5 Mindful Activities I've Been Loving

public.jpeg

SHOP THE LOOK

Dress | Shoes | Sunglasses

Every day is different, but if you look at the most successful entrepreneurs, life coaches and “at peace” individuals, they usually have one thing locked down: their morning routine. I’ll be the first to admit - I am not a morning person. I’ve tried setting my alarm back, opening the blinds, putting my phone across the room, lots of things, but nothing has really helped me and my need of an hour in the morning to wake up.

The more I researched the more I really tried to put a routine in action and I somewhat got there after college when I started working full-time, but I wanted to take it a step further and really see if it helped. During my research I found the five things below that have helped me get to a more mindful, restful place in the morning. While I don’t do all of these every single morning, when done I always felt ready for the day, so here we go!

The Morning Pages

I briefly talked about The Morning Pages in this blog post, but wanted to dive a little deeper and talk about why I find it so useful. As a creative, it can be difficult to always tap into that creativity when I need to and usually is even harder when trying to force it. I was in a creative rut last year and needed something to push myself out of it. I wasn’t feeling inspired to paint, write or even blog - it all just felt unimportant. I was on one of my favorite blogger’s Instagram Stories and she was talking about her morning routine and how it has really changed her days. One of the components of her very specific routine is called Morning Pages.

Growing up I would go through phases where I loved journaling and then I wouldn’t touch said journal for months. What I liked about the Morning Pages was that there wasn’t a structure. You are actually not supposed to think when doing the exercise. So what is it? Morning Pages are three pages of longhand, stream of consciousness writing that you do first thing in the morning for 6 weeks or as long as needed. You just write what is on your mind and can’t edit. There is no erasing, rewriting, grammar police or judging yourself for what you write down.

There are a few rules to this exercise:

  1. Do it every day, no matter what. Even if you write “I have no idea what to write” for the entire 3 pages. Just write.

  2. You aren’t allowed to re-read it or share it with anyone. These pages are meant just for you. Don’t hinder your process by looking back at what you wrote about previously. Just keep writing.

When I sat down to do this the first morning it was actually very difficult. I was finding myself holding back, thinking, “I shouldn’t write that”, or “ugh that’s stupid.” But that is the entire point of Morning Pages. If you’re feeling those things or doubting yourself you’re actually supposed to dive deeper and write about why you’re thinking that way. Put. It. All. On. The. Page.

The Morning Pages was created by Julia Cameron, author of The Artist’s Way, a book designed to help blocked creatives get unblocked that includes morning pages as a daily exercise to the overall project. The book has helped millions of readers to embark on a creative journey and find a deeper connection to process and purpose. Julia Cameron's novel approach guides readers in uncovering problems areas and pressure points that may be restricting their creative flow and offers techniques to free up any areas where they might be stuck, opening up opportunities for self-growth and self-discovery, including me! I’ve linked it below if you want to check it out along with my favorite pens & the best notebook ever.

Taking a Walk

This seems like a really simple idea and no-brainer, but I found it helped me get to a good head space before my day. Kollin and I used to switch off in the mornings taking Wrigley out and as much as I dreaded getting up to do it, once I was outside and thinking about something else, I always felt better (minus the polar vortex week in January- no good thoughts there lol). Taking even a few minutes to step outside, breathe in some fresh air and enjoy the quiet morning was very calming. You could use this time to walk and get coffee, grab the mail, enjoy your breakfast outside or even take your morning pages to an outside destination.

Gratitude Journal

We all go through a period or several periods of life where we complain a lot. Typically, this is when we are teenagers and nothing is going right or we didn’t have enough money to go to the movies with friends that weekend and your parents are ruining your life. Sound familiar? Now that most of us are a bit older, this can happen less often, but when it does it can really impact your mental state.

I remember complaining about something at work or even the thought of having nothing to wear and I read a post online that took common “problems” people complain about like laundry, dirty dishes and sitting in traffic. The post flipped the script on looking at those things differently. For example, having piles of laundry to do means you have places to go to wear them and warm clothes in the winter. Dirty dishes means having food to eat and a full family. Sitting in traffic is usually annoying, but you have somewhere to be and usually a job to report to. These are all things to be grateful for and are easily forgotten in the busyness of life. I started writing down what I was grateful for each day during my Morning Pages and it really put into perspective how blessed I am - even on the days when all I want to do is complain.

