A Little Judgement Chat

Here is something that has been kind of frustrating me lately. This may seem like something coming out of left field with me and maybe it is a little bit, but I’m also starting to get a little tired of holding my tongue. I’m not going to be going all gung-ho into certain topics, but I do want to share a little bit more of the things that weigh on my heart. I want to say a little bit more about things that I see. I want to try and use my voice for a little bit more if I can/when I think it is appropriate. This is one of those times as I have not only experienced this, but have seen it in action firsthand.

Here’s the deal…we all judge. Say whatever you want, we all have judged someone or something at one point in our lives. Whether we pass judgement simply in our mind or to our significant others, or actually speak your commentary out loud it really doesn’t matter. As much as I try not to, I have definitely passed judgement. Look, it’s human nature (similar to comparison, but that’s a whole other conversation).

We talk and judge about looks, actions, relationships, speech, just about anything. Whether it is perceived or real, everything we do/say or don’t is judged.

The problem that comes with passing judgement is that we don’t know what someone else is going through. Even if they give us their life story, if they are a public persona, if they are private, we quite simply don’t know the full story. We may think that someone looks unkempt and make our own remarks on that, but they could be dealing with things that we could never imagine.

Another problem with judgement: it doesn’t give either person a chance to even begin to understand. Look struggling doesn’t discriminate on any level. You could appear to live a lavish, privileged life, and be dealing with an extreme amount of depression. Yes, you are in a privileged position, but you still struggle. Someone can recognize their privilege and yet still have down days. We cannot understand someone and whatever issues they may or may not be experiencing if we judge them before they can even open their mouths.

Judgement isn’t just external either, we are prone to a lot of internal judgement which can sometimes be even more damaging. There are a lot of instances where we feel certain assumed/perceived  judgements or roles that are placed on us. We feel as if we may not be living up to a role, doing things with smiles on our faces. Some of this can come from judgements we have in the past thought or expressed, or heard someone else express.

And this judgement is what prevents a lot of people from talking about problems. It prevents a lot of people from opening up about whatever they are dealing with. And when someone feels like they can’t share what is going on it festers inside them until they can’t handle anymore, and we get an explosion of some sort. Often times we then wonder, “what happened?”. “How did this happen?”. “Why didn’t they say anything?”.

It’s a vicious circle and it’s one that only we, as individuals, can break. If each person opens with a little more kindness, a little more of an open mind, and a little less judgement or unsolicited advice (again, a whole other topic), then maybe others will feel a little bit better to share. It only takes one person to start a change in this cycle. One person. Will you be that person?

Real Talk : Time Management

Earlier in the month I said that you do not have to be a morning person to be successful, you just have to be good at Time Management. I stand by that statement and today we are going to jump into a brief (ish) rundown of Time Management. If you think, “Mia, the year is almost over, why are we just now talking about this?”. Well, a)it’s never a bad time to start something new, and b)if you are wanting to feel more organized or productive in the new year, this is the perfect time/place to start.

Time Management is not some crazy, complicated, scary concept. It is just simply knowing how best to use your time. Knowing when you work the best and how to use that knowledge to your advantage. You don’t have to go any further than that. In fact, I’ll bet that you already do some sort of time management already and don’t even realize it.

Do you know that you write best in the morning, therefore spending your morning responding to emails, writing posts, or writing in your journal? Do you know that your brain functions better in the afternoon/late evening, therefore spending your morning doing the more aimless tasks (cleaning, laundry, etc) and then concentrating on work related items in the morning? That’s basic Time Management. Not so complicated, huh?

Time Management can also be taken a step further by setting limits on things that you need to accomplish for the day. This isn’t as complicated as it sounds and it is actually what I do for my weekdays to ensure that I can accomplish everything that I want to throughout the day without feeling overwhelmed, overworked, or like I’m spinning my wheels and going no where.  I usually set a limit, for example respond to emails/write posts for an hour and a half mid morning. This allows me to have a set time limit, gives my brain a chance to focus on what I am doing, and I find that I get quite a bit done in this time period.

I’ll give a brief run down of what I do in a separate post (stay tuned!) but first I want to touch on the easiest, simplest form of this and how you can apply it to whatever you are doing, from being a stay at home mom to the workplace.

There are two key ingredients to Time Management, the first is what we’ve already talked about. Knowing when your brain functions the best. Morning or Afternoon, it doesn’t matter. If you know when you feel at your best, then you can work around everything else.

