Viewing entries in
lifestyle

1 Comment

21 Days of Happiness Habits

We’re 21 days from jumping for joy!

We’re 21 days from jumping for joy!

I recently shared in my Instagram stories that I’ve been living over here in funk land lately. What?! That girl that is over here trying to spread cheer and help you “make every day feel like the weekend” isn’t living in a constant state of joy? Not so much. Yes, overall I consider myself to be an optimistic person, and in person I am pretty outgoing and energetic.  However, since October I’ve been feeling pretty darn apathetic, lethargic, and unmotivated!  Just stuck! I call it a funk, but by medical terms I think it’s really a mild depression that I sometimes find myself in when I haven’t been managing my anxiety over time.  Lack of regular exercise, letting trigger foods (wheat/dairy/sugar) creep back into my diet, and not spending enough quality time with friends having fun outside of work all add up.

So yeah, my rose colored glasses seem to be lost, and frankly it’s all been very confusing!  I don’t actually feel sad. I don’t cry or sleep all day or do a lot of things you may think a depressed person would do.  I have SO much to be genuinely thankful for, and in so many ways life is better than ever! Our shop is doing great, I’ve had a couple great recent features about our lovely new home,  my marriage is really solid, and I have some truly amazing friends!  I have all those things and still feel just “meh”.  So I have been beating myself up about feeling this way, because what do I have to complain about? Well let me share some of my negative thought loops that keep creeping in:

I wish I had more energy! Life’s not that hard.

What is the point of having lots of Instagram followers if I’m not making a positive impact? Why am I not figuring out a way to make more of a difference?  

Should I be trying to have a family? I’m 35! I want a family one day but it isn’t something I want today. What’s wrong with me?!

I’m a smart person, why am I not making more money!?

What should I do next? Instagram might not be here forever, so maybe I shouldn’t make that such a big component of my business. 

I should get off the couch and go do laundry! My husband works really hard AND cooks for us so why am I not motivated to do more?! 

Feeling stuck :(

Feeling stuck :(

I definitely recognize the power of self talk, but getting myself into this pattern of negative self talk really crept up on me! It’s easy to tell yourself positive stories until it’s not.  Before you know it, your brain is noticing the negative more than the positive, and then it’s REALLY difficult to get back in a truly positive mindset.  My friend Brenda recently reminded me that our brains really are like computers and sometimes they need just to be reprogrammed.  So, enter a 21 day plan to help myself and anyone else with a little reset...

Awhile ago, I read the “Happiness Advantage” and was recently reminded of it again on this podcast.  In his books, Happiness researcher Shawn Achor (you can also hear him on this Ted Talk) shares some strategies that yielded improved long-term happiness in his studies.  I’ve shared these techniques below and decided I can definitely do all of these things for the next 21 days.  If you want to join me January 1-21 (or on your own timeline if you’re reading this later), let’s do this!

-What’s the daily game plan?-

1. Walk (at least 15 minutes)

2. Doubling Journaling (1+ minute)

This concept is explained better in this podcast episode or in this book, but basically you write down a positive experience you had that day (or previous day if you’re journaling at night). Then you note 3 specific details to help this memory solidify in your mind. 

3. Meditate or pray (2+ minutes) 

Quiet time of any kind can be pretty challenging! I’m using the Headspace app’s guided meditations to make it a little easier to accomplish. Even just 5 minutes are helping me improve my relationship with my thoughts and help me live in the present.  

4. Name your gratitudes (~3 minutes) 

The key is to a) name 3 new things you’re thankful for each day and b) share why you are grateful for that thing. Feel free to fit this in while you’re brushing your teeth, or commit to sharing with your spouse or roommates at dinner.  Or, join my Instagram accountability group (more on that below).

Example: Yesterday I had an uplifting phone call with my good friend.  I was wearing mismatched socks, the weather was pretty warm, & I noticed lots of gorgeous camellias in bloom while I was walking.

5. Social outreach (2+ minutes) 

Achor suggests to spend 2 minutes and email or text someone every day and thank them for something.  That sounds like a good way to connect and focus on appreciation, and I say go for it if you want!

