10 Uplifting Self-Care Quotes That Will Help You Survive Your Hardest Days

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Why Happiness Is The Ultimate Currency

See PsychCentral Article Here
By 

My friend Avi is a great barber. His customers, myself included, refer to his golden hands — his ability to satisfy my son’s desire to look like Ronaldo, or a woman’s desire before her daughter’s wedding to look like Grace Kelly. Putting his phenomenal skills together with his sound business sense, Avi could have easily expanded his business far beyond his little salon.

So I asked him one day why he chose not to grow his business by adding a bigger place in a more central location in the city, or by opening other branches. Avi said he’d thought about it several times but in the end decided against it: “I asked myself, is this something I really want, or is it something others think I should do?” He went on to describe the can-must link that’s so pervasive in our culture: the belief that if you can grow, you must grow. But why?

Avi explained that over a decade ago, he understood that no matter how much he had — a bigger house, a faster car, a fatter bank account — he would always want more. He could choose to continue in the rat race and never satisfy his desires, or he could stop the race and be satisfied with what he had. He went on to quote a Jewish source, the Chapters of the Fathers: “Who is rich? He who is happy with his lot.”

Cutting hair in his small salon gives Avi the emotional gratification no amount of money could buy. His daily experiences were worth more than all of the gold in Fort Knox because happiness, not wealth or prestige, is the ultimate currency.

What, for you, is worth all of the gold in Fort Knox? Can you envision something in your life that would provide you with an abundance of happiness? To identify sources of the ultimate currency in your life, follow these four steps:

Step 1: Record your daily activities.

For a week (or two), keep a record of your daily activities. Throughout the day, write down how you’ve spent your time, from a twenty-minute session responding to e-mails to a night of binge-watching TV. This record doesn’t need to be a precise, minute-by-minute account of your day, but it should give you a sense of what your days tend to look like.

Step 2: Assign meaning and pleasure.

Once your activity list is complete, create a table that lists each activity, how much meaning and pleasure the activity provides, and how long you typically spend doing it. Indicate whether you’d like to spend more or less time on each activity by adding a “+” for more time or a “++” for a lot more time. If you’d like to spend less time on the activity, put a “−” next to it; for a lot less time, write “−−.” If you’re satisfied with time you’re investing in a particular activity, or if changing the amount of time you spend isn’t possible for one reason or another, add an “=” next to it.

Step 3: Highlight activities with high-yield happiness.

Which of your activities provide the most happiness in the least about of time? Are there things you don’t do now, but would yield significant profits in the ultimate currency? Would going to the movies once a week contribute to your well-being? Would it make you happier to devote four hours a week to your favorite charity and to work out three times a week? If you have many constraints and can’t introduce significant changes, make the most of what you have.

Step 4: Introduce happiness boosters.

What happiness boosters — brief activities that provide both meaning and pleasure –could you introduce into your life? If your commute to work is a drag but is unavoidable, try to infuse it with meaning and pleasure. For instance, you could listen to audio books or your favorite music for part of the ride. Alternatively, take the train and use the time to read. Then, as much as possible, ritualize these changes.

One of the many lessons I learned from my barber is that material wealth is not a prerequisite for the ultimate currency, and that dollars and cents are no substitute for meaning and pleasure. As the psychologist Carl Jung once said, “The least of things with a meaning is worth more in life than the greatest of things without it.”

30 Things To Keep In Mind When You’re Struggling

See ThoughtCatalog Article Here
By Brea Johnson

No matter your age we all struggle and sometimes that struggle feels like it’ll last forever but it doesn’t. One thing that I always remember for myself is that my pain is inevitable but my staying in suffering is a choice. Let’s talk about the 30 things to remember when it feels the world is crashing around you.

1. I always say this, ITS OKAY NOT TO BE OKAY. Don’t guilt yourself for how you feel, it’s valid. You have no issues accepting yourself in a happy space, the dark spaces are a part of you too. Embrace it little by little (I can discuss how in another post, no worries).

2. Eat, this really just popped in my head. I have a tendency to forget to eat when I’m upset but it only makes things worse. Your body needs fuel and when you neglect that, it only worsens your mental space.

