What I’ve learned during lockdown

I have to admit, being in lockdown for 2 months during the COVID-19 outbreak has taught me a lot. At a time where life seemed to be moving so fast, always being busy, we have been forced out of our routines & to deal with something that we never thought we would ever have to deal with.

It’s been a difficult time for everyone. Having to adjust to the “new normal” was difficult for everyone. Now that we are on our way out of this craziness, I’ve done some reflection. 

This time has taught me a lot of valuable lessons. While I wish these lessons didn’t have to happen due to a global pandemic, my perception of daily life has been shifted. Things that used to matter to me, don’t matter anymore & things that I never paid much attention to are getting my greatest gratitude. 
Related: Self Care & Activities During Quarantine, Tips for working from home, Staying on track while stuck at home during quarantine, My Morning Routine During Quarantine


Here’s what I’ve learned during this time: 

NOT TO BE so RIGID WITH MY ROUTINES

I am a very routine-oriented person. Always have been, probably always will be. I rely so much on my routine that when I get knocked out out my routine, it’s really hard to get back. 

Like everyone else, my routines had to be shifted. I was no longer able to go to the gym in the morning, work on my own schedule at home by myself, free to run errands when I wanted without much hassle. 

At first, it was really hard. But, after some time I realized that maybe it’s a good thing that I was forced out of my routine so that I can experience other things. Do I prefer my routine? Yes, of course. But, I am now understanding that I don’t have to be so rigid. That I am completely capable of functioning without being strictly in that routine. 

I learned that I am now able to get in a workout at home in the afternoon if I can’t go to the gym in the morning or feel like I need to sleep in. Before, I was in the mindset that if I don’t workout early in the morning, there is no way that a workout is going to happen at all. 
Related: How/ Why I Go To The Gym At 5AM, 3 Tips for Early Morning Workouts

APPRECIATION FOR THE LITTLE THINGS

There are so many things that I have realized that I took advantage of, not even realizing how much I should be appreciating them.

Things like:

  • going to the gym
  • hugs
  • handshakes
  • running errands
  • toilet paper (lol)
  • going out to dinner
  • hanging out with friends/family
  • being able to be face-to-face with someone
  • getting my hair cut

These things that I once thought were no big deal are now something that I cherish. Since it’s all been taken away for a period of time, it carries so much meaning. So many things to be grateful for. 

I’m simply just appreciating all of the little things that I am now realizing mean so much. There’s nothing more powerful.

MOST PEOPLE ARE GOOD

Despite all the bad news we’ve been hearing and are used to hearing, I’ve heard some of the most amazing stories. 

Usually when you turn on the news, it’s full of bad news. But, I’ve heard amazing stories of people going out of their way to help others who are struggling, people are getting creative to make sure that birthdays and other celebrations are special. People are just going above & beyond to make sure that they are doing what they can to make sure everyone gets through this time.



During a time when things feel so crazy, odd, out of control- things have slowed down. Even though it’s uncomfortable, maybe it’s a good thing. Maybe it’s necessary. Maybe this time to get knocked out of our routine and into uncomfortable situations is what we needed.

I’m hoping that when things start getting back to normal, we all start enjoying the little things in life. For the little things are what makes life so amazing.

What has this unprecedented time taught you?!

xx
jess

My night routine for a more productive morning

I talk about this importance of self care & creating a solid morning routine, but having a solid night routine is just as important. Your night routine is important because it allows you to prepare for the next day!

After some trial & error with my night routine, I have figured out a routine that works for me and makes sure that I am getting the sleep I need & preparation that I need.

Turn electronics off by 7pm

Like a lot of people, I have always enjoyed laying in bed, watching TV until my eyes get sleepy and about to fall asleep. I also got into a habit of doing some social media scrolling at the same time as well. But, when I started having a hard time falling asleep, I was experiencing some extreme anxiety and those things started to not help me out at all. I know a lot of people mention turning off electronics, but watching TV & scrolling really did help me out in terms of helping me fall asleep (so I thought).

So, I started turning off my TV and stop scrolling an hour before I go to bed. I’m not perfect and don’t always follow this, but when I do, it definitely helps being able to refocus and start calming my mind down. However, I know that some people actually enjoy watching TV right before bed and find it to be incredibly relaxing. Whatever works for you! But, if you start noticing constant struggle to fall asleep, I would recommend at least giving this a try!

Take Melatonin

About an hour before I go to bed, I usually take 3-6g of melatonin. This is just a natural remedy to help you naturally fall asleep. I personally love melatonin because it helps me fall asleep, but it doesn’t make me feel all groggy the next morning. When I take a sleep aid, I can sometimes feel all groggy and half asleep if I didn’t get enough sleep for the sleep aid to wear off. Right now, I am enjoying the Nature Made Melatonin.

