Tips for Becoming a (Reluctant) Morning Person!

I’ve always been a night owl. I love staying up late & sleeping in, & it’s been my default my whole life. My grandpa always used to tell me that my ideal work day would be between noon-8 pm; he was totally right!

I teach 2nd grade, which isn’t exactly conducive to sleeping in or staying up late. Add on my grad school coursework, & I was always TIRED. I would take naps for hours after work, wake up, & do my school work, staying up until 1 or 2 am. I slowly realized that staying up late was not sustainable.

So I started going to bed earlier. & it was magical. My mom has been trying to tell me that for years (sorry, Mom!) & I was so set in my night owl ways, I just didn’t want to hear it. I thought I would be missing out on something if I went to bed early (I have no idea what, I’ve just always felt that way haha.) & then I’d drag my miserable, exhausted body to work, after sleeping until the last possible second. Here are some tips for becoming a (albeit reluctant!) morning person:

  • Make gradual changes! You’re probably not going to become a morning person overnight. BUT you can choose to go to bed 30 minutes earlier. Notice how much better you feel in the morning, & start there.
  • Create a morning routine you actually look forward to! It might include sipping a cup of coffee on your porch, playing with your dog, eating your favorite breakfast, or going for a run. Whatever can bring you even the tiniest bit of joy in the morning, do it!
  • I love naps. LOVE them. But, I had to cut them out (most days, anyway!) Instead of my usual post-work nap, we’ve been taking Theo for a long walk. This gives me enough energy to power through making dinner, doing homework, & whatever else I have to do after work.

I hope these tips help inspire you to become a morning person! If you’re just starting this journey like me, comment any tips you have!

Good luck early bird!

Danielle

Don’t Let Others Dim Your Light

I’m sending you love on this gloomy Monday. I hope your week is as wonderful as you are!

Happy (ish?) Monday!

We have NO control over other people; what they say, what they do, how they interpret things you say or do. We can only control our own reactions. That’s easier said than done, but I try to choose grace. Grace for myself & others, in every situation.

People can really suck, sometimes. It’s hard & it’s upsetting, especially for my fellow empaths. It’s difficult not to take on that negative energy; difficult to let it go.

Not everyone leads with kindness, not everyone is mindful of the feelings of others. That says everything about them & nothing about you. Don’t let others get you down, don’t let them dim that beautiful light of yours. Keep shining, beauty!

Love,

Danielle

Self-Care Ideas!

When life gets a little hectic, self-care is often the first thing to go out the window. Self-care is something that looks different for everyone! If you haven’t quite nailed down what self-care is to you, or if you want some new ideas, this post is for you!

-Seek mental health help! Therapy isn’t just for when something is wrong; if you have the financial means to do so, checking in with a counselor can be so helpful.

-Go for a walk! I’ve been taking walks with my boyfriend & puppy after work every day, & they’re particularly helpful when I’m feeling stressed.

-Practice gratitude! I’m a broken record with this one but gratitude changes your mindset & your mindset is EVERYTHING. Think of things you feel grateful for, in the car, in bed when you wake up, as you’re cooking dinner, wherever!

-Declutter! I’m not the most organized person & sometimes the idea of cleaning can make me want to stab my eyes out. BUT even I can admit, I feel a little better when I take a few minutes & declutter something or just tidy up. It’s annoying, but true.

-Listen to some calming music & take some deep breaths. I’ve been loving the Boyce Avenue acoustic playlist; I put that on & take a few minutes to just breathe & stretch.

-Cook an easy, nutrient-rich meal. There’s something about cooking for myself that makes me feel relaxed & like I’m really taking care of myself. I have a few healthy (ish!), quick recipes coming in a blog post soon.

Take care of yourself!

Love,

Danielle

2021 Intentions

I couldn’t be more thankful for these guys!

When we went back to school in the fall, I started setting weekly intentions for myself. This felt like a good way to be gentle with myself & not to feel too much pressure while teaching. It felt comforting & productive while not overwhelming. I really recommend setting weekly intentions, particularly if you’re struggling.

Each week, I would write in my agenda my intentions for the week; what I hoped to achieve & how I hoped I could leave those I interacted with feeling. Instead of the typical New Years resolutions, I thought I would set some intentions for the new year.