3. Don’t decide for your friends or loved ones that they can’t handle you. There are going to be people you hold dear that don’t understand or can’t provide support but don’t judge everyone because of that one person. People will surprise you and let’s be real you need the support in this time.

4. Don’t isolate. This means avoiding calls, text, and all contact. Inevitably it makes you feel more alone. Let people in.

5. Your family loving you counts, don’t count them out because they’re family. I can remember saying to my mom “you have to love me I’m your child”, but I’ve learned through my Mental Health practice…. that’s not so true.

6. There is something to be grateful for, even if it’s as small as the warmth your covers give you. Try to say one thing a day you’re grateful for it goes a long way.

7. Having a day where you stay in bed and watch your favorite show is okay. It doesn’t mean you are less than, it just means you need a day. Take it.

8. Self-sabotage is real when you’re feeling sad. We as people want to prove ourselves right that we aren’t good enough or that person doesn’t love us. Learn to recognize any self-sabotaging behavior you possess.

9. You’ve got something special to offer the world, I know it sounds corny but in suffering we don’t see ourselves as we truly are. Don’t let this time of suffering take that away from you, instead let it help you grow more into the person you’re meant to be.

10. You’ll find your way back to yourself but understand it’ll take the 3 p’s, patience, persistence, and pain (acceptance of).

11. That heartbreaking thing that person said to you a long time ago or yesterday doesn’t have to be your reality. You decide always who you are, some contribute but you’re the CEO that approves the message.

12. Avoiding pain only makes it come back stronger. The sooner you learn to process pain the sooner you’ll be able to navigate it and let it teach you something.

13. Drinking or using drugs will not make it better. Alcohol is a depressant that should tell you enough and drugs will mask it and act like it’s gone but come knocking on your door at 2am asking where you’ve been. I’m not against a wine night with your friends and crying it out BUT every day no, no, and no.

14. Put your favorite song on and dance it out. Studies suggest moving the body is good for those that suffer from anxiety, depression, etc. LOL I’m such a “studies suggest” person…bear with me.

15. Crying is not for the weak, holding all that in can be damaging let it out.

16. When you feel somewhat ready, identify why you’re suffering.

17. You know it was coming…. seek out therapy. Talking to someone that is non-judgmental can be refreshing.

18. You are stronger than you’re giving yourself credit for.

19. It’s okay to feel wronged and disappointed, we just can’t stay in that space, love…It at times can breed self-loathing and that’s not you.

20. If you have children it’s okay to let them see you be a human. I’m not suggesting breaking things and so on but it’s okay to let them know mommy’s going through a hard time but she’ll be okay. Kids can be the best comforters by just giving you a hug

21. You matter, simple.

22. Getting creative can help to express the pain you’re unable to put in words. Grab a paintbrush or some clay.

23. Someday you’ll look at this period of time in your life and wonder how you got through it AND you’ll be proud of yourself.

24. No one person is worth you staying in suffering unless you deem it so.

Want to add a caption to this image? Click the Settings icon.

25. You’re in control, don’t forget.

26. There’s a light at the end of the tunnel but you gotta walk towards it; it’s not coming to you.

27. Learning radical acceptance will change your life.

28. Did I mention you matter and you have something to offer the universe? okay cool.

29. I’m rooting for you. Sending positive vibes your way always.

30. CHIN UP!

The 10 Best Self-Care Apps of 2019

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by 

No matter what you do, you have to find moments to rejuvenate. Self-care is critical to managing stress and living a healthy life. To that end, we’ve compiled a list of the best self-care apps available in 2019. Whether you have an hour to spare or just a few minutes, there’s room for self-care with these tools.

 

Strides Habit Tracker: Best Self-Care App to Track Important Daily Habits

Screenshots of Stride on iPhone

What We Like

  • Strides works on all Apple devices, including the Apple Watch.
  • It tracks all of your goals and daily habits in one place, in checklist form.

What We Don’t Like

  • You need to add each of your goals and habits separately before you can start tracking.

Are you drinking enough water? What about getting enough sleep? The Strides Habit Tracker makes it easy to track those goals and habits you need to be your best self. After adding each of your individual goals and healthy habits, you’ll be able to see a daily checklist of tasks to keep you on target.

