Self-Care Isn’t Selfish: 3 Ways Self-Care Benefits Others

Self-care is one of the latest buzzwords, and a controversial one at that. Some people are huge advocates of self-care.  Others say it’s unnecessary. Either side of the argument boils down to whether or not self-care is selfish.

There is a misconception that self-care is the same thing as self-indulgence. It’s not. Self-care is simply providing for your own needs. One of the biggest reasons that people don’t practice self-care regularly is because they feel guilty about putting so much focus on themselves. They associate “me time” with ignoring responsibilities. But this is an over-simplified view of what true self-care really is. Putting yourself first does not mean you’re putting others last. Self-care is not black or white. And self-care is not selfish. In fact, practicing your own self-care can be extremely beneficial to the people you love! Here’s how.

Continue reading

Develop a Time Management System to Rock your Work Week

Develop a Time Management System to Rock your Work Week

Happy Monday everyone! My husband and I just got back from our vacation to the Upper Peninsula of Michigan where we went backpacking in the wilderness and almost got eaten by bears  got to see a bunch of amazing scenery. I will be talking more about our amazing trip later this week!

For now, I’m falling back into being productive. In the days leading up to vacation, I find it hard to focus on my work and get things done. I notice that I am very busy but not necessarily productive. My productivity tanks when my brain is somewhere else. Now that I’m back from vacation, I’m sharing all of my favorite tips on creating a time management system to rock your work week!

Continue reading

The Life-Changing Power of Gratitude

The Life-Changing Power of Gratitude

This post contains affiliate links. This means that I may receive a small commission from clicks or purchases made through my links at no additional cost to you. I will only ever promote products that I know and love, and that I think you will love too! Thank you for supporting The Light Owl!

When I was in college, a professor of mine used to preach to us about the power of gratitude and encouraged us to express thankfulness in our everyday lives. I found it SO cheesy at the time. Anytime he would ask us to complete a gratitude exercise, it made me cringe. It felt forced because I didn’t feel like I had very much to be thankful for.

When I was in college, I struggled with depression and anxiety. It felt impossible for me to find things to be grateful for unless they were very big things like acing an exam, or seeing my boyfriend-now-husband. I was at a point in my life where I (admittedly) felt entitled. That’s sort of painful to say out loud. What’s worse, however, is that I had no idea at the time that I felt that entitled at all! (Self awareness is a beautiful thing, people!)

Seven years post-graduation, I see that I had an enormous amount of things to be thankful for. I was going to a prestigious private university, which my parents helped pay for,  I traveled abroad, and I worked with professors who mentored me and challenged me. I say none of this to brag but to show how these major privileges I had in my early 20s went unnoticed. It also makes me sad to think about how grateful I could have been for all that I was given if only I paid attention.

Continue reading

How to Create a Morning Routine to Start your Day Right

How to Create a Morning Routine to Start your Day Right

Recently, I was reading through some fellow bloggers’ posts when I stumbled on a post from Blissfully Brunette called 8 Small Improvements to Live a Blissful Life. Kiara posted a great tip about the importance of having a solid morning and evening routine. Reading her article made me realize that I have been slacking on my morning routine lately. And I am feeling it!

Life without a morning routine feels chaotic. I start my days hitting the snooze more than a couple of times and wake up sometimes almost an hour later than I intended. After that, I spend my morning rushing around, complaining to myself, and neglecting priorities. I get to work feeling frazzled and it takes me some time to calm down and settle into work mode.

I have made a lot of excuses for shrugging off my morning routine. But the truth is, life gets unnecessarily complicated without it. Kiara reminded us that a morning routine helps us to enjoy our mornings and be more productive. Today, you and I are in this together. I’m going to get back into my morning routine and I’m inviting you to join me!

Continue reading

Mindful Mondays Series Part Four: Mindful Fitness

Practicing Mindful Fitness

Practicing mindful fitness has been a game-changer for me. I used to hate working out. There are days that I still drag my feet to exercise, I’ll admit that. But ever since learning about mindfulness and learning how to choose more mindful fitness activities, my stamina, motivation, and attitude have all improved!

