Well, September is almost over… And that means our focus this month has been getting back into a routine with work and school.
Oh has it…?
Has it been tricky to get back into a routine this new school year?
If it has, don’t worry – You’re not alone!
This blog post is especially for you to help you make the most of your routines!
With routines, we can build positive habits into our lives.
If you had to implement just ONE routine into your day, design yourself a morning ritual that will assure a thriving day ahead.
A solid morning routine can set the motion for your whole day.
Morning routines have shown to make us
Does your current morning do this for you?
If not, here is how to construct yourself a morning ritual that will guarantee a successful day and successful life:
#1. A Successful Day Begins With a Successful Night:
Making sure to get enough, consistent sleep, will allow for an easier wake up the next day. Sleep is crucial for our brains and bodies to get the rest they need – it improves our memory, learning, decision-making and even our creativity. Another way to enhance our mornings is to get our mindset ready the night before. We can do that with some positive affirmations like:
“Tomorrow will be a great day…”
“I will wake up with ease…”
“I will accomplish everything I need tomorrow…”
#2. Don’t Let Your Phone Be The First Thing You Grab Upon Awakening:
Many of us start our days by checking our emails or social media, but this isn’t what will set our days up for success. Often, we get stuck in “the scroll”… Wasting time scrolling through feeds… While we may see it as useful or a fun way to start the day, our subconscious is busy comparing ourselves to others… Not a way to take on the day.. We need to start off the day with something(s) that nourishes our soul and allows us time to focus on ourselves.
#3. Get a Moment Of Silence:
This silence could mean meditation (if you’re into it), or visualizing your day, or your future! You may even want to use this moment of silence to contemplate a problem that you need to solve. Meditating, Visualizing, and Contemplating help us feel more in control of our days. And our lives. And you don’t have to carve out a large chunk of time either- it could be 30 seconds, or a few minutes… You get to decide!
#4. Exercise Your Brain:
This could be done by journaling, or reading, even through art. Use your interests to decide how you want to start the morning exercising your brain. Taking the time to exercise your brain helps to improve its functioning, balances both hemispheres of the brain, and helps to keep it sharp with age!
#5. Get Your Body Moving:
Find what works for you! If you HATE running… Don’t force yourself to run in the mornings. It will end up working against you. Tailor this to your interests. It can be something as simple as stretching, or doing 10 minutes of yoga, maybe weight training or some cardio. Whatever you choose, make sure it’s something you enjoy doing. And something that’ll get you excited to get out of bed in the mornings!
“This is great and all, but what if I don’t have time?”
Then, I would ask you… are YOU not worth making the time for?
I say, YOU ARE WORTH IT!
No one said you have to carve out a whole hour in your morning to have a successful day ahead! I mean, you can eventually get there.. if you want to.
But begin with waking up just 10 minutes earlier.
Adding 10 minutes in the morning to guarantee an accomplished day…
There’s one thing in particular that has been weighing me down…
It’s that I can’t speakSpanish…
Even after 6+ years in grade school taking the language and being part of a Spanish family, I still can’t speak it fluently. Most definitely not comfortably.
Here’s the thing…
My Mom Is From Chile In South America. My Dad, On The Other Hand, Is Canadian.
We never spoke the language at home while I was growing up. Except for a few key words like “hola” and “ciao”.
While all my cousins were busy picking up the language that was being spoken around them, I couldn’t put together a single sentence. I couldn’t even have a conversation with my grandparents…
This Past Fall, My Grandfather Suffered a Stroke.
He wasn’t able to recover.
Just before Christmas, he passed away…
I thought long and hard about how my entire life I never had a full conversation with him – not unless someone translated for us.
I wish the language had stuck. I wish I could’ve had a real conversation with him.
Because He Had One Heck Of A Story To Tell…
During the 1970’s, Chile was anything but a peaceful place.
The military overthrew the Popular Unity government of President Salvador Allende. This was the start of military rule in the country.
Many Chilean citizens like my Grandfather, supported the efforts of President Salvador Allende. He brought civilian rule, stability and peace to the country.