  • Appreciating the little things. 2020 taught me to slow down & enjoy the things I have.
  • Making time for hobbies. I love to be creative & life doesn’t always allow for much time to do that. I’m hoping to set aside more time this year to explore things that make me feel creative.
  • Being more intentional with my spending. I want to cook at home more often, order takeout less, & buy clothes that I truly love & will want to wear frequently.

I have a lot of goals I’m working toward (academic, profession, & personal!) but these three intentions are what is resonating with me currently. I like that if I make these three simple things a priority, my year is already off to a good start!

This is also only the second year that I’m not setting a weight-related goal at the beginning of the year, I think it’s important to acknowledge that. I spent my whole life telling myself that I would lose weight in the new year, that this would somehow make my life more fulfilling. Time & time again, life has proven to me that I do not need to lose weight to have value. I can be happy right now, as I am.

2021 is here; things aren’t magically better or less stressful. Life is challenging & messy & overwhelming at times. I’ve been feeling immense gratitude; for the health & happiness of my loved ones, for John, for our life together. I’m so lucky & even on my most difficult days, that doesn’t change.

I hope that you’re doing well! If you’re struggling, I’m thinking of you & sending light your way.

Happy 2021!

Danielle

I’m Proud of Myself

This was a difficult year! There is so much to be proud of.

Acknowledging my accomplishments isn’t something that comes easily to me. I’m not sure if it’s something women are conditioned (thanks, patriarchy!) or if it’s something else, but I rarely discuss my accomplishments or things I’m proud of myself for. I wanted to write this post, because there is a lot to be proud of this year. I hope it inspires you to take a moment & to reflect on what you feel most proud of this year.

I’m proud of myself. I’m proud of myself for teaching in the midst of a pandemic. For showing up daily & trying to be the best teacher I can be for my kiddos, even when it’s hard. I’m proud of myself for sticking it out through grad school; through late nights of writing papers & discussion posts, on nights I feel like giving up. (Also for getting an A in my most recent course!) I’m proud of myself for adapting & finding ways to cope with an anxiety disorder that has really been amplified in this pandemic.

I’m proud of myself for how I treat people; I’m mindful of how I make other people feel (although maybe a little too much so sometimes!) & I try my best to make others feel valued. I’m proud that I enjoy learning new things & challenging myself. I’m proud that I lift other people up instead of tearing them down. I’m proud that during a difficult year, I found strength I didn’t know I had.

As we wrap up 2020, there is so much to be proud of. I’m proud of you, for getting through a tough year; for reflecting on priorities & making hard choices, for making sacrifices & showing up. Maybe you suffered a loss, whether that’s a loved one, a job, big plans. There is so much to be proud of yourself for!

Walking into 2021 feeling grateful.

What are you most proud of yourself for?

Thank you so much for being here; for supporting my blog. You inspire me & I couldn’t be more grateful. Have a happy new year!

Love,

Danielle

My Current Favorite Ways to Unwind During Stressful Times

Theo & Phoebe hope you have a beautiful, restful holiday season!

Even in 2020, the holiday season can definitely add some stress. Making COVID-safe plans, online shopping for the perfect gift, work stress. It’s a lot! I’ve been feeling especially stressed due to grad school assignments. It’s important to find ways to unwind & relax. Here’s some of my favorite ways to unwind!

  • Go for a walk: lately, especially after a particularly stressful work day, I’ve been putting sneakers on & going for a walk around the lake near my apartment. The fresh air & sunshine does wonders!
  • Have a dance party: Whether John & I put on early 2000’s throwbacks while we’re making dinner or I’m performing my one woman show of Hamilton for myself in my car, I can feel the tension leaving my body when I’m dancing.
  • Write down a to-do list: To-do lists save lives! Maybe that’s dramatic BUT they definitely help with my anxiety & it always feels good to check off.
  • My personal favorite: spiked hot chocolate & Christmas movies! It’s hard to feel stressed when you’re that cozy!
Not the prettiest picture, but try adding coconut rum to your hot chocolate! I make mine with almond milk + add marshmallow fluff on top, so good!

I’m wishing you a happy, healthy, RELAXING holiday season!

Danielle

Making The Most Of The Holidays This Year

I’ll most likely be living in comfy clothes this holiday season! Sweatshirts, baking cookies, pet snuggles. So cozy!

