make your home your homie

bedroom area with no people inside building
Photo by Dmitry Zvolskiy on Pexels.com

Growing up, I always heard people talk about keeping their house/apartment/bedroom as a place of relaxation, comfort, and no stress by doing schoolwork or other work elsewhere. I always thought that it was an interesting concept and that I’d like to try it, but I never made it happen. I always seemed to be able to make up some reason why it was sooo much smarter for me to study in my room than at school…

Living off campus this year put me in a position where I could choose to take on this challenge, so I did. At the beginning of the school year, I decided that I would go to school every day for a good 8-10 hour period. I set intentions at the beginning of the day and use my time blocking method to set up a to-do list. I work as hard as I can on my schoolwork and other “adulting” things that I have to do while I’m at school and then let myself go home once I feel like I have done enough for the day.

Once at home, I like to do “homey” things. I make supper, I eat supper, I do some dishes, I clean my room a little bit, I do face masks, I watch movies, I listen to podcasts, I do laundry, and so on. I usually try to keep my backpack closed, but if I have to open it, I try to limit myself to just checking my planner and making/crossing off to-do lists.

My bedroom is a whole different story. In order to leave this space as the most relaxing and homey of all, I don’t bring my planner, my backpack, my laptop or any other school or work related thing into my room. When I’m in bed in the mornings or evenings, I read books, watch movies/TV shows, or connect with friends and family on social media, but I do not let myself do work.

When I first started leaving my home as a home and making school my place of work, I thought that it would take a while to get used to and for the results to show. But, much to my surprise, I immediately started to feel a distinct separation between my home and my “work” place. I loved it, and still do. There’s nothing nicer than coming home to an all-encompassing feeling of relaxation and lifted pressure. Home feels like somewhere that I can prepare for my night/the next day and destress/decompress from the day that I just had.

School, on the other hand, feels like a place where I am productive and efficient. When I arrive at school and find a place to sit, I immediately find myself in a hardworking and focused mindset. I try to take as much advantage of this as I can while I’m at school so that I can rest and relax at home.

This has brought me a much greater feeling of organization in my life and eradicated a lot of stress and pressure from my schedule. I find myself cramming less, being more prepared, and having sufficient time to complete everything that I want to.

As always, I’d love to hear if you try this out and how it plays out for you! Feel free to connect with me.

Thanks for reading.

An entirely unqualified life guru,

Emma 🙂

 

don’t block off more than you can chew

Photo by Andrey Grushnikov on Pexels.com

Taking things one… time block at a time?

We’ve all heard of taking things one day at a time, right? But 24 hours is quite a long time. I find when I think of a day as an entire day, rather than smaller portions of it, I end up leaving all of my tasks for around… 9pm. And it hurts. And then I get no sleep. And then I regret everything. I wouldn’t recommend.

Lately, however, I’ve been trying to split my day into time blocks, and let me tell you, its been amazing. Rather than look at my day as a huge, messy lump of time, I instead see it as little time blocks that are much easier to handle. If I can get up and get to school 3 hours before my first class (and don’t worry, my earliest class is 12:30 – I’m not a psycho), then I look at that specific time block and set my intentions. I often choose a few of the most important tasks on my to do list, and decide to get them done within the time block ahead of me. That way, my brain doesn’t continue justifying procrastination because “if I don’t rest now, I will be too tired later when I have this other task to do”. Frankly, this excuse is stupid, and even though I can make my brain believe it, it really gets me nowhere.

Each small time block ahead of me seems doable. I am never overwhelmed by one to three hours of schoolwork or cleaning or class or exercise or whatever other tasks I have to complete. I give myself a challenging, but still achievable to do list, and just start the grind. If I get everything done, depending on the day and the time that I have left before whatever is next, I either start another task on my big to do list, or take a little bit of time to rest.

Even with classes or appointments, this time blocking technique can be super helpful. For example, although I really enjoy most of my classes, there are a few that take a lot of mental strength to get through… not to be dramatic. Seeing these classes as the small time blocks that they are makes me feel more prepared and mentally ready to focus hard and get as much out of it as I can.

As I finish tasks and time blocks, I feel accomplished which often motivates me to work hard again, within the next time block or on the next task. This time blocking method is definitely not without its flaws, and I will probably never completely eradicate lazy moments of procrastination, but overall it has given me a way to be and feel much more productive on a day to day basis.

Let me know your time management methods, or if you end up trying time blocking! I’d love to chat.

Thanks for reading.

An entirely unqualified life guru,

Emma 🙂

self(ish/less)ness

The art of being selfish to a healthy and balanced extent is a tricky one to perfect. How is one supposed to put themselves first… but someone also… put others first? Trust me, I wish I knew.

As an entirely unqualified life guru, I don’t have a perfect answer to this question, because frankly, I haven’t figured it out yet. The one thing that I know for sure is this: selfishness is important and it is healthy. Implementing a degree of selfishness into one’s life helps to ensure a start on the journey towards true self respect and prioritized self care. (And no, unfortunately a bubble bath, a face mask, and a glass of sangria will not cut it.)