But all of that ended in 1973 when President Allende was killed and the General of the Military Coup took over.
It became illegal to show any support for the old government.
And my grandfather…
Well… He was an activist who supported the old government.
The military dictatorship would raid homes and look for signs of support.
They found my grandfather.
He was taken away. He became a prisoner of this war.
I wish I could have asked him about it. I wish I could have gotten more details.
Although, even if I spoke Spanish, I don’t know that he would have been able to tell me everything without crying.
He disappeared for some time…
And when he returned to his family, they (along with other families who supported the old government) fled to Argentina.
But in Argentina, things weren’t any easier.
Homes were raided again and again by the military in search of supporters of the old government.
My mom, who was only 5 at the time, tells me how she remembers being forced out of their little temporary home and shuffled down the stairs with her 7 siblings. They would all wait until the search was over and they could return up the stairs.
I was told that my grandpa carried a picture of the old president and hid it while in Argentina. Luckily, they never found it.
Eventually, my family was able to leave the war-ridden land in search of a new home.
A New Home In Canada.
A friend of mine in university once wrote a paper on my grandfather. She interviewed him about his time as a prisoner in Chile.
Sadly, her computer was stolen and I never got the chance to read all that he said.
Another reason this regret of not learning Spanish hung heavily on my shoulders.
This Blog Post Is Not About Regret.
It’s about REFLECTING and LEARNING!
After all this, I realized… I still have one grandparent left – My beautiful Abuela.
And she has her own story to tell.
I decided that I didn’t want a language barrier to be the reason my grandmother could not tell me her story either.
I Took Action!
I made the decision to learn Spanish (finally)! For my grandmother and my grandfather.
And… I used the practice of Mindfulness to help me shift into a growth mindset to learn this new language!
Here’s how I’ve been learning Spanish with the help of Mindfulness:
1. Find Calm:
My first step in moving forward in my Spanish journey was to practice forgiveness. I had to forgive myself for not learning Spanish earlier. I had to let go of the past and move forward with the present. I had to find my calm and not let the past control my future. It all began with that mindset shift. To reflect and learn from my mistakes. And to remind myself that it’s never too late to learn something new.
2. Get Curious:
To learn from my past self and move forward, I had to ask myself a few questions. Questions like “Why hadn’t I been able to retain the language before?” “What can I do differently this time around?” “What can I use to motivate myself?”
Upon reflecting, I noticed that when I tried to learn Spanish before, it was as an adolescent. I was a kid who didn’t care and a kid who was not self-aware. I’ve changed since then and so has my motivation to learn Spanish. I was able to use these questions to nail down my WHY and HOW I wanted to proceed.
3. Make Connections:
Since I did have some experience being around the Spanish language, I could understand it slightly (only if someone spoke REALLY slowly), but I couldn’t speak it. I knew, to get better at speaking the language, I had to practice speaking the language.
I made plans to connect with family members and friends where we could have real conversations in Spanish. I even got myself a few penpals, young cousins of mine, who’d help me practice my written Spanish! I am grateful for my family’s patience with me.
4. Get Creative:
Since I was no longer in school, and didn’t have a dedicated time and class to attend Spanish, I had to figure out my own schedule to practice. I had to get creative!! And because speaking is much harder for me, I knew I had to practice any chance I got!
I live about an hour from most of my Spanish family and being with them all the time is not ideal.
So… this meant I started speaking to my boyfriend in Spanish (who is definitely NOT Spanish), I started speaking to my pets and even shared some of my thoughts out loud in Spanish. I realize I looked pretty crazy some days, but you gotta do what you gotta do!
5. Make a Commitment:
The final step was to make a commitment. To myself. To this life-long journey. And to not get discouraged when the going gets tough.
To make this commitment manageable, I broke down my commitments into small attainable goals. Goals that I could work towards every day. I adopted this practice of ‘Kaizen’ (a Japanese word that means continuous improvement through small, incremental steps). I committed to practicing 15 minutes of Spanish everyday through the Duolingo app. This was manageable. This has been something I’ve been able to commit to.