Strides will also send notifications on your device to remind you of your goals. You can also see your daily and long-term progress using the in-app charts. Strides is currently available for free for all iOS and watchOS devices, but for unlimited trackers, web syncing, and data protection, there’s Strides Plus for $29.99 per year.

 

MyFitnessPal: Best Self Motivation App for Tracking Fitness Goals

Screenshots of MyFitnessPal on iPhone

What We Like

  • Tracking your daily calorie count is easy with the built-in menu offering thousands of products to choose from.

What We Don’t Like

  • Isn’t completely ad free without purchasing the pro version.

If exercise and healthy eating habits are part of your personal self-care routine, then MyFitnessPal is an excellent app to have in your arsenal. You can count your daily calorie intake using the in-app menu, or track your exercise. MyFitnessPal keeps track of your weight, fitness, and more to help you reach your goals.

MyFitnessPal is available for both iOS and Android devices. It’s free to download and use, but to remove ads, you’ll need to upgrade to Premium for either $9.99 a month or $49.99 a year.

 

Grateful: A Gratitude Journal: Perfect Self-Care Journal for Showing Daily Gratitude

Screenshot of Grateful App on iPhone

What We Like

  • The interface is easy to use and uncluttered.
  • The journal is prompt-based for easy recording.

What We Don’t Like

  • The free version only allows you to enter 15 entries.

Studies have shown that showing gratitude is a surefire way to improve your mental and emotional health. However, we’re often too busy to whip out a journal and pen. The Grateful gratitude journal is right on your phone, making it perfect for quick use. It offers daily prompts to help you record your thoughts and even allows you to take photos in the moment.

Grateful: A Gratitude Journal is free to download for iOS devices, but, to unlock unlimited journal entries, you’ll need to purchase the premium version for $4.99.

 

Youper: Your Own Personal Pocket Confidant

Screenshot of Youper app on iPhone

What We Like

  • The quick conversations help you better understand your mood or situation.
  • You can see an overview of your various emotions over the course of time.

What We Don’t Like

  • The guided meditations can’t be accessed without going through the Youper Assistant.

Sometimes, you just need someone, or something, to talk to, right? The Youper AI Assistant helps you understand and record your emotions through in-app conversations. As you converse with Youper, the app will learn more about you and what makes you tick. Over time, you’ll be able to see what makes you feel certain emotions to help you better manage your emotional health.

Youper starts by asking you how you are. As you record your emotions and answer questions, Youper gives you options such as guided meditations and thought processing. Youper is free to download and use for both iOS and Android devices.

 

Day One Journal: Great Self-Care App for Journaling Your Way to Better Health

Screenshot of Day One app on iPhone

What We Like

  • You can use multiple journals for multiple things.
  • Day One allows you to write, take photos, and record moments all in one app.

What We Don’t Like

  • To use the multiple journal feature, you’ll need to upgrade.

Journaling is a vital habit, especially for self-care. The Day One Journal makes it easy by giving you everything you need in one app. Record your thoughts, ideas, goals, and aspirations with text or photos using the easy interface. Your data is also encrypted with end-to-end encryption inside of the app.

Take a few moments each day to record what makes you happy, what inspires you or what lights your fire using the Day One Journal. It’s free to download for both iOS and Android devices, but to unlock features such as multiple journals, you’ll need to purchase the premium version for $24.99 a year.

 

Pzizz: A Self Help App to Get Better and More Restful Sleep

Screenshot of Pzizz app on iPhone

What We Like

  • Separate settings for sleeping, napping, and focusing makes this app extremely easy to use.

What We Don’t Like

  • The subscription after the one-week free trial is pricey.

A critical part of self-care is ensuring you’re getting enough sleep. Pzizz helps you get the best sleep of your life thanks to in-app “dreamscapes,” or optimized mixes of music, voiceover, and sound effects. These dreamscapes change each night, helping to quiet your mind and wake up feeling refreshed.

This app also allows you to take power naps using the dreamscapes or focus on work using “focuscapes.” Hailed as a winning app by The Duke of York and J.K. Rowling, it’s known for causing blissful sleep.

Pzizz offers a free 7-day trial on both iOS and Android. However, after the trial, you can expect to pay $49.99 per year.