Throughout this summer while I was working at an outdoor adventure camp, our boss would repeat a phrase about selfishness that really got me thinking about its importance. Despite the negative connotations that the word has, he would always say, “Be selfish first; if you aren’t prepared for the day, you can’t help other people be prepared.”

Obviously this example speaks about one’s physical preparedness for the day, but it can still be highly applicable to other situations in life.

If you aren’t prepared for an assignment, you can’t help others with their assignments.

If you do not love yourself, you cannot fully love another person.

If you are not taking care of your mental and emotional state, you cannot help others with theirs.

You get the point.

To be able to achieve the more advanced attribute of selflessness, one must first be selfish. You can absolutely find a way to put other people first in life, but only if that is first – after you. Selfishness must precede selflessness to allow the latter its full potential.

Let’s revisit the original problem – How is one supposed to put themselves first but someone also put others first?

I wish that I had this art perfected and could stop leaning too far to one side or the other, either turning a ‘me hour’ into a ‘me week’, or spending all my energy on trying to build and help others that I lose a sense of myself. However, I don’t. I struggle everyday with finding the balance. I hope that together we can work on finding that balance, especially by focusing on selfishness first, and selflessness second.

My sister, whom I love so much, has a tattoo that simply says “love yourself first.” It is a simple and beautiful message that I encourage us all to tattoo on our brains.

Love yourself first, take care of yourself first, and then lose yourself as you put others first.

Thanks for reading.

xoxo,

An entirely unqualified life guru,

Emma

educated(ish) guessing

As you get older, you realize more and more that nobody actually knows what they’re doing. Despite appearances, turning 18 or 21 or even 35 unfortunately does not automatically give you the knowledge that you need to succeed in life at that particular time. In fact, adulting is more often than not just a guessing game of sorts. You utilize your own knowledge of life (however limited it may be), your knowledge of other people’s lives, and what you know about outcomes of past decisions, and simply do what you think will turn out the best.

Multiple times throughout this past school year, I have felt great frustration with the fact that I will never actually be able to know if I am making the best or most correct decision. There is no surety or complete confidence that accompanies the major decisions that I make. If a decision really seemed to feel right, I would often go seek out my friends’ opinions, hoping for them to agree with me and thoroughly support whatever it was that I had chosen. Instead, they would frequently offer me important insight from a different perspective that would push me into reconsideration of my original decision, even if I was so sure seconds prior.

The more that this would happen, the more I began to accept that my decisions in life are only ever my most educated guesses, and not completely informed and calculated or sure to work out. However, once I had come to terms with this reality, it began to actually comfort me.

Life is fun and rich and although I most definitely could have made better decisions in the past, I am infinitely grateful for where I am in life. Every failure of the past has turned to a lesson of the present, and a guide for the future. Some of the things that I am the most grateful for in life are also some of the worst and hardest things that I have had to go through. My somewhat educated guesses have sometimes backfired tremendously, leaving me at a loss and full of regret. However, I have often learned so much from them that the pain and sorrow has been greatly outweighed by the feeling of comfort and preparedness for what is to come.

no, I did not fall off the face of the planet

Hello world! It has been forever since I have posted a blog post and I miss it so so much. This year has changed my life in so many drastic and amazing ways, and I cannot wait to share all of my lessons and learnings with you as we catch up over the summer.

I finished my first year of university at MacEwan University about a week ago, and I have just been recovering and preparing for summer since then. I am working at an outdoor adventure summer camp for the next four months, so there has been a lot to gather, pack, and prepare.

After experiencing the best year of my life thus far, moving away from my comfort, my favourite people, and my happy routine will be difficult. However, I am incredibly excited to challenge myself with an all new environment, and all new people for the next third of the year. I cannot wait to be in the mountains and have time to refresh and rejuvenate before my next year of school.

This past semester has brought me close to the best friends that I have ever had, and I feel so incredibly lucky to be able to have met and become so connected with such amazing people. I have learned from them and grown beside them in genuinely life changing ways, and I will miss them so much between now and when we can be reunited.

First semester was a lot of adjusting and learning the ropes, but second semester gave me the opportunity to extend myself to my full potential in both school related and non-school related ways. I was able to finish this semester with straight A’s after a lot of hard work and lots of dedicated time! I can’t wait to challenge myself further in the upcoming years, and have been so inspired by my education this year that I have decided to pursue a Master’s degree in communications and technology once I am finished this degree.

Although I obviously learned so much from each of my classes, this semester also taught me many priceless life lessons that I will forever hold near and dear to me. I apologize for the lack of blog posts, but I strongly believe that the hard work that I put into school and the rich life experiences that I was able to have were exactly what I needed at this point in my life.

I am so excited to start this next chapter, and so look forward to working extra hard on this blog during the summer. Writing in the mountains is one of my favourite pastimes, and I can’t wait to get back into posting on this platform.