I’m trying this in a slightly different way.  For one, I’m trying to just spend more time with friends having FUN (at least once a week).  Daily I have another plan: Since social media is such a big part of my job, I’m going to try to be more social with it. A lot of what I do is strategy and growth and blah blah, and social media is a place that has become triggering for my anxiety as of late due to the comparison game (I’ll never have that many followers as so in so, I’ll never get as much work with brands as she is getting, etc. etc.).  For a long time I was able to keep my eyes in my own lane and be happy when I saw others doing great things too, but I’ve noticed the more uncertain I am about my career, the more these comparison thoughts creep in for me.  Anyway, for this part I will be doling out likes and compliments (via comments or DMs) to people I come across in my feed (who I often just scroll past).

Feel good bonus: if you’d like to join me avoiding dairy/gluten/sugar for the next 21 days that always helps me feel way better. Our body really doesn’t need any of these things and they are often linked to anxiety/depression and even dementia. 

-Total daily time commitment-

20-30 minutes. 

-Get social for max success-

Why do we feel like tackling the chore of fighting depression/apathy/a funk is something we have to do alone?  The more people I’ve shared with lately the more my friends and spouse have been checking in with me.  The more people you share your struggles with, a) the more people you’ll encounter also having trouble and b) the more people you’ll have supporting you so you don’t have to go it alone.

The first 15 people to DM me on Instagram and say “I’m in” can join my 21 day accountability group- where we will share our gratitudes with each other daily from January 1-21st.

-Why 21 days?- 

As a speech therapist who has helped patients learn memory strategies and other cognitive functions, I’ve always heard that it takes 21 consecutive days to make a new habit. The Happiness Advantage research seems to reiterate this principle. Besides, this doesn’t sound like too insurmountable of a commitment, so let’s run with it!

-Have I tried this and know it works?- 

Yes and no. I have already noticed a big difference when I walk for at least an hour a day, and days I’m sedentary really contribute to my feelings of “blah”.  This summer I found that journaling really helped me get clarity and get thoughts out of my head so they don’t get stuck in a loop there. And so far, I have definitely noticed a greater awareness about my thought patterns from meditating just 5 minutes a day.  So no, I haven’t tried all of these things for 21 days straight, but from trying individual components of this plan I can tell there are going to be benefits!

Should I have tried this before I roped you into this with me? Sure. Are we going to give this a shot together anyway? Yessss! 

-Let’s measure our success-

If you do anything for 21 days in a row, you’re a winner in my book!   However, I do want you to rate your current status now and again on January 21.  In your journal, give yourself an overall numerical happiness rating on a scale of 1-10 (1=misery, 10= ecstasy) & take inventory/jot down details of some specifics of how you’re feeling recently. 

-Disclaimer-

I’m obviously not a mental health or medical professional, and I’m currently working with a therapist and medical doctor to develop my own overall treatment plan.  If you are experiencing depression, I definitely recommend that you also seek professional help- it’s a wonderful thing!  Please email me if you are in need of any local resources!

images by:  Kim Graham Photography

1 Comment

Comment

Weekending at Home: Holiday Hostess Tips

Skirt_Liz_AbbyMurphyPhoto-1.JPG

Yikes, the holidays are almost upon us! You may have gathered by now that I’m not into a lot of fuss when it comes to entertaining, just keep it simple and low stress! Head to my recent feature in Skirt Magazine for some easy holiday hostessing tips (including my favorite Christmas Potpourri recipe).

This post may contains affiliate links that earn me a small commission, but all opinions and recommendations are my own.

click here for potpourri recipe

I had some fantastic help with desserts thanks to Julie from For Heaven Bakes, & Jenny Batt was there to help me style up my bar cart (BTW, how cute is her Charleston Doors wrapping paper!? So cute for year-round gifting). Thanks to Updos for Idos for hooking me up with some awesome hair and make-up!