I also made the commitment to visit my Spanish family more. To speak with them more. I used to be embarrassed to visit them… Because I couldn’t really speak to them. But not anymore. Now, I CHOOSE to visit them to learn from them. Now, I feel like I belong.
Is There Something You’ve Been Wanting To Learn, But Something Has Been Holding You Back?
Maybe it’s a language too, or maybe you want to learn how to cook. Or maybe you’ve been waiting years to finally pick up that old guitar and learn how to play it.
Whatever your challenge is, I hope you can use this story as inspiration to push through those obstacles.
To use the power of Mindfulness to move forward in your learning and growth.
“Everyone thinks of changing the world, but no one thinks of changing himself.”
Humans have this desire to change the world.
To make a difference. To have an impact. To leave a legacy.
It is human nature.
We Think BIG!
Make plans on a grand scale.
We see all the suffering and devastation in the world and we look to outer sources to solve those problems.
We think the answer lies outside of ourselves.
But, What If The Answer Lies Within?
What if we can take the steps to change our inner world in order to make improvements in our outer world?
The Inner World is a Reflection of our Outer World.
The world is a mirror.
It reflects back to you what you put out to it.
Consider the kind of energy you carry around on a daily basis.
The energy of your emotions, your thoughts and your feelings…
Energy is Everywhere.
Whether we see it or not.
Our personal energy has the capacity to influence those around us.
It influences individual energies.
And it influences global energy.
Change Your Vibration To Change The World!
What kind of energy do you carry?
Is it world-changing energy?
Is it the kind of energy you hope to see in others?
If it is, you’re on the right path!
This is how we change the world.
To make a difference. To have an impact. To leave our legacy.
“We but mirror the world. All the tendencies present in the outer world are to be found in the world of our body. If we could change ourselves, the tendencies in the world would also change. As a man changes his own nature, so does the attitude of the world change towards him. This is the divine mystery supreme. A wonderful thing it is and the source of our happiness. We need not wait to see what others do.”
I’ve been on quite the adventure for the last 18 days…
I’m finally back and ready to take on the world!
On vacation, I visited different places all around British Columbia, Canada.
(If you’ve never been, I highly recommend planning your next road trip there!)
My boyfriend and I drove around from inland B.C. all the way to the west coast where I got the see the ocean for the first time – Yes, I said FIRSTtime.
We saw the mountains landscape change. We visited friends. We relaxed on beaches and found solitude in the forests…
Like I said, it was quite the adventure!
I’m always grateful for adventures – Especially with my travel partner by my side.
This time… I’m feeling extra grateful!
Grateful for the reset, but also grateful for insights I had while on my trip.
Some insights were things I had realized before, but vacation provided a gentle reminder.
Others were complete revelations!
Today, I’d like to share these insights with you!
Maybe you can relate because you’ve had similar insights from your last vacation.
Or maybe, it’s been a while and you could use the reminder too.
So… Here it goes!
5 Lessons Learned From My Travels Across B.C.:
#1: Get Outside!
And as often as you can! Connect with nature and Mother Earth. Spending time reconnecting to our natural roots is healing for the mind, body and soul. It’s a beautiful way to reset.
I knew this before, and I am reminded again by the way I feel now. I am reinvigorated and feeling ready to take on the world!
#2: Reconnect with Friends (Or Make New Ones)!
Distance is not a good reason to lose touch. But don’t beat yourself up if you have lost touch… It’s never to late to reconnect! And road trips are the PERFECT way to do just that! We managed to get 3 different visits in during our time in B.C. and I’m so glad we did!!
What if you don’t have friends in other places? Make NEW friends! Get yourself out there and connect! Chances are, you’ll run into friendly locals or even some who are on their own travels. You just never know what friends you might find! They may even become friends for life! Connection is fulfilling. And a human necessity.
#3: Challenge Yourself!