If you are someone who just works better in the afternoon, that is fine! You’ll simply want to adjust your task list to be a little afternoon heavier, focusing the items that will take the most of your attention to the afternoon, rather than the morning. If you are someone who is bright eyed and bushy tailed first thing in the morning, then you’ll want to put any tasks that will take a good amount of your focus to the morning.

The second key ingredient to Time Management is going to be your priorities. Knowing what is at the top of your list on each day is key to success. I’ve talked about Priorities HERE. Within those priorities, you’ll want to have a general idea of what is going to take the longest, what will be the hardest, and what will require the most of your attention and focus. You’ll want to look at your first ingredient, when you work best, and lay out your priorities for that time.

If you work a 9-5 job, in an office, you may not be able to re arrange things completely (for example if you are a Night Owl, that probably will not work with your job), but you can still apply the same principles to allow yourself the most success in getting everything done.

If you are a Stay at Home Parent, you can still apply the principles of Time Management to your every day tasks and chores. Spending your “most productive” hours starting any tasks that need handled and playing/being with your children.

For example, let’s say you have a to do list of 5 items, 3 of them involve your immediate attention (aka due today or tomorrow) and 2 will take a good amount of focus and time. Those 3 assignments are your priorities and the 2 that will take the most focus and time are the ones that you will want to do when you are at the height of your brain function.

Not so complicated huh? Time Management at it’s simplest is just laying out what you need to do, figuring out when you work best, and then implementing both of those items together.

Real Talk: Crushing the End of 2018

We are officially in the last Quarter of the Year. 2018 is rapidly coming to an end and I know that for me, there are still quite a few things I want to accomplish and learn. I want to talk a little bit today about ending the year strong. To feel like we succeeded in making the best of another year of our lives. So, go grab your cup of something Magical and let’s talk about 2018 coming to an end.

The end of the year either brings two feelings, a “holy cow I feel like I haven’t done anything, where did the time go?” OR a “gosh I’ve done so much this year so far, how is it already coming to an end?”.

If you’re in the second category, way to go! You’ve been rocking the year and no matter what, you’ll end the year feeling accomplished. If you’re in the first category, never fear! You have almost certainly accomplished plenty this past year, and there is still time to do some more. Read on category 1, read on…

The first thing to look at is our New Year’s Resolutions (if you set them). I personally don’t set full on resolutions, rather some sort of big picture or overall intention for how I would like for this year to go. So, look at whatever goal, big picture mindset, word of the year, whatever, and see how you’ve been doing with that specific thing. Have you rocked it?

Second, in reviewing your goals for 2018, narrow down the ones that either haven’t been achieved, or that you feel like you could do better at. Did you want to eat healthier and then fell off the badwagon half way through the year? Did you want to read/write/exercise more and didn’t? There is NO SUCH THING as too late to start. You can still start one of those resolutions now and be successful. End 2018 on a strong note!

Third, and final, just start whatever it is that you want to accomplish! As I just said, it is NEVER too late to start. Start slow, maybe with an easier resolution and then build up. If you can cross one or two of those resolutions off, you can still feel like you’ve had a successful 2018. At the end of the day, you (and only you) can determine whether or not you’ve had a good year or not. What do you need to do to feel like you’ve had a good year?

For me personally, as this year is coming to an end I am trying to de clutter items that we don’t need, want, or use,, prepare myself and my family for our upcoming move (read about that excitement HERE), and knock out a couple more items on our Northern VA/Washington DC bucket list. I feel like I’ve done a lot this past year, but I know it wasn’t as much as I had hoped to do. I know that I definitely could have done more in some area’s and I am striving to work on those areas to still end this year strong.

How about you? Where do you fall on the two categories of 2018?

Real Talk: “Fall”-ing Into a Routine

We are nearing the end of that Summer Bliss and heading in to the reality of schedules and routines. Whether you have children that are going to back to school, you yourself are going back to school or your own Summer holiday from work has come to an end, Fall always comes around with a need to get back into “the swing of things”. I am going to be doing different posts in the coming weeks all about routines, schedules, prioritizing and what not, but I wanted to have a real talk post starting this all off. 

Let’s be honest, having a schedule can always help, no matter what stage of life you are in. Not only does it give you a chance to be more productive, it can also help you feel a little more organized. More organized, less frazzled is always a good thing. Life has a habit of creeping in and even the most organized of people can become really busy and then a little frazzled. Instead of letting that busy-ness get to you in a way where you start dropping the ball, it’s better to have some sort of system, routine, planner, something to help you so when it seems like life is too busy, you still have what you need to keep things together. It won’t stop life from being busy, but it will help you from feeling off kilter when things become busy. 

