It’s absolutely amazing just how much a year can change a person. This time last year, I was in such a bad place with just about everything in my life. This year, however, I couldn’t be happier! A lot has changed for me in such a short period of time and it’s been an amazing ride.
This time last year, I already had my weight loss plan in place but couldn’t execute for another month. Why? I was still recovering from my hysterectomy and was on a lot of restrictions. Once I was released, it was game on. I executed my plan immediately and I was so excited.
Fast forward to June and I was getting close to onederland and made the decision (in May) to become a health coach. The kid was out of school on summer vacation and I started getting up at 5 am. I was up and out the door on my walk by 7 am. Most days, I had my 10k steps in by 9 am.
June through October was pretty steady but shit hit the fan in the middle of October. It was a rough time for me, and a few other people in my life, which meant my activity was the first thing to go. I made the decision to stop exercising and made other things more important.
This trend continued off and on for the rest of 2017. I started to feel crappy and I had no one to blame but myself. It was eye opening for me because I had done so well for 3/4 of the year. It really made me think about and re-evaluate quite a few things in my life.
December was a month full of reflection for me and I’m forever grateful. I purged the house and my personal items of anything that was holding me back. 2017 is gone and I’m welcoming 2018 with open arms. I am so motivated to kick ass this year it’s almost annoying.
2018 holds many, many changes for myself and my family. The first quarter is going to be the most stressful but I’m working very hard to make it good stress instead of bad. While it may be cliché to refer to the New Year as a new beginning, that’s exactly what’s happening to my family. We’re on to new adventures and there’s no looking back.
It’s high time we say goodbye to 2017 and hello to 2018. I hope you all have a fantastic year and all your dreams come true.
Your organizational level is based solely on your personal preferences. My organized isn’t the same as my husband’s organized (ugh, don’t get me started on his skills…or lack thereof). We all have different ways of doing things because those ways work for us. With that being said, here are 10 basic rules for being organized.
Know who you are. Before you can begin to get organized you have to know who you are and what works for you. Your storage system is a direct reflection of who you are so who are you?
Write shit down! I can’t say this enough. You’re wasting mental energy by keeping your to do list in your head and you’re much more likely to forget it. Not a paper and pencil person? There’s an app for that!
Create routines. Routines are the backbone of being organized. I have routines for just about everything and you probably do, too. These routines are your repetitive tasks, such as brushing your teeth, having breakfast, etc.
Don’t be organized to be organized. The most organized people are that way because they enjoy the benefits of being organized, such as neat and tidy spaces. Being organized is a way to remove distractions and live a happier life.
Be ready to fail. We’re all imperfect and we flub up from time to time. Being organized is something you’ve got to continuously work at, which means you’re going to fail at one point or another. It’s ok – it’s natural. The most important thing is to get back at it as soon as possible.
Create a place for everything. Everything you own should have a place and should be in that place when not in use. If you can’t find a place for things, it’s time to consider getting rid of them. You’ll probably find that a little decluttering is just what the doctor ordered!
Always follow through. Many tasks have more than one step to make them complete. At my house, I’m not done with dinner until the dishwasher has been loaded, the table, counters, and stove have been wiped down, and all leftovers are properly stored in the fridge. I don’t just get up from the table and head to the couch; I follow through with the entire task.
Delegate. If you don’t live alone, you’re not the only one responsible for keeping things neat and tidy. It’s time to delegate some responsibilities to your family…and it’ll teach your children to become organized and responsible for their belongings. You may be met with some resistance at first but be persistent!
Things do not define you. The items you possess do not define who you are as a person. Remember that! You’re not going to lose anything if you get rid of something that was given to you. No one can take your memories from you.
Quality over quantity. If you have more than one of the same item, keep the best one. I do this with my kids’ school projects. I don’t keep them all; just the best ones. A lot of people save greeting cards for whatever reason. Not me – I read them, display them for about a week, and throw them out.
As you can see, these are basic rules for getting and staying organized. They’ll work for everyone, as long as you’re a willing participant. It’s a personal choice and there’s no wrong way to do it. We all have a method to our madness that some just don’t understand.
As you know, I had a hysterectomy back in November. Well, during this time, I learned a few things that no one ever told me about. Some of the things I experienced made me call my doctor just to make sure they didn’t take anything they didn’t need. My hysterectomy was removing my cervix and uterus; my ovaries were left behind. Here are 5 things no one tells you about having a hysterectomy….until now.
Hot Flashes, Night Sweats
During the first few days after my surgery, I had horrible hot flashes and night sweats. I woke up every morning soaking wet. I’ve never washed bed sheets so much before in all my life. It was cold here when I had my surgery but I wouldn’t have known it with the hot flashes. I would turn the thermostat down and walk around in shorts and a tank top. It was awful! I actually called my doctor to make sure they left my ovaries.
It wasn’t until I was about 8 weeks post-op when going to the bathroom wasn’t uncomfortable. Be very, very careful having a bowel movement during the first week or two. It’s very uncomfortable; almost painful. But, it does get better as the weeks pass. I wasn’t aware of any of this and I’ve had 2 c-sections. I was kind of expecting the uncomfortable urination because the doctor informed me that they would have to work with my bladder while they were in there. But, I had no idea what to expect when that catheter came out and I peed for the first time in the hospital. Shew!