Thank you all for being patient with me, and although I’ve said this billions of times already, I can’t wait to share everything that I have learned this year with all of you while I reflect on the best year of my life thus far.

Thanks for reading,

xo,

Emma

time: a burden or a tool?

Time is a concept created by humankind. Seconds are determined by words and hours are created by mechanical arms. Rather than letting this made up concept control us, let’s control it. Life is short, and time is moving faster and faster, hurdling us into an unsure future at a faster pace than ever before. It could be argued that time controls our lives, appointments, classes, meetings, and so on, all determined by the numbers on the wall. However, the urgent stress of wanting to make something with your life before it is too late can be cured. We have control over our use of time and so let’s do something great with it. It is easy to procrastinate and moan your way through life, complaining about the lack of time to accomplish the tasks at hand. However, it is much more fulfilling to take control over our seconds, minutes, and hours. Think about the time that you spend in a day doing nothing. Think of things that you could do with those minutes.

HAPPEN TO YOUR LIFE, INSTEAD OF LETTING IT HAPPEN TO YOU.

I try to wake up every day and mentally take control of my life. Whilst upholding the ‘I can only do my best mentality’, I try to do all I can to better myself, and help others. If, by the end of the day, I feel as though I have successfully used my time to do that, I feel full. Even busy days that seem long and impossible, with far too little time and far too many tasks, can be taken control of and genuinely enjoyed.

We are all so blessed to even have hours in a day to make use of in the first place. Life is such a beautiful blessing. Let’s love the time we have. Let’s fill as much of it as we can doing things we love and being with people that we love: fill it with sunshine. And let’s also love the time that is taken up with unenjoyable, mundanities of life. Let’s smile at the painting on the hospital wall while we sit in the all too stuffy waiting room. Let’s laugh at the bratty coworker and the car that won’t start and the bad roads and choose to enjoy the unenjoyable simply because it is beyond our control.

My favorite movie of all time (that I’ve probably already written about) is called About Time. Tim, a quirky 21 year old just taking on the world, discovers that he can travel back in time to events in his life and change the outcome of them. He begins by using his abilities to fall in love, and then the movie proceeds to follow him through the hardships and excitements of new love, marriage, and eventually a family. During the main character’s concluding monologue, he comments:

And in the end, I think I’ve learned my final lesson from my travels in time. And I’ve even gone one step further than my father did. The truth is, I now don’t travel back at all. Not even for the day. I just try to live every day as if I’ve deliberately come back to this one day to enjoy it as if it was the full final day of my extraordinary, ordinary life. We’re all travelling through time together every day of our lives. All we can do is do our best to relish this remarkable ride.

I would thoroughly encourage each of you to watch this movie. It is inspirational beyond compare (and a cute love story, if that happens to spark your interest as well).

Let’s all do our best to relish this remarkable ride, and take control of our time, rather than allowing it to conduct our life and decide our happiness for us.

Thanks for reading.

xoxo,

Emma

above all, courage

Risks are scary. Throughout each of our lives, we are faced with constant decisions to take risks or to avoid them. To avoid risks means comfort, but to avoid them also means complacence. To take risks means discomfort, but to take them also means higher reward.

This year, I have decided to make courage my goal. Generally speaking, I am a fairly courageous person, however, there is lots of room for improvement. I’m sure that I have missed out on of the opportunities in life due to a lack of courage, and that frustrates me. I never want to look back on life and regret not taking a leap of faith and wonder ‘what if?’ Instead, I want to look back on life and see incredible moments and people and experiences that resulted from taking risks.

I want to take jobs that are out of my comfort zone, attend events that are out of my comfort zone, tell people exactly how I feel about them, make memories from taking risks, and so much more. I want to make the most of this short life that I have been gifted with, and sitting at home in fear of risk or regret or disappointment is exactly how not to do that.

As I have worked towards applying this goal to my life, I have had an amazing feeling of satisfaction. I am doing things that scare me every day, and that is how I will make the most of this life. I got my dream summer job, I met so many great people, I strengthened and built relationships, I have done better in school, I have laughed more, sang more, smiled more.

However, I have also taken a few hard blows. I have probably cried more, overthought more, been disappointed more… Taking risks is not always easy. It is not always sunshine and rainbows.

But it is worth it.

The happiness and satisfaction that risk taking has rewarded me far outweighs any disappointment or regret.

In 2019, I encourage all of you to take the same challenge that I have: try to be more courageous in your life. Step out of your comfort zone every day. Don’t let the fear of ‘what if’ keep you from taking exciting opportunities.

Talk to that person in your class. Apply for that job. Go to that party. Send that text. Tell that person how you feel. Wear that shirt. Get that haircut. Run that race.

Stop making excuses; instead, make changes.

I’m excited to take on this year with every ounce of courage that I can muster. I hope that you will join me. If you have any courageous moments, I would love to hear your stories.

Thanks for reading!

xoxo,

Emma