kindness

Introducing: No Stress November

funny-no-shave-november-no-job-decemberHey readers! Can you believe it’s practically November? In the past month, we’ve experienced a major hurricane, countless Halloween parties, and the devastating aftermath of the Brangelina split — and yet somehow, it feels like October went by in a flash.

November tends to be one of my busiest months of the year at work and in school, with my calendar filling up with events and deadlines well before the month even begins. This year, to stay sane at an admittedly crazy time, I’m implementing No Stress November, a 30-day wellness challenge designed to decompress for a few minutes each day. I invite you to join me!

Below is my list of 30 items to complete throughout the 30 days of November. The rule is to do at least one of these things per day (with repeats allowed!), and you are welcome to customize the list to meet your own needs. Planning to tag along? Use the hashtag #NoStressNovember on social media and share what you’re up to! 🙂

Below is my list for the No Stress November challenge. Feel free to use all of these or switch them up based on your personal preferences. I’ll check in throughout the month with my own progress and reflections. Enjoy!

  1. Go for a 30-minute walk outside.
  2. Cook a meal you’ve never made before.
  3. Color in an adult coloring book.
  4. Donate your time to community service.
  5. Get your hair professionally done.
  6. Spend 30 minutes meditating.
  7. Take a full day away from social media.
  8. Lay out by the pool.
  9. Buy yourself fresh flowers.
  10. Test out a new makeup tutorial.
  11. Practice 30 minutes of yoga.
  12. Visit a place you have never been before.
  13. Go out for brunch.
  14. Perform a random act of kindness.
  15. Clean out your purse/briefcase.
  16. Lift weights.
  17. Write a love letter (or kind note) to yourself.
  18. Watch a documentary or TED Talk.
  19. Take extra time to pamper yourself.
  20. Write down 50 things you are thankful for.
  21. Connect with an old friend.
  22. De-clutter an area of your home.
  23. Make a list of places to visit in the next five years.
  24. Dedicate 30 minutes to writing.
  25. Create a fun playlist.
  26. Revamp your monthly budget.
  27. Build something with LEGOs.
  28. Watch stand-up comedy.
  29. Use essential oils.
  30. Spend the day with family.

Participating with me? Let me know in the comments section below, and share your progress on social media with the hashtag #NoStressNovember!

Link Love Wednesday: Go Away, Caillou

caillouHey there, readers, and happy new year! I hope everyone had a fabulous time celebrating with friends and family, and that you are all settling in nicely to 2015 2016. (I think it will take me until about March to get that right!)

The new year has been treating me well so far, and I’m looking forward to all the opportunities and adventures ahead. To kick things off, let’s dig into the first Link Love of 2016!

Things I’m Loving Lately

  • Aziz Ansari’s Netflix show Master of None. This show is incredibly accurate for twenty-somethings, and the episode about the crazy things that women have to deal with really hit close to home for me.
  • This amazing Whole30 compliant Thai Curry recipe. I’ve been making it at least once a week.
  • The Kite Runner by Khaled Hosseini. Amazing page-turner so far!

What awesome links are you finding this week? Share your latest link love in the comments section below!

Link Love Wednesday: Post Valentine’s Day Bliss

Link LoveHope everyone who celebrated had a wonderful Valentine’s Day or, for many of us, Day-To-Eat-All-The-Things! I’ll admit that my Whole60 went off the rails around the holiday, with a few nights out to dinner and more chocolate temptation than I knew what to do with. Thankfully, my junk food honeymoon period is reaching its end, and I’m ready to start trying new healthy recipes again. How did everyone else celebrate the holiday?

As you recover from your own sugar comas, take a look at the latest and greatest in Link Love! 🙂

What are some of your favorite links throughout the week?

Link Love Tuesday: Happy Holidays!

hanukkah-kwanzaa-happy-holidays-christmas-season-ecards-someecardsHappy Hanukkah to all my readers who celebrate! I wish you a joyous holiday filled with latkes and devoid of stupid questions. 🙂 As for many of my other readers, can you believe that Christmas is almost here? The year has flown by, and while I look forward to celebrating every holiday I can with my loved ones, I would like to hold onto 2014 a little longer. What are you most looking forward to this holiday season?

 

What are some of your favorite links and articles for the week?