Turn on the essential oil diffuser 

I absolutely love my essential oil diffuser! An hour before bed, I also like to turn on my essential oil diffuser. There’s something so relaxing about diffusing lavender/eucalyptus/ tea tree oil to calm your mind. I have mine sitting right next to my bed on my night stand. I love climbing into bed with relaxing aroma already there, mmmm allll the calming feels right there!

The oil that I like to use is Pure Aroma because it comes in a package that contains allll of the oils that I like to use on a daily basis. I usually always have one package in my amazon cart because I know that I’m going to need a refill!

If you don’t have an essential oil diffuser yet, I would recommend getting one that comes with some oils to get you started, like this one. That way you can test out which oils you really like so you know which ones you would like to get a refill on.

Prep the coffee maker & breakfast

Something that doesn’t take a lot of time, but helps with the flow of the morning, is making sure that everything is prepped for breakfast. The more I am able to prep, the more fluid my morning is!

  • Putting coffee & water in the coffee maker
  • Cracking eggs into Tupperware
  • Measuring oats

Wash my face, put on a face mask 

Something that I find that I tend to talk myself out of is making sure I wash my face & brush my teeth before bed. But, I have started making sure I make this a priority & a part of my self care routine.

I try to do a face scrub & face mask a couple times a week. I love the options that I get in my FabFitFun boxes! They always send such high quality products and it’s so fun to try them all!

Set out clothes & gym bag for the morning

The first thing that I do in the morning is go to the gym. (Note: I wrote this post before the COVID-19 outbreak, you can read about my updated morning routine during quarantine).

To make sure that the morning starts of smoothly, I set out everything that I need to get ready for the gym. Since I get up before my boyfriend, I lay out everything that I need in the bathroom!

A lot of people wonder how I workout so early in the morning. One of my main tips is actually getting ready for the gym. It sounded like a crazy idea to me at first, but I actually recommend getting ready for the gym. Doing this actually wakes up my body, rather than getting to the gym feeling like a zombie.

Here’s what I set out the night before to get ready for the gym:

  • Water- I start drinking right when I get up!
  • Workout clothes
  • Personal hygiene items
  • Hair ties

Reflection journaling 

After I get everything prepared for the next day, I climb into bed for the remainder of my night routine.

A part of my morning routine is journaling & expressing gratitude. Before I go to sleep, I take the time to reflect on my day. This has become a really important part of my routine because it really helps put things in perspective. Sometimes, we can focus on all the bad things that happen throughout the day.

As a Mindset Coach, I truly believe in the power of perception. When we start looking for the silver lining in situations, it really helps with putting things in perspective.

That’s why I love the reflections in The Five Minute Journal.

In the morning, you talk about what you are grateful for, write down intentions for the day & write a positive affirmation.

Then, at the end of the day, you write what went well + what you could have done to make the day better. You don’t realize the power of this kind of reflection & intention setting, but this helps in shifting your mindset. I love this journal because it is very short and straight to the point. These daily exercises help you with being able to set actionable goals for yourself.

Read

Reading is one of those activities that I really love, but I sometimes have a hard time getting myself to settle down with a good book. Instead of turning on TV to help me fall asleep, I started picking up a book and reading while in bed. Reading has been the perfect way for me to really calm my mind down and lets me naturally get sleepy. Reading is much better at preparing you for sleep than scrolling on your phone! It’s definitely a habit that I have seen a huge difference with.

Some books that I’m loving right now:

Guided Meditation

I personally have a love/hate relationship with meditation because I’m still really bad at it. I’ve been trying to make this a daily habit for a couple years now and it’s one of those things that takes some (lots) time to master. But, when I do practice meditation, I notice how much more relaxed and calm my mind is. Even if it’s just listening to calming music, rather than a guided meditation. Just a couple of minutes can work wonders!

I do recommend getting some guided meditation apps on your phone to try out nightly. Most of them have free options so you don’t have to commit to monthly payments if you don’t think that you’ll need that kind of investment. Some guided meditation apps that I like are Sanvello, Calm & Simple Habit.


That’s my night routine! I usually like to give myself an hour to an hour and a half before I want to go to sleep. The more that I allow myself to unwind, the better quality sleep I am able to get. This routine has helped me in so many ways & I hope you found this to be helpful!

What are your favorite ways to unwind at the end of the day?!

xx,
-jess

Preparing for the best week ever

I don’t know about you, but my weekends are really important to me. How I spend them is even more important. 

For me, I need a couple days completely away from work, to rest my mind & my body. Doing this allows me to make sure that I’m not working myself to burnout & lose motivation. Since I’ve learned that I get stressed out easily, the best way to handle this is to try to prevent it before it starts.