Inspiring Podcasts

Podcasts are not anything new to most of the population, but Kollin and I just started really listening to them this year. What I love about them is that you are actively listening. When we watch TV or are on our phone we are usually multi-tasking. I personally find that when I’m listening to a podcast, I have a greater pull to what I’m hearing and get more out of the conversation, especially when the topic is thought-provoking or inspiring. Here are some of my favorite current podcasts:

  • Living Fully with Mallory Ervin

    • A fellow Kentucky girl, Mallory grew up the oldest of 23 cousins and went on to become Miss Kentucky, runner up in Miss America and a three time contestant and runner up on The Amazing Race with her father. Living by her mantra of Living Fully, she discusses topics such as relationships, her personal journey with health, addiction, being a mom and finding happiness everyday. Truly positive and refreshing I love listening to this podcast when it comes out at the beginning of the week on Mondays as a great way to start the week.

  • The Skinny Confidential: Him & Her Podcast

    • The creator behind the blog and brand, The Skinny Confidential, Lauryn Evarts Bosstick and her husband, Michael Bosstick, team up for this funny and honest podcast revolving around wellness, business, beauty and brands. With guests including Jessica Alba, Chriselle Lim, Whitney Port of The Hills, and other lifestyle based guests, they cover a range of topics in a positive and almost brutally honest way. I’m always surprised on how a surface-level topic always dives deeper and they have really thought-provoking conversations.

  • Getting Curious with Jonathan Van Ness

    • As it sounds, this weekly podcast covers a range of topics on things that Jonathan is curious about including immigration, How to Find Your Voice, Why Stress is Toxic, The Difference Between Shia and Sunni Muslims. Obviously a wide variety of things to choose from, these episodes take the topics and break them down to a level that is approachable, but also informative.

Positive Affirmations

This is something I started doing in 2018 and have really seen it change my outlook on things. Along with writing what I was grateful for, I would write about things I wanted to happen or things that I just needed to remind myself. When typing that I can see how our internal system of doubt would label this as a insecurity. Who needs to be reminded or told things about themselves? Shouldn’t you just know or feel it? Well, if you do then props to you, but I’d say 99% of us at least doubt ourselves once a day. Affirmations are positive statements that can help you to challenge and overcome self-sabotaging and negative thoughts. When you repeat them often, and believe in them, you can start to make positive changes. There is a saying about this that goes, “think it into existence, write it into existence, speak it into existence, work it into existence.” Whatever your method of delivery, give it a try. I personally like thinking and writing, but if you’re the kind that likes to look in the mirror for a daily pep talk from yourself, more power to you!

These are just some of the things I’ve been doing to lead a more positive, mindful lifestyle. The more I’ve grown up the more I’ve realized the importance of our mental health and the way we approach life. There are so many more mindful practices out there and I would love to hear from you about yours or ones you want to try! Leave me a comment below letting me know what you’ve been doing or want to do. Thanks so much for reading!

You can shop my dress and other Shein #BackToSchool looks here! Use code BTS281 for 15% off your order!

public.jpeg

Thank you to Shein for sponsoring this post. It’s brands like yours that make The Creative Brief possible. All opinions are my own.

My Migraine Journey & Trust Brothers CBD

public.jpeg

If you were to ask me back in 2015 when I started my The Creative Brief if I would talk about my health and CBD, I’d have probably laughed and said no way, this is a fashion blog! And while it still is, I usually get great responses from my more lifestyle based posts. Varying from relationships to faith to travel, TCB readers tend to love the content outside of the clothes too, which is why I eventually felt comfortable sharing this product with y’all!

