my favorite positive affirmations

Amidst a pandemic of both COVID-19 and racism, I have been feeling a lot more anxious. I am scared of those abusing power in our society and urgently want to protect the vulnerable. I know this situation is not about me and that I am nowhere near being a victim during this time. I want to do all that I can to support the victims and protestors, but I also must take care of my own mental well-being to do so. Below are some links to petitions I have signed and places to donate, and I encourage you all to support in whatever way you can. I recognize that this post of affirmations may come across as unnecessary or tone-deaf during this time, as there are much larger societal issues that we must address, but I hope it can bring you all a bit of peace and self-reassurance as we continue the battle against racism. Whenever I am feeling particularly overwhelmed or helpless, these are some of my favorite affirmations to tell myself. We are all incredibly strong individuals who WILL bring about the societal change we desperately need.

Affirmations to remind you of your strength and power:

I am strong and capable.

I have the ability to make a positive change in this world.

I am more than my thoughts.

I am worthy of giving and receiving love.

I am a source of positivity.

I give myself the time and space that I need to grow.

I control how I respond to situations.

I stand up for injustices.

My opinions matter.

5 things that have made me happy this week

Last week was kinda rough for me. I was feeling very frustrated and angry with this whole situation and just wanting everything to be normal again. Very self-centered but also valid? Anyways, I had a much better week this week and here are some of my highlights!

  1. Meeting up with friends at a park: I know this isn’t exactly staying home and social distancing, but it was exactly what I needed. I met up with two of my good friends at a park and just hung out in the parking lot and talked. We couldn’t hug, or even come within six feet of each other, but it made me feel like things were a little bit more normal.
Photo taken by Daniel Hamilton

2. Seeing two eagles: Just as some people are storm chasers, I consider myself an eagle chaser. If I know about a nest, I will be visiting and singing “God Bless America” at the top of my lungs. My boyfriend and I went on a hike to see these eagles at a local park, which also drastically improved my mood. I plan on writing a post about the benefit that nature seemingly has on my spiritual and mental health which will hopefully better put this feeling into words.

3. Starting summer classes: I was definitely relieved to be done with the spring semester, but it also left me feeling restless with nothing to do. I started two of my summer classes on Wednesday and I am very excited to learn more about topics that interest me and to have more of a schedule.

4. Going on a walk: On Mother’s Day, I enjoyed walking through the woods behind my house with my mom and two dogs. It gave me a greater appreciation for my family and where we live. I had been feeling somewhat trapped in my house, and just wanting to go anywhere, but seeing a different perspective of my neighborhood made me accept and enjoy my situation more.

5. Watching the Back to the Future trilogy: I love these movies so much. When I saw them all on Netflix, I immediately dedicated my day to watching them. I don’t think I’ve ever watched them back to back before, but it made all of the repetitive scenes so much funnier for me. Marty McFly, I love you.

Love, Olivia

how and why i journal

My completed journal collection

I am a very nostalgic person and journaling comes pretty naturally for me. It has been such a valuable resource for my own mental health, and I love being able to flip through the pages of my life. I have been regularly writing my daily activities and feelings in notebooks for about 10 years, which are definitely the inanimate objects I would save in a fire if I could (Sorry Passport, you were a close second!).

My regular style of journaling is very basic and is probably what everyone first considers when they think of keeping a journal or diary. My journals from fourth through sixth grade are literally just pages of me changing my crush on a daily basis. I just write whatever is on my mind for that specific day, which could be what I did, how I feel, or what I dreamed about the night before. I try to write daily, but I probably end up writing about three times a week. I really love this style of written expression that I have grown into, but recently I have incorporated other styles of journaling into my routine.

I have three alternative notebooks that I use less frequently than my main journal. My first other journal is a pocket-sized notebook where I write funny things down. I carry this around with me and write down funny phrases, events, or jokes that I experience. I started keeping this in high school, and I am so glad I did. Whenever I am feeling down, I can look back and find something to laugh about. I haven’t been writing in this one that much for the past two months, but I have been looking at old entries a lot.

My second notebook is what I call my bullet journal, but it’s really just a random notebook. I write down to-do lists, blog ideas, and class notes in here. I have enjoyed having this junk drawer of a journal, and I think it has helped me be more productive (and keep track of the passing days) during my quarantine time.

My final notebook is something I have only started in the past week, where I write down stories from my family. I was inspired to do this after looking through old family pictures with my dad and listening to his childhood stories. I hope this is something I keep up, as I have really enjoyed it so far!

My current four journals

I don’t think you need a separate notebook for whatever you want to journal about, but loving stationary is part of my journaling curse. You don’t even need a physical journal, there are so many online options available if you prefer that! If you are interested in starting to journal, I would recommend just writing and not thinking too much about it. This sounds like horrible advice, but you will never start unless you actually start. You will find your own style and what you like to write about over time. However, if you are already into journaling and looking to expand what you write about, I hope you can find some inspiration from this post! Blogging has been another journal-like creative outlet for me, where I have to refine my writing a bit more and talk more generally about topics. I really appreciate this format as it has allowed me to connect with more people than my private notebooks allow.