With all of that being said, having a schedule or a routine can be really hard and it can be really hard to stick to. Life gets busy (have I mentioned that yet?!) and when it gets busy, we tend to just let go, free fall, and just go for a ride. It is really important that when things get busy, we still try to maintain some semblance of a schedule. It will help keep your mind straight when you are too busy to think and it will help you not drop the ball on any important things coming up. It’s definitely the harder choice, so much easier to just let go and ride the busy wave, but it is so much more worth it. 

For me personally, having a schedule or routine helps me not only accomplish everything that I want to accomplish, but also helps me prioritize and really look at what I can and cannot do everyday. I can clearly see where my time is going and what I am regularly able to accomplish, along with what I can’t or maybe need help with. This has allowed me to be much calmer and more willing to ask for help or let something slide off the list for the week. Most days I don’t end the day wondering what I’ve even done (although there are still some of those), I end them saying I’ve done xy&z and still need to do a&b. 

Do you have a routine or a schedule? How about a to-do list? How do you plan on tackling coming back from vacation or back into the school routine? 

Real Talk: So, Why Do We Care?

I’ve spoken about confidence and how we grow into ourselves and in turn our self confidence grows. During that (I called it) ramble (which you can read HERE and HERE), I mentioned that with confidence, you hit a point that you just stop caring about what others think of you. Because honestly, while the two may not always be linked, that is a big part of confidence. Being so confident in yourself that you do not care what others think of you. 

So, why do we care? Why is what other people think of us so important to us? You can’t please everyone and not everyone is going to like you. Even those who do like you, may not like some of the things that you do/say. Why do we put so much stock in that?

When you think about what others think of you, you give them power over you. You allow them to control how you live your life. You allow them to change what you say or believe. You allow someone (often times a complete stranger) to personally affect you to your core. 

Why would you want to let someone else have control over your life? You are giving someone else power over you. Power to influence you, to change you in a way that you may not want. We all grow and change, but the important thing is that we are doing that because WE want to, not because someone made a mean comment. 

This may sound dramatic, but even something as simple as changing your outfit because you think someone may say something about it. Allowing what others MIGHT think about you, change anything about you is failing yourself. It is selling yourself short.

Similar to this is not speaking up when you want to say something, or saying things that you may not believe to please others. 

If you are having second thoughts about something, it is important to determine why you are having second thoughts. Are you having those thoughts because you are worried about what others will say? Are you having them because you yourself are not sure? This difference is key because it lets you know whether you are making the change because you want it, not because of what some other random person may say.

We can be so impressionable at times, especially in areas where we may feel even more vulnerable, and it is important to remember who you are. 

Real Talk: Body Image

This is a rather sensitive topic for me, given my own issues, but I really want to talk about our body image. While we were on vacation, I was sitting outside in this little pair of short shorts and a tank top that I would have normally felt a little self conscious in. As I was sitting there, honestly marveling at the fact that I was once again in a clear headspace to wear what I was wearing (and not immediately freak out), I had a moment to just think. Think about body image, body positivity, confidence, etc. 

Let’s be completely honest, no matter how confident you are, how comfortable you are within your own skin, we all have those moments. Moments where we second guess how we look. Whether what we are wearing really compliments our body, or if it highlights that one area you feel can never get back to where it was. It happens to everyone, men & women, at any age. 

In fact, I challenge anyone to be able to say that they have been confident and comfortable in their own skin all their life. If you are, that is awesome! I am not. I have not been that many a time. 

The self criticism is hard to fight and I’m not going to sit hear and say, oh love your body the way it is. The fact of the matter is, we all have those moments and that’s OK! I feel like these days, there is such a push of body positivity, loving our bodies, celebrating them. That’s all well and good, but it’s not always realistic. I don’t always love my body and I am not going to sit here and tell you that you must love your body.

It’s OK to not be happy about how your body looks, just like it’s ok to be perfectly content with how your body looks. It’s also ok to feel a bit of both.

I typically lie right in the middle of those two trains of thought. I love 75% of the way my body looks, but there are a couple of things I wish I could change. That is just how I feel. Is some of that simply just that little negative voice in my head (I’m sure you know the one I am talking about)? Yes. Am I working on changing what I can? Yes (and more importantly, I am doing it in a healthy way). So, why do I care about how I actually look in that particular outfit? Am I going to look any different in a different outfit? Maybe, but who cares. I felt so good lying in the sun, relaxing, watching our older boy run around in the grass. Why should I let thoughts of what anyone else (aside from my husband), including that negative little voice in my head, destroy that feeling?