Try new things and get outside of your comfort zone. Whatever that looks like to you! Maybe its reading a different genre of book than you usually do, or maybe its going zip lining or bungee jumping! Challenging yourself and facing fears is a rewarding experience.
During our trip to B.C., we found ourselves visiting a friend in Vancouver who took us on a WILD bike ride around the coast! We had just been at a music festival and needless to say, we were NOT in the shape to ride that distance in our one speed bikes… 😛 BUT, we did it anyways! No regrets!
#4: Harness Your Inner Child With Play!
Play is SO important! – Yes, for adults too! We often get too busy in our work and homes lives that play takes a seat on the back burner on our priorities. But it shouldn’t! Play is essential for our wellbeing. And while on vacation – with no responsibilities and no pressing deadlines – is the PERFECT time to get some play in.
Remember, play looks different for us all depending on what you find fun and what nourishes your soul. For me, play looks like dancing to loud bass-y music in the sunshine surrounded by others harnessing their inner child too. Its okay to be a little silly sometimes. Let loose and let your inner child out!!
#5: Scrap Your Calendar (And Phone While You’re At It)!
Who cares what day or time it is when you’re on vacation?! It’s not important! Be present in the moment and cut off your ties with the outside world – As much as you can anyways (You may want to check in or set an alarm when it’s time to go home though :P). Typically, I have a very rigid and strict schedule, but on vacation I’m able to take a break from that rigidity. There’s something exciting about not knowing what time it is other than looking at where the sun is in the sky to decide. Its freeing.
I also choose to put my phone away, with the exception of using my phone to take the odd photo. In fact, my phone was on airplane mode the majority of the time. I didn’t need anything to distract me from the beautiful vacation I was experiencing. I was living in the moment. And I suggest you do too!
Experiencing fear is part of being human. It was built into our operating system to keep us safe.
When our lives are threatened, our stress response triggers us into ‘fight or flight’ mode to quickly expel the danger from our presence.
These short-bursts of fear are essential for our survival.
But, What Happens When our Fear is Constant?
While short bursts of fear are meant to keep us safe, living in fear does the opposite…
When our sympathetic nervous system (‘fight or flight’) is triggered for long periods of time, we feel its detrimental affects.
Our bodies are not meant to sustain this mode for long.
Our bodies CANNOT sustain this mode for long.
So, what actually happens to us as a result?
Fear Reduces Our Body’s Ability To Function
In ‘fight or flight’ mode, our body suspends energy that is needed for other parts of the body. It directs all energy towards the perceived threat.
When the threat disappears, our body returns to normal, sharing the energy among the body’s systems.
But when the threat does not disappear…
When we are always fearful of something….
Our stress response hoards that energy.
It leaves nothing for the rest of the body to function properly.
Our Immune System Takes a Hit.
Our immune system doesn’t receive any energy to produce the cells it needs to keep our bodies safe.
Our ability to fight off diseases and infection is reduced significantly!
We become prone to illness.
The Whole World is Living in Fear…
And while there is lots to be afraid of, accepting a life of stress is not serving anyone. It does not serve YOU!
People are afraid because they want to stay safe.
But fear is what is preventing safety…
So… What Can We Do to Keep Our Fears at Bay?
Here are a few tips to get you started!
Tip #1: Turn off the News! Although the news is supposed to keep us “informed,” it also sends constant messages of worry and fear into our brains. The news turns fear into a part of our subconscious.
I promise, it will not kill you to turn off the news every now and then… in face, it might SAVE you!
Tip #2: Social Media Detox! I get it, social media is another way we stay “informed,” but constant scrolling on social media is another way of penetrating more fearful news into our brain and subconscious.
It also promotes comparison. We compare ourselves to others. We get depressed over all that we lack. But, we see only the “best” of peoples lives on social media – not necessarily their REAL life…
Tip #3: Get Outside in Nature! Reconnect with the real world! Being in nature, we get out of our own heads and away from our fears. Nature takes us to the present moment.
Nature also triggers the parasympathetic response, which is the opposite as our stress response! This allows our body and minds to rest, relax, and restore energy.