 

Daylio: A Self-Care App For Tracking Your Every Mood

Screenshot of Daylio app on iPhone

What We Like

  • Daylio is a simple mood tracker that allows you to capture how you feel on a daily basis.

What We Don’t Like

  • The interface is a bit busy compared to other tracking apps on this list.

How do you feel in this very moment? Those who are focused on self-care often take note of their mood using a mood tracker. The Daylio mood tracking journal allows you to track your mood and what you’ve been up to with cute icons. You can also write journal entries each day to go with your moods.

Daylio is free to download for both iOS and Android devices, but for unlimited moods, a pin lock, advanced stats, and more, you’ll need to purchase the premium version for $5.99.

 

Aloe Bud: Your Companion for Tracking Your Self-Care Efforts

Screenshot of Aloe Bud app on iPhone

What We Like

  • The design of this app is by far the cutest and most original in this list.

What We Don’t Like

  • It’s not as user-friendly as the other apps in this list.

To make sure you’re taking ample time out of your day for self-care, Aloe Bud allows you to track your self-care methods. From hydrating to breathing to being around those you love, Aloe Bud ensures you do what makes you happy each and every day. Plus, the icons are enough to make you smile.

Aloe Bud is free to download for iOS. To download premium and custom reminders, you’ll need to purchase premium for $4.99.

 

Motivation Quotes: Best Self Motivation App to Stay Inspired Throughout the Day

Screenshot of Motivation app on iPhone

What We Like

  • You can customize your own motivational quote themes.
  • Thousands of quotes in many different categories.

What We Don’t Like

  • The subscription price is hefty compared to other similar apps out there.

Everyone could use an ounce of extra motivation each day. The Motivation Quotes app delivers thousands of quotes from many different categories straight to your phone. You can change your theme, save the quotes for later, search based on how you’re feeling, and more.

Motivational Quotes is free to download for iOS and Android. However, to unlock all categories and complete access, you’ll need to purchase the premium version for either $35.99 annually or $59.99 for lifetime access.

 

Breathe+: Great Self Help App for Relaxing in Moments of Stress

Screenshot of Breathe app on iPhone

What We Like

  • The visuals are totally relaxing, making it easy to breathe correctly to reduce stress.

What We Don’t Like

  • There are ads that pop-up randomly while you’re using the app.

Visualizing your breathing is a great way to relax in moments of stress. The Breathe+ app allows you to breathe with in-app visualizations, relaxing your mind and training your breath. You can create custom settings to breathe as long as you need. The visualizations are beautiful and calming to the eye.

Breathe+ is available for free on iOS, but to remove the in-app ads, you have to purchase premium for $1.99.

52 Critical Questions To Ask Yourself To Ensure That You’re Living A Mindful & Meaningful Life

PsychCentral Article Here

Questions To Ask Yourself For Every Week Of The Year:

  1. What is standing between you and your biggest goal?
  2. What do you get distracted by that keeps you from effectively engaging and connecting with others?
  3. What or who could you pay more attention to in life?
  4. What thoughts or ideas do you attach to (your rules, script about people and things) that keep you from growing and making further progress?
  5. How often do you make excuses about things? About what in particular?
  6. Where do you want to be in five years from now? What may get in the way? What are you willing to do about it?
  7. What is one change you need to make in your life this year?
  8. What meaningful thing(s) did you learn about yourself this year?
  9. What was the best day of your life? Why? How can you replicate those meaningful moment(s)?
  10. If your life was a movie, what would the title be? What would you want it to be?
  11. What life lessons do you wish you knew 10 years ago? What got you to the place of learning those life lessons?
  12. What is the biggest dream in life? Did you achieve it? Hope to achieve it? What will help get you there?
  13. What is your biggest fear? Why? Are your actions guided by this fear? Does it get in the way of doing what I want to be doing? In what way?
  14. What are some personal characteristics or qualities that you’re not proud or fond of? What helped to create them (e.g., family genetics, family role modeling, experience, etc.)? What are those you need to accept and what are those you could work to change? Are you engaging in this process?
  15. Do you think that you’re enough and are worthy of love and affection? If not, what gets in the way of this?
  16. Do you quickly get defensive and have a hard time facing yourself or confronting your mistakes or imperfections? About what? Why do you think so? What is its impact?
  17. Do you quickly get defended or cut off to avoid uncomfortable/negative thoughts or emotions? Which emotions? Why do you think you do this? What is its impact?
  18. If you had one year to live, what would you try to achieve?
  19. If you have one month left to live, what would you try to achieve?
  20. What would you say about you at your funeral? What would others say about you? What would you want to be said?
  21. What is your ideal self? What does it mean to be your best self?
  22. Look at your life now. Are you living the life of your dreams? What’s getting in the way? What can you do to change it?
  23. What advice would you give to yourself 3 years ago?
  24. Is there anything you are avoiding/running away from? Why?
  25. Are you settling for less than what you are worth? In what arena of your life? Why?
  26. What bad habits do you want to break? What’s keeping you from breaking them? How will you go about working on them?
  27. What good habits do you want to cultivate?
  28. How can you make your life more meaningful, starting today?
  29. What qualities do you want to embody?
  30. Who is/are the most important person(s) to you in the world? Why are they most important?
  31. When was the last time you told yourself that you love and appreciate yourself? Do you feel comfortable doing so? Why?
  32. Do you treat yourself with the love and respect you truly deserve? What gets in the way?
  33. What is one thing you could start doing today to improve the quality of your life?
  34. Are you holding onto something you need to let go of? What?
  35. Is there someone who has hurt, angered, or rejected you that you need and want to forgive?
  36. What parts of your life doesn’t reflect who you are? How can you improve that?
  37. Do you find yourself feeling lonely at times? What’s making you feel this way?
  38. Where are you not being honest with yourself and why?
  39. Are you comfortable with being uncomfortable? How does this impact you?
  40. Do you enjoy your own company? If not, Why?
  41. What do you want to be remembered for?
  42. What are you most thankful for?
  43. When did you last push the boundaries of your comfort zone? Do you avoid doing this? When? Why?
  44. Who has had the greatest impact on your life? Why? In what way?
  45. Who do you want to get closer to? How will you pursue this relationship?
  46. What can you improve about the way you communicate to others? How would you go about doing this?
  47. What emotion do you often tap into and is most familiar to you (e.g., worry, anger, frustration, etc.)? If you were to look more in depth and beneath that feeling, what might you find (e.g., sadness, disappointment, etc.)? Are you willing to go there? Why or why not?
  48. What was the most challenging circumstance that you had to experience, that profoundly impacted and changed your life? In what way did it affect you? What did you learn from it?
  49. What is the one rule that you hope or wished for that everyone lived by in order to live a more meaningful life? What are you doing to change or reconstruct this rule in your life or in society in general?
  50. What regret do you have that you wish you can change? Have you learned from it going forward? What have you learned?
  51. Are there times like you feel like giving up? What leads you to that state? What helps you out of your rut?
  52. What’s your strengths and best qualities? What contributed to the formation of it? How could you continue fostering them?

The Important Health-Related Reason You Should Have More Hobbies, According to a Psychologist

Author Article Here

Whether you pick up knitting or join a book club, hobbies are a fun way to wind down and tap into your creative side. They could also, it turns out, make you a happier person.

We recently checked in with Barbara Nosal, Ph.D., chief clinical officer at Newport Academy, for her tips on combatting seasonal affective disorder (which, per the American Psychiatric Association, affects roughly 5 percent of U.S. adults). One of her suggestions? Spend time doing things you love.

This seems like a no-brainer, but, especially in the depths of winter, it can be really tempting to veg out 24/7. Don’t cave into the temptation: Spending time with friends or keeping up with hobbies, according to Dr. Nosal, fills “an intellectual, creative or social need, as well as builds self-esteem and self-confidence—bolstering against or lowering the intensity of SAD symptoms.” So basically, resist the overwhelming urge to hibernate until spring and instead spend time reading or cooking or learning pretty much anything.

Take Care Of Yourself

Snowboarding Being Used as Therapy for Kids in Utah

See Author Article Here


**I would LOVE to try to start something like this!!!!!**

People who snowboard will tell you it is fun to get out on the mountain and slide. But for some Utah kids, snowboarding is therapy, and perhaps even life changing.

I decided to go riding with kids in the CHILL program.