Skirt_Liz_AbbyMurphyPhoto-3.JPG

Have a very Merry Christmas, friends!

images by Abby Murphy Photo

Comment

Comment

Best CHS Bachelorette Weekend Ideas

SerenityTreeYoga-029.jpg

One of the questions I get DM'd about the most on Instagram is, "What should I do for my bachelorette party in Charleston?"  I've given this one a LOT of thought, so I have a great round-up of ideas that I think you and your girls will love.  Also be sure to get in touch if you want to set up a private sip & shop or workshop at our store, Cannonborough Collective!  

all images c/o Sean Money & Elizabeth Fey


Enjoy a Group Activity

One of the best ways to really create some memories with your bride tribe is with a fun group activity. You can find lots of workshops offered around town, or create your own private event or spa day!  Below are a few of my faves:

SerenityTreeYoga-100.jpg

Group Workouts

Bachelorette Yoga with Serenity Tree Yoga

Private Barre Class at Barre South

Pamper Yourselves!

Dry Bar for blow outs or braids

Mylk Bar for Manis/Pedis (cutest nail salon for a group!)

Learn a Little

Flower Crown Class by Petaloso

Candle Making Class at Candlefish

SerenityTreeYoga-007.jpg

Wine & Dine

There are SO many restaurants to choose from in this foodie haven of ours!  Here are my recommendations for the best restaurants to accommodate larger groups.  

Harold's Cabin // Rarebit // Miller's All Day // The Watch

Elevé at The Grand Bohemian // Butcher & Bee // Lewis BBQ

CHS bag available at  Cannonborough Collective  

CHS bag available at Cannonborough Collective 

Shop 'Til You Drop

There are SO many adorable shops around town. You and your best gals will be in Instagram heaven at any of the following spots.  I linked to their Instagram accounts so you can see what I mean ;)

Cannonborough Collective // Toss Designs // The Skinny Dip (get some frosé while you shop!)

Candy Shop Vintage // Mac & Murphy // Candlefish


Don't Forget the BALLOONS!

Call ahead at Cannonborough Collective to line up a balloon pick-up, or shop below for some cute options you can fill yourself with air (the following links are affiliate links which will earn me a small commission). 

Letters for banner (gold or rose gold) // Jumbo Letters // Jumbo Ring // Hot Pink DIY Balloon Garland, Rose Gold DIY Garland // (* do yourself a favor and buy this pump! It makes balloon garland life a breeze)


-Shop This Post-

Andrea, Cayleigh & I have on a floral print that comes in several styles: High Rise Midi, High Rise Cut Out, Matching Bra // The twins' High Rise Track Leggings // Escape bag // Kelsey's Top & Bra


-Photo Credits-

Images by Sean Money + Elizabeth Fey // Yoga led by Melora of Serenity Tree Yoga // Flower crowns by Petaloso // Event Coordination: @CharlestonShopCurator // Yoga apparel gifted by Onzie // Pictured bloggers: @KC_Doubletake, @ThePetalReport, @KelseyJHill

Comment

Comment

How To Get Yourself Into a Funk (& back out of it!)

image1-8.jpeg

I originally planned to wait and share this when I was riding high on cloud nine once again, very far removed from my doldrums with plenty of superb wisdom in hand.  However, by the time I'm out of a funk I have usually forgotten just how bad it stinks and likely will have moved on to sunny & motivating topics once again.  So instead, I'm coming at you just a day or 2 out of a major funk- one that has been with me off and on for weeks and might not be completely gone!  The only word to describe it is just "blerg", a term often used by my favorite TV character (Liz Lemon), written so beautifully here by my friend The Town Serif.  

Here Are Some Funk-Inducers:

Not Exercising

My decline in physical activity has been slow and steady since opening our shop last April.  I got to a point where I was excited about being tied to my computer all the time, and slowly but surely working out fell by the wayside.  I am only successful with exercise when I am doing something truly enjoyable or being held externally accountable.  I'm currently on my second of 6 weeks working with a trainer to get myself back in the habit.  On my off days I try to get 10k steps a day.  A trainer isn't something I necessarily have extra room in my budget for, but I know it's an invaluable gift I can give myself to help me get back on track and reinstate good habits.  I'm training with Victoria from Glow Body Health & Wellness, & loving working out with her in the park!