The Friday Five: Holidays to Observe All Year

With Thanksgiving just around the corner, it’s nearly impossible not to have the holidays on your mind. Of course, as much as I enjoy pumpkin pie and cranberry sauce, I absolutely love the holiday’s vibe – the reminder that we should be thankful for all that we have and more. Of course, November 24 is not the only day we should set aside to give thanks — that day should be every day!

This week, I would like to take a look at some of the holidays we should observe more often. Feel free to chime in with your own in the comments section below!

The Friday Five: Holidays to Observe All Year

1. Thanksgiving.
Well, if that wasn’t a given, I don’t know what is. 🙂 We should take some time out of every day to reflect upon how fortunate we are, regardless of how stressful life can be.

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2. Valentine’s Day.
Telling someone “I Love You” shouldn’t be restricted to February 14. Doing something spontaneous and sweet for your significant other will mean a lot more to that person if it happens on a random Tuesday rather than a holiday when everyone feels obligated to be romantic. Similarly, you should show small acts of kindness toward everyone throughout the year, instead of saving up for one grand gesture and a remainder of mediocrity and halfheartedness.

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3. New Year’s.
This doesn’t mean you need to get rip-roaring drunk every night and cheer when the clock strikes 12 — you can save that until December 31. However, many people wait until the New Year (and occasionally Rosh Hashanah, the Jewish New Year) to make amends for past mistakes and to create new goals and resolutions. However, we should spend the whole year working on ourselves, not just one small window of time. If we set reasonable expectations throughout the year, we are more likely to stick to them and see some real results. Besides, it is never too late in the year to reinvent yourself.

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4. Independence Day.
Most people tend to be patriotic around the Fourth of July, Memorial Day or a national disaster, but when barbecues and fireworks aren’t taking place, a lot of us forget what it means to be American. You don’t need to be in-your-face about your nationality, but it is important to be present by recognizing how lucky you are to be where you are. (I understand that some readers do not live in the U.S., so feel free to replace this one with one of your homeland’s own national holidays!)

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5. Halloween.
The spookiest holiday of the year is all about overcoming your fears and allowing yourself to have fun. As Robert California from The Office says in a recent episode, “Fear plays an interesting role in our lives. How dare we let it motivate us? How dare we let it into our decision making, into our livelihoods, into our relationships?” By stepping out of our comfort zones more than once every year, we allow ourselves to develop and grow as human beings (or ghouls).

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What are your favorite holidays, and what have they taught you?

Happy holidays, everyone! 🙂

The Struggle To Conduct Ourselves

“The best portion of a good man’s life is his little, nameless, unremembered acts of kindness and love.” – William Wordsworth

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Rarely do I write about the decay of our social niceties, but more and more I’m noticing that the world seems to be breaking the rules of etiquette that were ingrained in our heads as children. In 2011, we’ve come a long way –we can connect with people all around the world, we use science for the good of our communities, and we have become a lot more kindhearted and accepting of those different from us (although we still could stand to improve in that arena!).

However, perhaps in our mad rush to do as much as we can in as little time as possible, we have sacrificed some of the laws of proper decorum. Sometimes it hurts to see how much we lose in exchange for efficiency.

I’m not asking everyone to enroll in finishing school or sign up for Cotillion, but if we could each take a step back, maybe we could learn to conduct ourselves in a better way. Next time you’re out somewhere: say please and thank you. Hold the door open for someone. Clean up after yourself. Pay genuine compliments. Be gracious when you receive a compliment. Make time to be polite and friendly, especially to those serving you. Don’t mumble (unless you are talking to your parents and trying to annoy them). When a guest in someone’s home, offer to help your hostess in the kitchen; even if she insists that you should just sit down and make yourself comfortable, she will appreciate the gesture. Don’t leave unwanted clothes in the fitting room. Try to learn the other person’s name and say it when appropriate (as Dale Carnegie once said, the most beautiful sound is the sound of your own name). Remember the easily-forgotten tidbits about your friends and pull them out every so often, like a favorite sweater that you would hate to wear out. Come prepared and organized when you attend interviews, meetings and other professional events. Smile like you mean it.

The little things really do mean the most, as my friend Kalehli so elegantly puts it on her blog, and so in our quests for world domination, let’s try our best to keep the world of conscientiousness and kindness alive. 🙂