Pulling on a pair of snowboard boots and grabbing a board may not sound like therapy, but to troubled kids snowboarding is a healthy way to let out some of that energy, frustration and anger. They have a lot of fun and learn they can succeed without drugs or violence.
To learn to snowboard, you gotta have the right gear. It’s all provided free from the CHILL program sponsor, Burton Boards. Founder Jake Burton started the program 12 years ago to help at risk kids.

On this afternoon, about 45 kids from a half-dozen community youth programs and social service agencies are shedding their old labels to become snowboarders. Once at Brighton Resort they tackle a new challenge, learning to snowboard.

All of the kids in the CHILL program face issues, things like drug abuse, depression and violence. But here they have a chance to learn some important life lessons.

Mike Cawdry, SLC CHILL Program Coordinator: “The first week we work with patience, this week with persistence, then we throw in integrity and courage and a number of other different thematics we use as curriculum.”
The kids and counselors say snowboarding is a great way to get out your frustrations. The process of learning how to set goals and reach them is important, too. Charlie, Age 15: “It’s a great feeling of accomplishment.”

Chris Black, Telos Program Counselor: “A lot of them come from a history of not having that feeling of achievement or being told that they can’t do things or being put down. With the CHILL program, it allows them to have that experience.”

Chris, Age 18, Salt Lake City: “Get out and see that they can do more positive things in their life than using drugs or fight or anything like that.”

Ninteen-year-old Solena was in the program four years ago and says it changed her life. Now she works at Brighton and rides often.

Solena, CHILL Graduate: “It really builds your confidence. When you are good at something it makes you want to try harder at other things, I think.”

In all there are about 180 kids from Utah who ride once a week for six weeks in the CHILL Program.

How to Live an Extraordinary Life, Starting Right Where You Are

Tiny Buddha Article Here
By Leslie Ralph

“Let the beauty we love be what we do. There are hundreds of ways to kneel and kiss the ground.” ~Rumi

“Isn’t this a miracle?” I asked myself in the milk aisle at Whole Foods.

It was a Wednesday night after work, and I was buying a few staples to get us through the week. It was a completely ordinary moment in a completely ordinary day, and it was miraculous.

Rewind a few years, same Whole Foods, same shopping list, and you’d find me absentmindedly wandering the aisles, lost in a head full of worries. I couldn’t tell you now what I was worried about then—the house, the kids, money, probably.

My body would be tense, with a hint of tears right behind my eyes.

“Isn’t this supposed to be a miracle?” I might have asked if I had the words to describe that feeling.

For as long as I can remember, I wanted to be one of those interesting people who did interesting things like paint murals or write books. I wanted to see every continent and learn as many languages as my brain could hold. I wanted to feel excited by my life.

As a child, I had no doubt that this is what growing up would be like.

But, for just as long as I can remember, I also lived under the assumption that I had something to prove. My intelligence, my worth, my place in this world.

Somehow, these two ideas became intertwined.

That part of me that felt so certain that her life would be extraordinary started to have doubts.

Could I really pull it off?

Had I really earned it?

Was I being completely delusional?

Over time, that vision of an extraordinary life felt like a silly childhood dream, and I stopped myself from following it. I worked hard and earned a good reputation, but that excitement, that fulfillment was always just out of my reach.

I would let it go saying, it’ll come later, but as I checked off the boxes of life’s to-do list—degree, job, marriage, kids—I wasn’t feeling anything like I thought I would.

The feeling that something was off fueled a restlessness that I mistook for motivation. I poured myself into school and then work, but not necessarily out of excitement. I think a part of me still believed that if you weren’t happy, you just weren’t working hard enough at it.

What confused me about it all was that my life was good. I had a beautiful, growing family, a stable job, and a safe, comfortable house. I mean, I was buying organic milk to pour on my cereal. That’s a privilege.

So, if nothing was “wrong,” why didn’t it feel right?

I’d scold myself for not being more grateful, but I couldn’t shake the feeling that I didn’t feel the way I wanted.

Then, one ordinary day, while squeezing in another email during my lunch hour, a little thought snapped me out of it.

“You’re missing the point, Leslie.”

Time stopped just long enough for me to notice my racing heart.