Exercise is an important aspect of living a well-rounded life of health and wellness. But lots of times, working out itself can really well… suck. You may find yourself getting up in your head and start saying to yourself “I’m so out of shape.” “I’m never going to lose this weight.” “This is too hard.” Sound familiar? And yet, walking out of the gym can leave you with a sense of accomplishment and an endorphin high. You feel great and begin to question why you ever hated working out in the first place.

Today we’ll talk about ways to start practicing more mindful fitness activities. Adding mindfulness to everyday life can lead to higher life satisfaction, more gratitude, improved mental health, and so many other benefits! For more information on how mindfulness can change your life, check out the first part in this series, What is Mindfulness?

Related readings:

Continue reading

What Wonder Woman Teaches about Female Empowerment

What Wonder Woman Teaches about Female Empowerment

I went to see Wonder Woman in theaters on Saturday. Have you seen it yet? I had my hopes set pretty high because I’m a big fan of superhero movies, and all week I heard a lot of hype about the film on the radio and from friends. As expected, the movie was amazing, the cast was great, and I was left surprised in the end. I was also pleasantly impressed at the sheer number of empowerment themes in the film. Wonder Woman had both great story telling and a great message, particularly for women. As I was stuffing my face with popcorn (is there really a graceful way to eat it? Thank goodness the lights were off!), I was excitedly planning this article for you, talking about the inspiring lessons from the movie!

Before we jump into the girl power stuff, I’ll tell you a bit about the film. Don’t worry– I won’t spoil it!

Continue reading

Mindful Mondays Series Part Two: Being Mindful with Body Scans

Mindful Monday Series Part Two: Being Mindful with Body Scans

Welcome back to my Mindful Monday Series! If you haven’t had a chance to check out the rest of the Mindful Monday series, check out last week’s post here!

Technology is pretty amazing right? We have wearable technology that tracks everything from our steps to our heart rate. We have apps to remind us to drink water and when to go to bed. I have a love-hate relationship with wearable tech. It has made much of my life more convenient and helped me become more mindful about lifestyle choices. But I, like many others, have at times become too reliant on technology to monitor how I am feeling. People are forgetting the art of listening to their bodies to tell them what they need.

Continue reading

Top 5 Outdoor Activities to Keep you Fit and Happy this Summer

Top 5 Outdoor Activities to Keep you Fit and Happy this Summer

This post contains affiliate links. This means that I may receive a small commission from clicks or purchases made through my links at no additional cost to you. I will only ever promote products that I know and love, and that I think you will love too! Thank you for supporting The Light Owl!

Summer is here!

It’s official! The days are getting longer. Memorial Day has come and gone. Summer is finally here and I am a happy camper! Summer is my favorite season for so many reasons. Sunshine is a proven mood-booster due to its ability to increase serotonin in your brain. (That’s a happy chemical!) In Michigan it is cloudy more often than it’s sunny, so I look forward to the sunny season and the guaranteed mood boost I get every year.

Summer is also the easiest season for me to get fit and be active. When the thermometer hits 70 degrees, I’m outside and moving almost constantly! Since exercise produces endorphins in your brain (more happy chemicals!), I feel great both physically and emotionally after a workout. In turn, I feel more motivated in my everyday life (thank you dopamine–happy chemical number three!). Summer equals happiness chemical trifecta.

Although I enjoy a good gym workout as much as the next person, I like that summer allows me to be more creative in the way that I stay fit. Here is my list of my Top 5 outdoor activities that keep me fit and happy in the summertime!

Continue reading

Mindful Monday Series Part One: What is Mindfulness?

Introduction to Mindfulness

“Mindfulness” has become a buzzword in the last several years. Lots of people have heard it but few know how to be mindful. So let’s start with what mindfulness is NOT in order to better describe what it is!

Mindfulness is NOT:

  • Meditation
  • Prayer
  • Clearing your mind
  • Overthinking
  • Thinking positively
  • Inherently religious

Mindfulness is a way of paying attention to the moment on purpose and without judgement. How many of you are like me and can be quick to judge an experience as either good or bad? I say “good OR bad” because you can be unmindful and positive at the same time. Confusing right? Well, not really. At the basis of being mindful is simply noticing or observing your own experiences.

Continue reading