The best way to prevent stress for me is to make sure that I’m planning ahead and being prepared. Have you ever heard the saying, “If you fail to prepare, you prepare to fail?”. Meaning, there is great importance in making sure you that you plan ahead.

I used to do all of my prepping & planning on Sunday, but I’ve noticed that this makes me feel like I have to dedicate a whole day to more work. Thus feeling like I haven’t been able to rest & go into the next week feeling tired & a bit frazzled. 

I’ve been able to figure out what things need to be done before entering the next week, as well as a system that works for me. This helps to ensure that I don’t have to cram everything in on Sunday. 

Since implementing the system I’m discussing in this post, I’ve been able to see a difference in my stress levels. I’ve also been able to stay on track with my fitness goals & have ultimately been more productive as a result. (You can read more about how I remain on track in my post on Why I Check In With Myself Every Week)

This system has been several months testing out to get to figuring out what works for me, and I hope this helps you in developing a plan that work for YOU and YOUR schedule/life.

PLANNING OUT MEALS

I think one of the main things that people struggle with, is having the time to make healthy meals. The best thing to be able to do in order to make sure that you are able to stick to your goals & save time, is planning out your meals ahead of time! 

I usually start thinking about the meals for the next week on Wednesday’s. Thinking about this allows me to be able to brainstorm healthy meals & to see what meals I can make with the items that I already have in my apartment at the moment. Planning out my meals ahead of time also lets me keep a running list of groceries that I need to get for the next week.

My boyfriend and I usually take turns making dinner. He does Mondays & Wednesdays and I do Tuesdays and Thursdays. Taking turns definitely helps take a little bit off of my plate, but planning ahead definitely takes some of the stress off of my plate!

GROCERY SHOPPING

I usually think of meals for the next week on Wednesdays because I like to do my errands on Thursday afternoons- including grocery shopping. If I don’t have time to get to run my errands on Thursdays, we go either Friday evening or Saturday mornings. 

I used to go grocery shopping on Sundays, but I avoid doing this anymore because the grocery store is always so busy & it takes up so much time. So, getting the grocery shopping done and out of the way has really made a big difference in being able to free up some time!

CHOPPING VEGGIES / MEAL PREPPING

I ALWAYS make sure that I have veggies chopped before going into the next week. This is something I usually do Sundays because it’s easy and doesn’t too much time. But, doing this over the weekend helps save a TON of time during the week when I’m cooking!

I chop lettuce, spinach, bell peppers, onions, celery, and any other vegetables that we are going to be using throughout the week. Spending an hour or so chopping all of the veggies over the weekend helps with being able to just grab what I need easily, without the hassle of having to wash the cutting board several times throughout the week!

PLANNING SOCIAL MEDIA CONTENT

Ohhhh this is a HUGE one! For those of you who don’t know, I started my business in Social Media Management last year and learned about all of the ins and outs of using social media strategically for business. I learned a lot about strategy and I even put everything that I learned into Ultimate Social Media Guides.

One of the main tips that is pretty much essential in success in using social media for business, is planning and scheduling content ahead of time! Planning ahead saves you so much time and hassle and makes sure that you are always staying on top of your game. It’s one of my main 7 Fool-Proof Social Media Strategies!

I’ve heard a lot of people plan out their posts for the upcoming week on Sundays, but that is honestly too much work for me to do on Sundays. Plus, it usually takes a couple times of running through the posts before I feel like they are ready to go. 

I actually start planning out content 4-6 weeks ahead of time. Then, the Monday before, I start finalizing the next week’s posts, so that I am always a week ahead. By planning this ahead of time, I am able to make any changes throughout the week if needed, so I’m not rushing to get everything planned out.

For example, here’s is what my week looks like when planning my posts:

Mondays- Map out posts for the next week

Tuesdays- Edit any graphics + write captions

Wednesdays- Work on blogs & blog strategy

Thursdays- Finish scheduling all posts for next week

PLANNING OUT TO-DOS FOR THE WEEK

In working from home & being my own boss, I have to make sure that I am being very clear on my to-do’s for the week. It has taken a long time to figure out the system that works for me.

I usually start brain dumping and planning out the next week on Thursdays and finalize the plan on Fridays when I know for sure what each task is. 

LAUNDRY

Ah laundry… one of those highly dreaded chores, but very important chore. I actually do my laundry on Friday mornings before I go to my meeting. When I get home from the gym, I throw my clothes in the laundry, by the time I have to leave for the meeting, they are already in the dryer. I then do my towels when I get home from the meeting and put everything away in the afternoon.

Doing my laundry throughout the day on Fridays also saves a lot of time that I can use to my self on Sundays!