The holiday season is different this year. There’s no getting around it; maybe you’re doing a socially distant Thanksgiving, or you’re celebrating Christmas just with your household. Maybe you’re used to cooking for an army of people, or you usually travel this time of year. The holiday season IS different this year, but that doesn’t mean it can’t still be great!

The holidays are typically a time for celebration & togetherness; those things might look different right now. You need to make decisions for yourself & your family, to stay safe & healthy.

I wanted to write this because I’ve spoken with several people who are feeling bummed this season. We miss our family & friends who we usually celebrate with, we miss traveling or other experiences & traditions. These feelings are VALID. All we can do is make the best of it, so I wanted to share a few ideas of how you can do just that!

-Make new traditions! Have a ginger bread house making competition, bake a new cookie recipe while listening to Christmas music, go for a walk to get fresh air & see Christmas lights. Do little things that help keep that holiday magic alive!

-Focus on gratitude. There is so much to be grateful for; the health of my loved ones & myself are at the top of my list this year for sure! We might be missing some traditions this year, but if everyone is healthy & doing well, that makes me so happy.

-Connect with loved ones, virtually! Host a Zoom happy hour where you make festive holiday drinks, FaceTime your family & eat dinner together, watch your favorite Christmas movies. Just because things are different, doesn’t mean we can’t all enjoy this season!

I’m sending you a giant virtual hug & hopefully some holiday cheer!

Danielle

It’s Not Always Rainbows & Butterflies

I wish I could tell you that the journey to body confidence is all rainbows & butterflies. I’m the first person to say that it’s hard! Some days, your favorite jeans aren’t fitting how they used to. Or you get out of the shower & don’t like the way your stomach looks; maybe your thighs are rubbing together more. It doesn’t seem to matter your body type or age, we ALL have days when our bodies feel as though they are betraying us. Let’s shout it from the rooftops: IT SUCKS!

I’ve been having some really negative thoughts about my body lately. As much as I’ve made progress in the way I view my body, sometimes my my brain automatically goes to “You only have a few months left to lose weight for your friend’s wedding”, or “You gained weight & now you have to size up, great”, or “You can’t post that, look at your double chin!” (Some more recent examples, unfortunately).

Does having to size up in my clothes make me less valuable of a person? Will being my current weight for my friend’s wedding in January make the day any less special? The answer is no! How my body looks or how much I weigh should literally be the LAST thing on my mind on a day as special as my best friend’s wedding.

Maybe part of the beauty of striving toward body confidence is meeting yourself where you’re at; whatever stage of life or imperfection you’ve noticed. This truly is a lifelong journey; I wish, for your sake & mine, that there was a magic answer. That I could wave a wand & love everything about my body every single day. Unfortunately, not going to happen. Sometimes I can focus on the things my body can do, I can make myself feel better by throwing on a pretty dress or going for a walk. Other days, I strongly consider restrictive eating & exercising as a punishment for the weight I’ve gained.

I never, ever want to give the impression that it is an easy task to love & accept our bodies. At least, for me it isn’t, & I know that’s the case for so many of my friends & family. The beautiful women in my life, who are so perfect in my eyes, have days where they feel blah too, only able to focus on the things they dislike about themselves.

I’ve said it a million times before, but sometimes we just need to be reminded. You are worth so much more than the size you wear or what you weigh. Make beautiful, wonderful memories with people you love. That’s all that matters at the end of the day! I’ve been hateful & mean toward my body the last few weeks; the same one that let me dance with my sister via Zoom for hours after we got the election results. The same body that carries me through every stage of life, both good & bad. Today, I ate a healthy, filling breakfast. Then, I took my puppy for long, peaceful walk. I’m taking steps toward loving my body more.

Cheers to being more loving & kind to our bodies,

Danielle

Stepping Outside of my Comfort Zone

Wear the clothes you want to wear!

I kid you not, one of my favorite outfits in 4th grade was a white skirt with black & white polka dot leggings underneath. In 5th grade, I wore a hot pink blazer with a pink & orange floral top under it. Bright colors, sequins, bold patterns, I would wear it all. I never had an issue wearing exactly what I wanted to wear, no matter how daring or out there it was.

Then, society began to tell me to wear what was “flattering”. I was told to wear dark colors, they were far more slimming. I was told to not wear stripes, they would make me look wide. Don’t wear anything form-fitting, don’t wear anything sparkly. There were so many rules & suddenly, I was only focused on making myself look smaller. On wearing what would “flatter” my body.