Setting Goals

Some people thrive when they are held accountable by goals, but I tend to get easily overwhelmed by all of the things I could be/should be doing.  For right now, I'm just concentrating on tracking my business "wins".  If I work with a client I'm excited about, had a good sales month, etc., it gets added to the list.  It's nice to have a list you actually want to look at for a change!  

Eating White Foods

The three biggies that always get me are flour, sugar, and dairy!  Our bodies don't actually need these things and for some people, they can really cloud up our brain!  No, I don't have any fancy studies to back this one up, but if you start doing your own research you will be amazed. A lot of times when I find myself bloated, fatigued, or anxious for no good reason at all, it's usually because I haven't been keeping these things out of my diet. I also eat WAY too many white potatoes (in all forms) and am trying to sub sweet potatoes- white ones can be inflammatory and have a chemical called lectin that is apparently no bueno.  I have noticed most of my funks happen around my period, and to me that still points back to the foods in question here. None of them are known for being great for hormonal imbalances!

Playing The Comparison Game

For me, the girl I compare myself to the most? MYSELF. circa about 2009- working as a speech-language therapist in DC, making about 80k a year.  Plenty of money to have fun with and plenty to save.  The path to that career took 6 years of school, so why am sitting here thinking I'll get the same paycheck after just 2 years of hard work at Charleston Weekender?! Rome wasn't built in a day, duh!  It seems more common to compare yourself to what you see on social media.  I'm usually good about not doing that, but occasionally I'll see another blogger working with a brand that's turned me down and I get a little FOMO!  That's when it's time to head back to that "wins" list and refocus energy on what I DO have going on.  That energy could be spent in such better ways and we are better than that, friends!

image c/o Kim Graham

image c/o Kim Graham


Ok, Let's Fix Our Funk! 

In addition to some of the suggestions I offered above, here are some strategies that have usually helped me.


Seek Outside Help

Sometimes I can work my way out of my own depression (which for me doesn't actually feel like sadness, just lack of motivation and lethargy/apathy).  Other times we need real professional help.  For right now that means hiring a trainer, and at times that has also meant I've worked with a talk therapist.  Occasionally, outside help is as simple as reaching out to a friend.  Simply scheduling a phone date with a gal pal is all it takes for me to get moving a lot of times.


Pat Yourself On The Back!

I bet you don't say mean things to your friends like "you really should be making more money" or "you really could be a better parent", right? Ok, then why are we letting ourselves say such mean things sometimes!?  If you heard the things I said to myself lately- about my job, about being a wife, or even about being depressed, you would think it was terrible!  I noticed when I was reading daily affirmations and writing down what I was grateful for as part of my 30 days of habit making that it was easier to stay positive with my thoughts.  Practice thinking, writing, or talking about the good things you have going on!


Take a Chill Pill, Literally!

When all else fails, I turn to medication.  This is NOT my first choice if I'm being honest. In general I am working toward having an all-natural approach to what I put on and in my body.  However, sometimes my anxiety zaps my energy and turns into depression if I don't nip it in the bud.  That means after a few too many nights of waking up at 4am I just might need a Xanax the next night.  I have also tried Prozac in the past but didn't like the side effects.  What works for me might not work for you, but sometimes it can make a world of difference.  Good news is I think I have found an all-natural substitute for Xanax that I've been trying- the essential oil vetiver! I've been rubbing it on my big toe at night and my husband and I both experience much less restless sleep that lasts all night (until Maddie snores, ugh). 


Like I said in my latest IG post, you can actually have ZERO things to complain about and plenty to be grateful for and STILL find yourself in a funk.  I hope this helps us get us out of it once again, my friends!  I'd love for you to share what helps you- leave a comment here or on over on Instagram.