So, when I was approached by Trust Brothers, I had a bit of a pause at first. Was this something I was passionate about? Would it make sense to my readers and do I even understand the product? Upon doing more research on CBD and watching a great documentary called Weed The People I was a bit more open to learning more. While the documentary focuses on cannabis too, I wanted to be sure that anything I was promoting did not and would not cause any high or reaction that people associate with cannabis. No judgement here, just personally not my thing! After speaking with their team, learning how their CBD contains no THC and trying it out for myself I learned a lot and have had great benefits from using it too. More on that in a bit, but here is some background on why I wanted to try it.

Ever since I was 13-14 years old I have suffered from migraines. If you have had one, you get it, but if you haven’t I’ll try and explain briefly as to why they are so debilitating. I’m sure many of you reading this have had a headache or two before and maybe a Tylenol or Advil helps and you’re good to go. When I had my first migraine I was scared. It was pain I had never felt before and nothing I took made it any better. The scariest part? It isn’t just pain. Many people can have other symptoms like blurred vision, sensitivity to light and sound and even vomiting and nausea. Luckily, I have only had 6-8 really bad ones at that level. To put it into perspective, Chronic Migraine patients get 10-15 a month.

My headaches got to the point where my doctor recommended I see a Neurologist for an action plan. She and I started a plan and she wanted me to really understand what the triggers were for my migraines. I kept a journal of what I ate, when I slept, what medicine I was taking, what life events were going on and turned it over to her after two weeks. We learned the following were triggers for me (this is over the course of 4-5 years of this exercise and where I currently have the most triggers):

  • Lack of sleep

  • Red Wine

  • Dehydration

  • High level of stress or anxiety

  • Lady time of the month

  • Weather (barometric pressure was a HUGE one for me - Google it!)

By narrowing it down to these triggers I could usually pinpoint when I’d have a migraine pop up. This became another issue because then the anxiety of waiting for one or thinking I’d get one would be its own problem. But, as I learned more and got older and also got the daith piercing (not a medical recommendation, but was worth a shot to me and improved my symptoms. Always consult professionals as everyone’s symptoms and treatments are different), I was on a pretty good path. I went from having 2-3 a month to maybe 1 per month.

Things started to get bad again when I was working a ton and not taking care of myself. I was having at least one per week and also having cluster headaches. Basically headaches that lasted 3-4 days and would only shift in pain vs. go away. It was time to re-balance. You can read my post here about what I learned that year and what helped. Once my stress levels were down and I had some time off I was chatting with a friend about how she takes CBD for anxiety. She mentioned it was helping her and she suggested I try it for headaches as that is one of the things that people who take it have found relief in. A couple weeks later Trust Brothers reached out and I said why not! I’ve been testing their CBD oil for about two weeks now as I wanted to give the product some time before recommending it to y’all.

public.jpeg

While I did not expect it to take away my migraines or even make them better, I did get some benefits that have helped reduce the triggers of my migraines and therefore I haven’t had many since trying it. By taking the recommended dose twice a day (I do this when I wake up with my chai latte and about an hour before I go to sleep), I started noticing that I was more rested, had less stress and anxiety and was overall more calm. Keep in mind that I’m still working 40+ hours a week and planning our wedding so there were plenty of outside triggers as well.

After two days of taking the CBD I started noticing that I was sleeping better, getting to sleep faster, feeling more rested and calm during the day and my stress trigger was a lot harder to reach. I’m a big night owl and am usually most productive at night and my mind can race before bed. CBD helped me calm down before going to sleep so I was actually getting restful sleep and FYI there is no sense of drowsiness or even any feeling at all. The oil is tasteless and I have not had any other side effects or reactions from taking it. So, while it isn’t a cure or even treatment for migraines, it’s a big help in the migraine process for me.

If you’re interested in trying it for yourself or your pet (Wrigley takes it too!) Trust Brothers was so kind to send over a coupon code where you can get the oil free and just pay the cost of shipping. You can visit here and enter my code CREATIVEBRIEF and your email for a free 250mg CBD oil. As always, I hope y’all know and trust that I would never share or promote something that I did not 100% believe in and use myself. So, if you have any questions please let me know, would love to chat with you! Thanks so much for reading xx

public.jpeg

Thank you to Trust Brothers for sponsoring this post. It is brands like yours that make The Creative Brief possible. All opinions are my own.