I’m starting to see trying new trends that I love as a form of self-care. It’s so easy to get into a rut & only wear what we are used to, what makes us feel the most comfortable, what makes us look the smallest. It’s fun & feels like a way to celebrate my body, to try out a new trend like this utility style jumpsuit. I’ve seen jumpsuits like this on women with smaller bodies, but have been a little afraid to try it out for myself.

I found this jumpsuit on Thred Up, but it’s originally from Old Navy. I’ve seen some similar styles at Target & Madewell too, if you’re looking for a jumpsuit like this. It’s comfortable, HAS POCKETS, & feels just outside of my comfort zone; enough that it feels fresh & fun to style. It’s no polka dotted legging, but it’s a tiny step toward that bold, confident self from 4th grade; before society taught me that taking up less space meant that I was worth more.

Comfy + has pockets= always a winner in my book!

Wear what you love, regardless of whether society deems it “flattering”. Regardless of if a magazine told you you’re an “apple” or a “pear”. Maybe I’ll do a blog post soon about categorizing women’s bodies into types of fruit, because I think it’s kinda bullshit. Wear what you love, because your body deserves to be celebrated.

You only get one life, don’t spend it in clothes that don’t feel like YOU.

Danielle

My Experience with COVID

This past Wednesday, the thing I’ve had nightmares about for months happened. It had been the cause of many sleepless nights & many anxiety attacks. I received a positive COVID-19 test result. My hope is that sharing my experience might help someone!

First of all, I want to say that I’m thankful. While I do have asthma & have struggled at times with my coughing & breathing, I’m thankful that my symptoms have been fairly manageable & as mild as I could ask for. This virus has impacted so many people. It has taken lives & loved ones. It has caused so much pain & suffering, all around the world. For me to be able to work from home, to be able to call my parents & sister, to be feeling a little better each day, I just feel so, so thankful.

My immediate reaction after receiving my results was to call my sister & cry; I was terrified & particularly worried that I had accidentally spread it to my parents. My dad is older, so we have been extremely careful since March to protect him from getting the virus. I’ve felt more relief each day, since I haven’t seen my parents in a little while & they haven’t shown any symptoms. I wore a mask and stayed over 6 feet away from them when I saw them, but that was definitely my #1 fear when getting that test result.

I left work early last Wednesday; I felt feverish & was getting out of breath just walking around my classroom. I went to an urgent care facility the following day & had a rapid results test done; it came back as negative. My symptoms worsened over the next few days. I developed a severe, deep chest cough & was getting winded just from walking from the bedroom to the living room. I was told it was bronchitis & was given a steroid & antibiotics to treat that. My cough got worse & worse. I lost my sense of taste & smell completely a few days after that, & had trouble breathing especially at nighttime.

I had another test done, this one at CVS where I swabbed my own nose for it (the test is uncomfortable but I wouldn’t say it’s painful, hope that’s reassuring for you!) This is the test that came back positive.

As of today, I have had symptoms for 11 days. I’ve seen a huge improvement in how I’m feeling the last two days! I did take a sick day off of teaching from home on Friday, which I think is exactly what my body needed. I needed to give my body some time to rest & start to heal.

There’s a lot of emotions that come along with this; gratitude for sure, like I mentioned! There’s also frustration, because I have been so cautious since March. But, you can be exposed to the virus anywhere, whether it’s at work or wherever. It’s feeling unsafe in your own body. It’s a lot.

If you get a negative result but are still having symptoms (especially with a rapid result test!) please consider getting another test. Apparently it’s not that uncommon to get a false negative, which I was unaware of!

Take this virus seriously, please. Take precautions to keep you & your loved ones safe. I wouldn’t wish this virus on anyone.

This is a long post, apparently I have a lot to say! I did want to include a few things that have been helpful with managing my symptoms.

  • Thankfully I have an inhaler for my asthma, which has been so helpful!
  • Vick’s vapor rub-I put this on my chest & back & then take a super hot shower.
  • Mucinex, DayQuil, NyQuil
  • REST!!!
Puppy snuggles help, too! Theo has been the sweetest boy taking care of his momma. 💕

If this is something you are dealing with, I’m so sorry. I’m sending you healing & love! I’m also going to link the CDC’s website here, as it’s a good resource for information.

Lastly, thank you to my family & friends who have been checking in with me every day since I found out. I’m a lucky girl!

Danielle