Reflection & Setting Intentions

Something that I have recently added into my routine is reflecting on the past week & setting intentions for the upcoming week. It’s hard to plan ahead & keep up with your goals if you don’t keep track of how it’s going!

Here are some things to think about:

  • What went well this week?
  • What didn’t go well?
  • What could I do better?
  • What are 3 things that I want to focus on this week?
  • How am I going to make sure I prioritize self care?

Want some strategies to setting goals & actually reaching them?! Check out my 5 tips for crushing your goals!


Doing a little bit of planning and preparation throughout the week has really helped in making sure that I can enjoy my weekends. It feels so much better going into the weekend feeling like I can enjoy the time to myself & relax! 

Everyone talks about Sunday being the day to do everything- grocery shopping, meal prepping, planning the week, laundry, ALL OF IT. If that works for you, and it used to for me, that’s absolutely fine! However, I started noticing that trying to do everything on Sunday takes up the whole day & I was going into the next week feeling frazzled. 

Everyone’s schedule is different & different things will work for different people. It’s all about finding what works for you! ❤

What do you need to do to prepare for the week ahead?!

xx,
-jess

Journal Prompts for Self Reflection & Self Discovery

Journaling has become a really important part of my self-care & self-discovery over the years. Especially during stressful times, journaling has helped me with getting everything out of my head and onto paper. I talk about how journaling has helped with my mental health in my post about The Importance of Self Care & The Power of Journaling

I truly believe in the healing & therapeutic nature of journaling. While I talk about journaling a lot and how helpful it can be, I also understand that you might not know what to write about. I actually completed a journal prompt challenge in my Facebook group throughout April.

The ladies in my Facebook group loved this challenge and mentioned that the prompts helped them with discovering more about themselves and how to better handle stressful situations. Being able to understand more about yourself can be helpful in making sure that you are prepared, ultimately helping you to be able to move forward.

Here are some journal prompts to try out if you are looking to get into journaling and need some guidance:

  1. What limiting beliefs are holding me back?

  2. What habit would I like to break?

  3. How can I love myself more daily?

  4. What do I need to get off my chest today?

  5. How do my worries affect my daily life?

  6. On a scale to 1-10, my mental health is at a ___ because ____

  7. If I could achieve anything in life, what would it be?

  8. How am I feeling today?

  9. What brings me the most peace and balance in my life?

  10. What was my biggest learning moment this week?

  11. How can I be more kind to myself?

  12. What 3 things am I looking forward to this week & why?

  13. I am strong because…

  14. When times get tough, I want to remember that…

  15. What makes me happiest?

  16. What inspires me right now?

  17. What can I do to start taking better care of myself?

  18. What are my stress triggers?

  19. What is something I need to let go of? Why do I think I’m holding onto it?

  20. What would life be like if my stressors weren’t present?

  21. What are alternative ways to handle my stress?

  22. What do I think my mission in life is?

  23. How do I react to negative feelings?

  24. What do I love about myself?

  25. What obstacles have I overcome?

  26. What keeps me motivated?

  27. Where am I putting in too much energy?

  28. Where am I putting in not enough energy?

  29. What are 5 moments in my life when I was truly happy?

  30. What lessons have I learned?

  31. How are you feeling right now? What emotions come up?

  32. List everything that you are worried about right now

  33. What do you look forward to everyday?

  34. How do I handle stressful situations?

  35. If I could achieve anything in life, what would it be?

  36. What do I feel like my life is missing and how can I get more of what I need?

  37. Where do I want to be in 5 years?

  38. When am I the happiest version of me?

  39. What are 3 negative mindsets I need to let go of?

  40. Am I doing all that I can to reach my goals?

  41. What steps can I take to be the most confident version of myself?

  42. If I could be anything in the world, what would it be?

  43. How would I describe the perfect day?

  44. I forgive myself for…

  45. I deserve happiness because…

  46. What are 5 things I’m proud of myself for?

  47. What is most important to me right now?

  48. What are my biggest fears?

  49. What is my favorite quality about myself?

  50. In the next month, I want to…

Want these journal prompts in a printable guide?!


I am also a big advocate for expressing gratitude everyday. I started using The Five Minute Journal 4 days a week in addition to my journaling and I absolutely love it!

I love this journal because it’s quick & gets right to the point. I’ve been using this journal for a couple years now and it’s really good for getting you in the habit of expressing gratitude.

Practicing gratitude will help you with your mindset & what you are focusing on everyday. Focusing what you do have and what you are still in control of. When you focus on what you still have & what you are still in control of, you are more likely to make healthier choices & be better able to show up for yourself!

I hope you found this to be helpful. ❤ The prompts included in this post can be so incredibly transformative & help you understand more about yourself!

xx
-Jess