30 day minimalism challenge

One of the things that I am trying to do is be more mindful of what I consume. This is part of Buddhist teachings (which I’m trying to dig more into) and just a good thing to do in general. After all, stuff will be left behind when I leave the planet and probably get tossed. It’s memories of me that I want people to take with them. The trendy word for this is minimalism, so that’s what I’m calling it. So far, this is probably the area that I’ve made the most progress in. And then I found this (through a blog that I watch – Allyson Faber – she’s on YouTube). I am intrigued, so I am considering this for March. Of course, I’m also taking a trip during March but I think I can do more than one of these things in a day and several of these things are already done but will look at again.

Since I’m here, I’ll give you the run down on what I’ve already done and then update through the month things that I’ve done and how they went.

  1. Stay offline for one day: Not done.
  2. Meditate for 15 minutes: Not done.
  3. Declutter your digital life: I have done this to some extent. I need to do more. I have a LOT of pictures that I should go through but that will take time and may not happen until after this semester ends.
  4. No-complaint day: I have been trying to be more mindful about this. It is totally a work in progress though…
  5. Identify your 3-6 main priorities: My kids’ education, my education, traveling
  6. Follow a morning ritual: Working on this too
  7. Streamline your reading list: Currently, I have 7 books that I have kept to be read and 3 that are partially read. I already decided that I will not purchase anymore until I finish those.
  8. Learn to enjoy some solitude: I already do this. It doesn’t happen quite as much as I would like but it happens.
  9. Downsize your beauty collection: I did this as part of my initial declutter. I will look at everything again though and see if there is anything else that can go (I have a couple of things in mind)
  10. No email or social media until lunch: Not done
  11. Evaluate your commitments: Always doing this, honestly. I can only do so much right now.
  12. Define your goals for this year: weight loss, declutter as much as possible (I need to quantify this but haven’t been able to yet), finish school, start my Buddhist path
  13. Clean out your closet: Done! I have a list of what’s in my wardrobe. I think I will make that a YouTube video one of these days.
  14. Take a step towards learning a new skill: Does nursing count? Actually, I learned how to plumb too and I am thinking about adding a cabinet where the broken dishwasher is so I am learning new skills.
  15. Examine your daily habits: Need to do this
  16. Don’t buy anything for 24 hours: This I’ve done (and gone longer!). It’s kind of neat to realize that I’ve gone a few days without buying anything.
  17. Practice single-tasking: Ugh… this will be hard.
  18. Unfollow and unfriend: I haven’t done this recently. I’ll look at this when I get a chance.
  19. Go for a walk and practice mindfulness: This I do sometimes. I used to do it more when I was running, actually. That’s part of why I want to get back into running.
  20. No TV all day, read instead: There are lots of days when I don’t watch tv. However, I often watch YouTube when I’m sitting with my daughter as she goes to sleep. I can’t read in that situation but I might be able to meditate. I’ll work on that.
  21. Journal for 20 minutes: This would likely be part of a morning routine. I’ve looked into The Miracle Morning.
  22. Create a relaxing bedtime routine: I have a routine but it could be better. I’ll work on it.
  23. Go bare-faced: I do this all the time anyway.
  24. Practice gratitude: Again, working on this
  25. Leave a whole day unplanned: This won’t happen any time soon. I can make it a long range goal though.
  26. Identify your stress triggers: School… that’s pretty much it
  27. Clear out your junk drawer: Done with the initial declutter but I could do it again
  28. Let go of a goal: Hrmmm… this will be thought upon
  29. Turn off notification: Yeah, they already are cause they drive me NUTS!
  30. Evaluate your last 5 purchases: This I can do right now: 1. My Buddhist book and yoga book: bought because I needed a place to write notes and to think more carefully about the teachings 2. Travel books for my kids: bought for the 6 hour car ride 3. Birthday presents for my daughter: kind of self explanatory. I bought her 2 books. She’ll also be getting some clothes for her doll but I haven’t bought those yet 4. A 10K race entry: also kind of self explanatory 5. A new scale and some cleaning supplies at Target: the old scale broke and I needed more Clorox wipes

So, that’s what I’ve done so far. I realize that I am far from perfect here. That’s why it’s a work in progress. I’m hoping to inspire other around me and to make my impact on the planet less. I am also hoping that I can learn about myself as I go and find ways to make myself better.

The list is below, if you want to take a look. It comes from Cait Flanders blog, which is also a good read if you’re into minimalism and such.