Love, Olivia

6 of my best and worst habits

Has life in quarantine highlighted some of your personal habits for better or worse? I know for me this time has made me recognize some of my productive and destructive habits. I have been trying to break some of these bad habits, but I suspect it will be a very gradual process. Like with any personal growth, giving yourself credit for positive things can help boost motivation. Use this list as inspiration to reevaluate your own personal habits but try not to compare yours to mine. We are all on our own journeys and my “good” habits do not invalidate yours. Also, nothing to do with the actual content but this post is best read while listening to “Habit” by Still Woozy.

My proudest, most valuable, and close to my heart habits:

  1. Washing my face: This seems very basic, but I will always wash my face at night, no matter how tired I am. I used to just lay in bed and plan to wash my face in a few minutes but would consistently fall asleep before actually following through. Now, I make a habit of washing my face before actually laying down. I have seen an improvement in my skin since doing so, and it just makes me feel better about myself before going to sleep.
  2. Always reading a book: This habit definitely depends on the amount of free time I have, but I try to always be reading a book. This doesn’t make me a fast reader though, as I probably only spend around 20 minutes a day reading. I usually do this reading at night, which I feel like has made a nice routine for me. I am currently reading Me before you by Jojo Moyes and I am really enjoying it so far.
  3. Regular exercise: This is interesting to me because I don’t have a regular exercise routine in terms of the activities that I do, but I do exercise in some form at least four times a week. Some of my favorite activities are running, hiking, or walking my dogs. As I have found myself inside more, I have been trying out some workouts like yoga, barre, and HIIT which I have been loving so far.

Now, welcome to the dark side of my worst habits:

  1. Blindly clicking buttons on my computer screen: This sounds very dumb, which I know my wording isn’t helping, but I will click through online agreements without reading a thing like my life depends on it. I am no stranger to requesting a refund in a customer service chat room after being mysteriously charged for something my unconscious brain agreed to. I have been trying to break this habit by forcing myself to just read things, but it has not been easy as it has literally become such a bad HABIT!!
  2. Procrastinating for productivity: For some reason, I can only start writing an essay within 48 hours of the deadline. This causes a lot of stress for me, but I always get it done with a good grade so there are no actual consequences. I have been trying to prioritize my wellbeing by actively getting ahead of schedule, but I find I usually have no motivation to do so. As online school continues, I hope to develop more of a schoolwork routine.
  3. Displacing my stress onto others: This is probably my worst habit that I have noticed during this time. I’m not sure if displacing is the correct word (I plan to take some psychology courses over the summer but for now I am just working with the knowledge from a high school introduction course) but I frequently look for petty drama or fights with those around me whenever I am dealing with pressing deadlines. I think I use this as a sort of distraction for me. If I am in the middle of an argument, it is hard to focus on an assignment for school, but it is a toxic characteristic that I don’t want to identify with.

Let me know if this post made you do any reflection of yourself. What are your favorite personal characteristics or habits that you keep? Also remember that your “bad” habits do not make you a bad person, they just reflect some areas of your life that you need to pay more attention to. I am hoping to turn some of my bad habits into favorable habits that serve me and my loved ones.

Love, Olivia

improving while loving yourself

Every time I have logged onto social media the past few weeks, I see more and more at home workouts. I have been enjoying trying out new workouts like barre, but I question the motives behind these workouts. Everyone seems to want to use this time to improve themselves physically, and although I am all for self-improvement (literally the basis of this blog), I think one’s mindset makes all the difference. I myself am no stranger to looking in the mirror and then completing a workout powered by self-hatred or tracking my calories using fitness apps to lose a few pounds. This cycle has never gotten long-term results. Sure, for about a month I could see my body toning up, but it would not last long. Soon, I would be on the complete opposite track with constantly eating junk food and rarely exercising. I believe this failure was because of my mindset of hating the body I was in at the time. You aren’t going to automatically love your body if you do lose those five pounds you’ve been hating, your mind is just going to find something else to dislike about yourself.

When I stopped focusing on the results and started trusting (and enjoying) the process, I started seeing the results that I had wanted for so many of my pre-teen years. I have found that the most positive thing for me to focus on is not how my body looks, but what it can do for me. My body provides me with abilities to do all of the things I love to do; my legs can carry me up great mountains to see magnificent views, my hands can write amazing stories and make delicious food, and my mouth can laugh and sing and joke. When I think in this way, I am inspired to provide the right fuel for my body by eating healthy and exercising regularly. When you actually love yourself, it is easier to take care of yourself as you become more invested.  

Of course, I am talking mainly about physical features but I wouldn’t encourage you to form your self-image simply around these traits as your body has changed so much since you have been alive and will continue to change. Learning to love your body through each stage of your life and fitness journey can also aid you in your own emotional growth. Recognizing that your body will look different, and starting to embrace those changes, may encourage you to look inwards. Your personality might change slightly over time along with your physical features, but you will always be the same person on the inside.

Remember that this quarantine is not a fitness or productivity competition. It is okay if you don’t lose five pounds or finally write your memoir. This time is very overwhelming, and people should cope in the healthiest and most sustainable way for them. When I say healthy and sustainable, I just mean don’t turn to destructive habits as they will not serve you and will just make this time more difficult for you. Try taking up a new hobby, but also have a bag of chips when you want. This is very cliché of me to say, but life is truly about balance. Love, even self-love, is about giving and receiving. Make sure to be taking care of yourself during this time and remember that this self-care can take multiple forms that might not appear on a Pinterest pin.