So, what I really want anyone reading this to get, is that it’s OK to not be happy with your body and it’s ok to be body confident. What is more important to keep in mind is that no matter how you feel about your body, you can’t let that stop you from enjoying life. Wear what you want- do what you want. Have a little dress, or in my case, that pair of short shorts and wear it!

Real Talk: Spring Outlook (Spring Cleaning Part 3)

I’ve started off April in a rush to purge, to clean, to have a fresh outlook on how the year is progressing in our life. This included purging a lot of items, doing a deep clean of our house and now that both of those items are done, it is time to look out our spaces, our mindset, our intentions for 2018 to see what we can freshen up.

I’m a big believe in always coming back to your intentions. Always revisit any goals (or *cringe* resolutions) you’ve set for the year and see how your progress is going. It is a good thing to check and see what is working and what isn’t working. Where are you thriving? Where could you use a little work? What can you tweak or re set with to continue on the path that you want for yourself this year.

As I’ve mentioned before, Spring is a great time to do just this. Not only do we all naturally start to shed away the layers of winter, but Spring almost brings the same feelings as the New Year with that fresh start, fresh outlook type of feeling.This is the time to take a step back and re evaluate how your year has started. We are still early enough into the year that a lot can be accomplished. It’s OK if you’ve looked at your intentions for the year and decided that you need to jus scrap them and start fresh. It’s also OK to say I’ve been rocking these and I want to take it up to the next level. NOW is such a great time to make these adjustments and changes.

In coming back to our intentions, I’m a big believer in setting up our spaces, setting up our day to day, to reflect what we want to accomplish and what we need in our life. Spring naturally allows us to freshen up our wardrobe and spaces by having warmer temperatures, more sunshine, and a general feeling of “freshness” in the air. We are already having to shed those thick winter layers and large fleece blankets for shorter t shirts and lighter sheets. Windows start to open more frequently (which already leads to a more positive outlook) and allows you to look at yourself and your space for another change.

Often times with Spring, we bring down the lighter blankets, put out the pastel decorations, and shorter clothes. While you are already creating a sort of change, don’t just stop with your clothes and a couple of decorations. Look at your space, whether it be your entire home, where you work, where you sleep, wherever, and really take a moment to check it out. Is this a good space for you. Are you going to be able to continue to excel or do you maybe need to change something up. This is the time to make any changes that you need to in your physical space to continue on with your year.

Re evaluation your intentions for the year and evaluating your physical space go hand in hand right now. You’ll find that you have a fresh look both in your mind and in your space to accomplish everything that you want. And if you’re finding that you are starting to struggle or plateau in your intentions, this may be the little kick in the but you need to keep going.

Real Talk: Winter Blues

Let’s face it- February and March are two of the hardest months of the year. All of the momentum and excitement from the New Year is starting to wear off and winter is usually the worst in these two months. The slump because real when the skies seem to be a never-ending shade of grey, the temperatures are frigid (although we have had a couple good days) and those super cute summery clothes are mocking you from the deep recesses of your closet.

While I personally am a fan of grey, rainy, dreary weather, I too can become a victim of the Winter Blues. When everything becomes stagnant, and there seems to be a general slump of feelings and just sadness. As cheesy as it sounds, the sun plays a vital role in your feelings and well being. It’s always cheery when it’s sunny. Right now though it’s a rough time of year and it is super easy to just let those feelings take over your life and seep into everything you do.

I recently posted about my top 5 tricks to getting out of a bad mood/day, which you can find HERE. This Real Talk is kind of an extension of that, because this is such a time of year for these types of feelings. The Winter Blues are kind of a tough cookie to deal with because it’s not always so simple to break out of those slumps. Sometimes it’s all you can do to just hold on and ride the slump out till better days hit. If you can though, it’s always better to try and pick yourself up and keep moving forward.

So, how do you do that?

Find one positive thing in everyday. This may sound like an over simplification, and in some ways it is, but realistically if you try and focus on the good the bad doesn’t have a chance to take over. The positive thing may only be that you got out of bed and put on real clothes instead of just sweats or it may be that you crossed every item on your to do list off. It doesn’t matter how big or little you think the positive thing is, find it.

By making a choice at the end of everyday to find one positive thing you will not only find that there are more than a few positive things, but you will find yourself a little more energized to do more the next day. By continuing to focus on the little “wins” of everyday, you will slowly turn your mindset around and before you know it, you’ll be out of that Winter Blues slump.

So what do you do when the Winter Blues hit? Do you find that you are able to quickly bounce through those blues and back to a happy mood or does it take you a little while to get back into your happy place?