Comment

Comment

A Foolproof Guide to Conquering Your New Year's Resolutions

palm springs-8.png

Every year "New Year's resolutions" become a less and less trendy concept.   People have shifted their dialogue to instead reference their "2018 goals" or even having a "word of the year".  Anything you do to attempt to create a change is awesome, except when you wind up not changing anything at all, which is what I do with Resolutions year after year.  This year I'm hopping on the anti-resolution band wagon & taking a new approach, and it's all about one simple word: habits.  Below I've listed some common resolutions & some ways you can instead turn them into habits.  Whatever you try, commit to doing it for 30 days (more on that logic below).  

Note: This post is partially in partnership with Pivotal Fitness & also contains affiliate links that help earn me a commission! 

Instead of a resolution to "lose weight", try one of these habits:

-get X steps per day, do X minutes of exercise a day, X number of (squats/pushups/etc.) a day

Starting January 1, I'm committing to 30 days of getting 10k steps a day (I track my steps with the Fitbit Alta & I just got my mom the Garmin Vivofit 3)!  The only problem is I LOATHE the cold weather, so I decided to join Pivotal Fitness.  I used to go when it was Eco Fitness, and they still have my favorite cycling instructor but it's even better now!  They just did a giant renovation and have cycling, barre, yoga, & some HIIT classes.  You can wind up spending hundreds & hundreds of dollars a month if you go to a separate barre, yoga, & cycle studio, but Pivotal has all of the classes I like under 1 roof.  I asked them if we could team up so I could give you guys some perks, too!  They will give you a free week pass if you mention Charleston Weekender when you go to any of their clubs.  They'll also offer 30 days free when you sign up for a year!

Instead of a resolution to "eat healthy", try one of these habits:

-eat X every day (something green, a vegetable, a smoothie instead of a meal, etc.), avoid X for 30 days (sugar, alcohol, bread? you pick!), or commit to keeping a food journal for 30 days

I have a wheat allergy and dairy sensitivity and occasionally I completely ignore this.  (Why is pizza SO good?!)  However, I definitely feel my best mentally and physically when I avoid white foods (dairy, flour, sugar, & potatoes). Our bodies just don't need any of those!  I did this about 85% successfully in December, and I know if I can do that over the holidays January will be a piece of cake.  I know it's worth it to stay away from these foods because I feel less anxious & don't have stomach problems.

Instead of a resolution to "keep the house clean", try one of these habits:

-make your bed every day, spend X minutes straightening up (I would start small with about 5 minutes), immediately clean your dishes after you eat

I used to make up my bed every day and then just got out of the habit.  It takes 30 seconds, so we got this!!

Instead of a resolution to "unplug more", try this:

-put your phone in a special place at a certain time each evening and don't pick it up again until the next day

I'm trying this one out- my phone is going to bed at 8pm and I'll plug back in the next day after I have done my morning exercise.


IMG_2787.JPG

Next, combine all your new habits into one routine:

The habits I'm hoping to implement are getting 10k steps a day, not having my email/social media be the first thing I look at in the morning or last thing I look at at night, avoiding white foodsmaking up my bed every day, and doing a 6-10 minute "miracle morning" routine (involves a combo of silence/reading affirmations/journaling, etc.).  I think new habits are easiest if you can combine them into one routine, so here's what mine will look like:

1.  by 8pm put my phone in my bathroom to charge

2.  next morning: get up & go to bathroom to turn my alarm off, brush/floss, then come back and make up my bed

3.  go to the dining room table to complete a 6-10 minute "Miracle Morning", part of which will be completing a food journal from the previous day.  You can get a Miracle Morning crash course here

4. either head to Pivotal Fitness if it's M/W/F, or go for a 45 minute walk on the other days

If you're motivated to start the year off with some new habits, a book I'm reading recommends doing those things for 30 consecutive days.  Those first 21 days are the hard part, but apparently you need those extra 9 days to really solidify a habit.  Will you take this 30 day challenge with me?  Start with just 1 new habit or aim for 5.  I can't do this by myself, friends!  I'll be sharing my progress in my Instagram stories, and I'll check back in early in February so we can see how we did!   

IMG_2790.JPG

shop my look: earrings // pop the bubbly necklace // lipstick // nail color

See ya in 2018, friends! 

Comment