m not a robot and these things come in waves. I am looking forward to the weekend, and I hope you have a wonderful weekend too!


3 Ways I Practice Self-Care

3 Ways I Practice Self-Care >> Life In Limbo

It’s wintertime where I am: the days are mostly grey and dreary and kind of dark. It’s cold, and I spend a great many hours indoors staring at a computer screen. It’s a time of year that is not so good for the soul.

Since I moved to Toronto back in October, I’ve been thinking quite a lot about building a life and a home for myself. I’m learning how to take care of myself and trying to figure out what really makes me happy. My mom said it best (doesn’t she always?) in an offhand comment the other day: “You’re trying to be deliberate.”

Part of the puzzle is self-care, which is the piece I find the hardest. I’m a creature of habit and routine, which means I can eat more or less the same thing, go on more or less the same walks, and wear more or less the same clothes every single day. Mostly, I like being this way, because it means I get to save a lot of my mental energy for things like writing and creating and making. Sometimes though – mainly in the winter months – it can start to feel monotonous. I have a poster in my bedroom that reminds me: magic is something you make. This is extremely hard to do! For me, self-care is about making that magic – or noticing it – in my everyday life.

Here are some of the ways I’ve been exploring self-care lately:

3 Ways I Practice Self-Care >> Life In Limbo

1. i’m not a robot

I heard a line on a podcast the other day that I found enormously helpful:

Self-care is the daily practice of remembering that I’m not a robot.

It’s a long interview, so if you want to jump ahead to that part, head to 1:40 or so.

When I heard this, I instantly thought: that is me. That could not be more me. The host of the show talks about how some days she’ll feel particularly tired, and spend the whole day saying things like “Why are you so tired today?! You had plenty of sleep! Stop being tired!” Another day she might feel hungrier than usual, so she’ll get baffled and annoyed as to why that might be, and fight against it by not allowing herself what she really needs.

Well folks, the answer is that we are not robots. Our bodies and minds are mysterious, beautiful systems that fluctuate depending on the day. Some days we’re more tired. Some days we’re more focused. Some days we need a lot of breaks. Some days we need extra food, or more sunshine. Some days we need to unplug.

All of the above is totally fine and normal and human. It’s only when we expect ourselves to be well-oiled machines that we run into issues. Just having this tiny phrase to repeat to myself is helping, as is setting alarms to remind myself to eat, stand up, and take breaks. Thou art only human, honey.

2. Pay attention to what you’re paying attention to

I’m taking a money + happiness mini course this week (it’s free and awesome) and today’s talk was full of great advice. One of the things Sarah talked about was how we pick up all kinds of false beliefs about what makes us happy from TV, magazines, Instagram feeds, and the people around us. Part of the work of really living a life that makes you happy is about learning to ignore whatever is not true for you, and for most of us that means ignoring the majority of what we see and read.

Instead of recommending that we just shut it all down and never interact with another thing that is not aligned with our values (which would be impossible, stupid, and probably end up making us ironically unhappy), she recommends bracing ourselves before we engage with at media or people that we know tend to mess us up a little bit. Before we watch that video or scroll that Instagram feed or meet up with that friend who we love but whose values around certain areas of life do not match our own, her advice is to remind ourselves repeatedly: this is not true for me, or this is not even real.

I absolutely, 100% need those reminders for a lot of things that both a) make me happy or inspired and b) make me feel a little bad about my life. Your things (people, accounts, shows) are probably totally different than mine, but I’m guessing you know exactly who or what they are. Having that mindfulness about what I’m taking in and absorbing can make all the difference.

3. Be Impractical

Over the past few months, my mindset has felt, at times, relentlessly practical. I’ve tried to be efficient and streamlined, get into the zone with my work, stay productive, and get organized.

Sounds great, right? Right. But when you start to feel annoyed that you can’t keep working because you have to go to the bathroom (yet) again, or feel like you can’t do the laundry or make lunch because it will cut into work time, something is wrong. YOU are wrong. (I’m talking to myself here.)

For me, self-care is about coming back to the impractical things, and making time for all those intangible things that don’t have a “purpose” or “objective” that can be measured or calculated. Things like going to work at a beautiful café, even if it means I’m a tiny bit less focused while I’m working. Going for a really long walk in the middle of the workday, just because it’s the only sunshine we’ve seen in weeks. Doing things just for fun: reading books, knitting blankets, writing blog posts. Buying flowers for my apartment. Recently I took a bath after my shower and it was deliciously impractical – and very soothing.

Constantly reminding myself that not everything needs to have a dollar value or specific outcome attached to it helps a lot.

I am not so great at any of this stuff, so tell me: how do you practice self-care? What does taking care of yourself look like for you?

P.S. If you liked this post, you might also like: being mindful about what we consume, figuring out what matters to us, affirmations for uncertain days and today, be gentle.


Inspiration: January 20

Inspiration January 20 >> Life In Limbo

This post really cut through the noise for me this week. In a lot of ways it’s the opposite of the message we’re fed by so many bloggers and Instagrammers, but it feels like what I needed to hear. I am a firm believer in only sharing content when it feels authentic, helpful or brings joy. Plain and simple.”

I didn’t really agree with that viral video about millennials everyone was sharing recently, and this post elucidates a lot of my thinking as to why.

Guys I’m not kidding, I’ve been wishing this was a thing FOR LIKE EVER: a Google Chrome extension that shows you whether a book you’re looking at on Goodreads or Amazon has copies available at your local library. This is technology at its finest! This is the best!

A flow chart for us all: write the books you want to read. Also create the podcasts, songs, whatevers that you want to hear or experience.

A web-based app that makes your writing clearer and more professional.

Oooohhhh this is a good one: my inconvenience may be someone else’s miracle. Very “This is Water”.

I like this handy little tool for checking what WordPress theme someone is using.

The Google Calendar goals video makes me very happy.

Another week that flew by, full of inspiration. I feel more settled in Toronto with each passing week, am making new friends, and am feeling energized by the conversations I’m having and the projects I’m exploring. I’m excited that it feels like new opportunities are popping up all over the place: anything is possible! I hope you had an inspiring week too.