Maybe you’ve had these epiphanies, where you’re amazed by your own wisdom and you feel so incredibly clear and awake. Maybe it was during a life-changing event, or maybe, like me, it was during an everyday moment, like buying toothpaste or feeding the cats.

The immediate effect wasn’t anything extreme. There was no out of body experience, no inexplicable knowledge of the universe. Just an ordinary little thought that led to another ordinary little thought.

What if living an extraordinary life isn’t about the details?

Every now and then, I’d pull out a list I made that day and add a thought or two to it.

The point is…

Overflowing.

Seeing more magic.

Doing what you love.

Being happy.

Being present.

Feeling bright, brave, and brilliant.

Waking up and appreciating the mountains.

My children knowing how much they are loved.

Gratefully receiving everything I have.

Letting myself unfold.

Alignment, not approval.

Trusting the wisdom of my own heart.

A hundred percent up to me.

And in a gradual, ordinary kind of way, I figured it out. That feeling I wanted wasn’t an outcome. It wasn’t something that would happen “when.” It wasn’t in the details at all. It’s your feelings, moment to moment, that make your life extraordinary.

There is no committee keeping score and waiting to grant permission to begin. There’s just us, the people we care about, our corner of the world, and those little moments. And we have a choice in what we do with them.

That feeling that something was wrong wasn’t about my reputation or my checklist. It was about my awareness of the miracles right in front of me and my willingness to take conscious, meaningful steps that felt extraordinary to take.

Since that day, my life has changed dramatically.

We live in the same house, we shop at the same store, I have the same job, but now, I’m also one of those people who is curious about everything. Who loses themselves in creative projects just because. Who creates art, writes poetry, and self-publishes books. I’ve become one of those people who sees even the most ordinary moment at Whole Foods on a Wednesday afternoon as extraordinary.

How did I do it? I simply let myself begin right where I was.

You may have a completely different version of extraordinary, and that’s what’s so perfect. How to live an extraordinary life entirely up to you—it’s your life, after all. The action itself isn’t as important as the intent behind it.

As long as your intent is to make something in your world just a little better, to learn something just a little deeper, to try something you’re just a little curious about, it’s foolproof. You could institute pizza Saturdays or travel the world, saving endangered species. Both are extraordinary.

If you’re not sure where to begin, here are a few things to try. They changed the world for me.

1. Be tenacious in your appreciation and optimism.

First, slow down and look around. Then, appreciate anything and everything you possibly can. Thank the sun, thank the water, thank the air you breathe. Look out for the funny thing that happened on your way to work, beautiful sunsets, and acts of human kindness. Even when everyone around you wants to complain about the boss, be the one who notices that it’s such a nice day.

When I talked about my day, I used to begin with something that went wrong. Then, I gave myself one tiny challenge: lead with gratitude. I made a point of starting conversations with something positive as often as I could, which meant I had to start looking for those positive things and remembering to bring them up. I discovered so much beauty around me with this one simple switch.

2. Define your extraordinary.

What do you want to see in this lifetime? What do you want to learn? How do you want to feel while you’re living your life?

I’d thought about these things before, of course, but they would quickly get taken over by something more serious. I didn’t want to waste time. My attitude changed when I decided that feeling curious, engaged, and alive was more important than being productive.

I began setting intentions for the week. I’d write down an idea that excited me, a feeling I wanted to nurture, and something I wanted to learn or create. Then, I gave myself small, meaningful challenges that fit with those intentions. Carrying a composition book with me quickly led to filling that composition book, and then another and another.

3. Make friends with your body.

Your body was made for living, so live in it. Use it in a life-affirming way. Don’t just feed it, nourish it. Let it move, let it sweat, let it pump its blood, laugh, cry, and feel. Stretch into it and savor its senses. Rest it when it’s tired, heal it when it’s hurting, love it even when you want to change it, and thank it. And when it has something to tell you, lean in and really listen.

I used to treat my body like it had no purpose. I didn’t nourish it, I overworked its muscles, and I constantly tried to remodel it.

It wasn’t until I started paying attention to how I feel now that I asked myself, is this how you would treat a child or an animal in your care?

My answer was an emphatic, NO.