Healthy Eating

How to change your diet in 1000 easy steps…

So, as I headed toward 2017 I had several goals. One of those goals was to get my weight down to where my BMI no longer measured overweight. Now, I don’t take to much store in BMI since I know it can be affected by muscle. Honestly though? I don’t have nearly that much muscle. I’d like to but let’s be real. So, I decided that rather than hop onto one of the crazy fad diets (and I know a ton of people doing various ones) I looked at my diet and realized that if I changed my diet, I would probably lose weight. So that was what I decided to do. Well, that and actually track my calories.

I have an unfortunate tendency to underestimate what I have eaten. I figured an app could be helpful (I picked My Fitness Pal but honestly, I don’t think it matters). And since it’s always easier to make changes a little at a time, I started small. I tracked the calories in what I was eating for about 2 weeks. I didn’t change my diet to much but wow, there were a ton of calories there. And a lot of sugar.

I’m a nursing student, so I know what I should be eating, right? Proteins, fruits and vegetables, minimize processed foods, minimize fats, carbs in moderation. Well, 2 weeks in I could see that carbs in moderation is not my strong point. Also, the minimize processed foods is hard because of my schedule. So I started working in little steps. I didn’t think I could eliminate bread so I minimized it and found healthful alternatives. I will admit, I still have places to work on (pasta, for example) but it’s better. I also increased my fruits and vegetables in the hope that it would help with my always being hungry because most fruits and vegetables have almost no calories compared to processed stuff.

It’s working. I’ve lost about 10 pounds (I need a better scale, honestly!) and I rarely feel hungry after I’ve eaten a healthy meal. Now, when I eat junk, I can feel the difference. But it’s progress a little at a time.

I will be posting a list of the things I’m trying to change. I’m not calling them resolutions because I started in December and I don’t like the idea of resolutions. I want these changes to stick. So far they are, which is great. I expect to have difficulty at times… Valentine’s week was not pretty. But I have improved and I’m not depriving myself. If I want a treat, I have it. I pay for it later. But it’s helping because I know I can have it and I can decide if I want it or not. More often than not, I don’t. A journey of a thousand miles starts with a single step, right?


Bullet Journal

How I use my bujo

So, as a mom, a student and a person with my own interests, my schedule can get crazy. After all, 2 kids and school and work and trying to find time to decompress is a lot. And then there’s keeping up with all the chores that have to be done around the house. And the lists of things in my brain that don’t stay in there because of all the stuff for work.

I started with the idea of a bullet journal just to keep track of the lists of things in my head. I mean, it’s easy for me to forget things, especially things that are long range planning or so far in the future that they were getting forgotten about in my Erin Condren planner. I do like the Erin Condren planners but they just weren’t working for me anymore. So my original plan was to keep my schedule in the EC planner and keep lists in the bullet journal.

Except that wasn’t working. I loved decorating my EC planner but the setup wasn’t working for me. There wasn’t enough room for lists on each week but there was a lot of space that seemed wasted. That’s when I decided to use the bullet journal as my planner. Yes, that’s one of those silly things because a bullet journal was designed to be a planner. I just didn’t think I needed to use it that way. I’m on my second weekly spread and so far it’s working far better than I thought it would. Now right now, I’m not doing daily spreads because I don’t need that much space for a day and a lot of things that I do aren’t tied to a specific day. The weekly works well enough for things that are day specific and gives me plenty of space to create task lists for the week.

I’d been following along on BohoBerry for quite some time, and liked some of the things that she does. Right now, I’m seeing how the time bar works out. It’s giving me an idea of how much unplanned time I have in a day to do other tasks. I have a future log (but not a Calendex!) that goes out 6 months. Honestly, I don’t have anything planned out further than that right now so that’s working. My weekly spread has a column for time sensitive things (like class) and a second column for tasks that need to get done at some point (like laundry). I also have a general task list for things that need to get done as soon as I can (like depositing a check in the bank) and a section for next week things to keep in mind (like getting the oil changed in the car).

I have my menu on the spread as well, so I know what’s for dinner every day. I’ve been toying with the idea of creating daily meal spreads for each meal so I know ahead of time exactly what I’m planning. I need to have enough flexibility to change though because we all know sometimes you’re just craving something else.I’ve been using PaperMate Flair pens and a Zig Ball 0.5 archival black pen. I’m thinking about getting some Tombows but I don’t know. I have a lot of stuff to use up from the EC planner too. The minimalist in me is needing to make sure I don’t buy something just because everybody else has them. And a lot of people do seem to have Tombows, so I’ve added them to my wish list.

I’ve also been using the planner to think about blog posts, so I have ideas for when I have writer’s block. Hopefully that makes things flow. I’ll keep you updated on how the bullet journal continues to work for me.