4. Lose yourself in curiosity and creativity.

Follow the fun and let yourself overflow. Take on a ridiculous project just because it lights you up, even if it’s silly, you’re “too old,” or it’s “wasting time.” Let it be messy. Let it change directions. And let it fail spectacularly. The outcome isn’t as important as the process of it.

I practice this by painting with my children. They are experts at following curiosity and creativity. While I’m painstakingly sketching a dog or a flower, they’re creating imaginary animals in underwater kingdoms and then covering the entire thing in handprints when the inspiration strikes.

Every time, I shake my head with a smile—this is supposed to be fun, remember?

5. Be of service in a way that’s meaningful to you.

Share something. Create something. Teach something. Go where you are masterful and add value to the world in any way that’s accessible to you. Feed the hummingbirds, pick up litter, volunteer in your community. Big or small, it doesn’t matter; it’s the meaning behind it that makes all the difference.

I started by cultivating the kind of presence I wanted to have in my own life. I wanted to feel present at home, for one, so I reduced the expectations I put on myself. The house may be messier, but our weekend adventures at the park are nothing short of extraordinary.

If you’ve ever wanted to feel differently in your life, take one little, ordinary step. And then another. Let your feelings guide you. Your extraordinary life is waiting for you on the other side.

Snowboarding & Self-Care Series: Preparation

Whether you already snowboard or not, things like this “snowboarding checklist” will have you prepared with all of your gear, so when you get to the mountain & realize you are one glove short, or forgot your goggles, you won’t have to break the bank getting replacements.

Checklist!

The Preparation Checklist you should have before starting snowboarding:

  1.    Board and the bindings

There are different types of boards like freestyle, alpine and freeride. Freestyle boards are the most suitable for beginners. They are shorter than the other types and are easier to control. The bindings come with the snowboard. They fasten your boot to the snowboard and come in different sizes. Choose the best fit with the help of the store employees.

  1.    Snowboard boots

These specialized boots connect you to the board. It is recommended not to rent one because they may not be a perfect fit for your foot. Buy a pair that fits snugly but not overly tight or restrictive. The good ones are designed to be light, waterproof and rugged.

  1.    Socks

Good quality snowboard socks are very essential to keep feet dry. It should be made of a material that wicks out moisture. It should be thick enough to prevent chaffing from the shoes, but not so thick as to cause feet to sweat too much and lose warmth.

  1.    Head protection

Protecting the head is paramount. Find a good quality snowboard helmet that is lightweight, strong and snug fitting. It will protect your head and keep you warm.

  1.    Jacket and pants

A good snowboard attire should have a windproof and waterproof outer layer. It should wick away the sweat and be tough enough to protect the skin from abrasion during falls. The pants should be breathable and waterproof as well. Good ones prevent water from getting in during falls.

  1.    Inner layer for insulation and protection

These are worn beneath the jacket and pants. They are crucial for insulation. Cotton is not recommended, as it is neither breathable nor waterproof. Wool and synthetic fabrics are best suited. On colder days, an additional middle layer will be necessary to stay warm.

  1.    Gloves

Your hands will almost always come into contact with the snow. You need a durable set of waterproof gloves specialized for snowboarding. This will keep your hands warm and dry, and also protect them during falls. Ensure that they fit snugly before buying.

  1.    Goggles

They are a very important safety accessory. A good pair of snowboard goggles will shade the eye from snow glare. It will also shield the sensitive eyes from wind and falling debris or snow when riding down the mountain.

  1.    Additional protective gear

Protective gears such as- the butt pad, knee pad, and wrist guard are a must. They give additional protection to the vulnerable areas. Using them may prevent a serious injury which might cut your snowboarding vacation short.

  1.    Miscellaneous

Carry a good sunblock with a high SPF content. Mountain sun can be harsh at times. Carry a good lip balm and moisturizer. Mountain air can be rough on your skin. Besides, get a tough, weatherproof case for your mobile. You can carry it along to take pictures and for calling for help during emergencies.

Snowboarding is an extreme sport. It is of utmost importance that the equipment meets all the recommended safety standards. A good piece of equipment instills confidence that nothing else can match.

The above list may be numbered, but please understand that each item is vital. Snowboarding is extreme and thrilling. This sport will become thoroughly enjoyable with adequate preparation and good quality equipment.

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