Although I still have my ovaries, which didn’t throw me into menopause, I still experienced some symptoms, such as dryness. My doctor told me no sex for 8 weeks and I followed her directions – it was difficult but I did it. When it was time to get busy, I noticed that things weren’t working like they did before. It was very frustrating and confusing, considering that I still had my ovaries.
Oh yes, I still have PMS every month. The bloating, the acne breakouts, the mood swings, everything. But, the symptoms aren’t as severe as they once were. Now that I’m back into living a healthy lifestyle, I’ve noticed the weight gain. I just recently made this connection because I gained weight and my face broke out in the same week. I was like wtf?! It makes sense that I would still have these symptoms because I have my ovaries, but no one gave me a heads up about it.
Sex is Different
Sex is completely different for us now; not good or bad – just different. Part of me still believes it’s because I’m still nervous about it. I’m scared it’s going to hurt or rupture something. But, even without that worry, it’s still different for us. It feels different. Now, the doctor did tell me that vaginal shortening could happen, which is when the vaginal wall shortens as a result of surgery. She said that it could be resolved during physical therapy (don’t even get me started on how THAT would work) and it would also stretch the “more it was used”. Just picture the look on my face during this conversation. I’m telling you – it was priceless!
If you’re thinking about having a hysterectomy, it’s important to know what to expect before, during, and after. I’m now almost 3 months post-op and there’s no discomfort using the bathroom, my nervousness about sex is decreasing, and I believe it was the best decision I made for myself. The healing process itself wasn’t bad at all. I felt back to normal, for the most part, after 2 weeks. The first week I didn’t do anything or go anywhere without my pillow for protection. If I had to do it all over again, I’d make the same decision.
The last time I wrote about my morning routine, it was during the summer and my kids were on summer break. Once they went back to school, I had to update it accordingly, and, now that I’m back on the weight loss wagon, I’ve had to update it again. Here’s what my updated morning routine looks like. Some things haven’t changed, while others have changed quite a bit.
5:00 am: Rise and Shine
During the school year, my youngest has to get up and in the shower by 6 am. When school first started this year, I was getting up at 6 with him. But, things have changed a bit since then. I saw my doctor for my 6 month check up last month and was disgusted with my weight. Since then, I’ve started getting up at 5 am so that I have an hour to myself. During this time, I enjoy my coffee, take the dogs out, catch up on some news, and update my Filofax as needed.
6:00 am: Mom on Duty
I get the kid up so he can get a shower, have breakfast, and get ready for school. He’s usually done by 6:30 and we sit back and watch Here Comes the Boom on the DVR. It’s what we do. We watch about 30 minutes a day so it takes us a few days to watch it in full. But, it’s our bonding time together and we look forward to it every day.
7:15 am: Let the Housework Begin
The kid is on the bus between 7:13 and 7:15 am each school day. When he’s gone, I get started with my housework. This tends to vary depending on my DVR. If I have a show that recorded the night before, I’ll watch it when the kid leaves before I get into my housework. My cleaning routine in the morning is as follows:
Unload dishwasher from the night before & add breakfast dishes
Take out what we’re having for dinner, if we’re not having leftovers
I’m just starting this part of my morning routine and it’s where I sit down with my book to read for about 15-20 minutes, update my Filofax, take a shower, and get ready for the day. I say this is new to my routine because it’s scheduled. I’ve always showered and gotten ready for the day, but it’s way more structured now. This time used to be a free-for-all in which I would get very little done.
10:00 am: Off to Work
I log on to work at 10 am every day and start handling email and other tasks. Each day brings about different things so it’s important that my Filofax is updated each day.
So, that’s my updated morning routine that’s been working very well for me. I’ve found that following this routine has “given” me more time in the morning to get everything done and still have time to sit down and enjoy myself before I start my work day.
It’s important to have a daily skincare routine if you want to take care of your skin. I truly believe my face suffers from bipolar disorder because it never does the same thing twice in a row. One minute, my face is clear, smooth, and dry, and, the next minute, it’s broken out, an oil slick, and looks like it has chicken pox. You name it and I’ve tried it, with very little success. Take Proactiv, for example. I was so excited to order this way back when. I used it for less than a month and it made my face worse instead of better. I gave the rest to my BFF, who, unfortunately, suffered the same results. I’m going on 37 and have acne more now than I ever did as a teenager! But, I think I’ve found a routine that I’m happy with.
Morning Skincare Routine
Yep, there are 2 routines because your face needs cleaning twice a day. After I’ve had my first cup of coffee (because nothing happens before that), I head into the bathroom to get started. I was my face with the Oxy Maximum Action face wash and pat dry. From there, I apply the pore perfection witch hazel as a toner. While I’m waiting for that to dry, I’ll brush my teeth to save time.
Once the toner has been absorbed, I decide if I’m wearing makeup that day or not. If I’m around the house all day, I’ll put on my moisturizer and call it a day. But, if I’m heading out, I put on the Garnier BB Cream (it’s a tinted moisturizer with SPF so I’m covered all the way around). If I’m going out, I’ll throw on a bit of eyeshadow, eye liner, mascara, and lip gloss.
Evening Skincare Routine
Well, I put it all on and now it’s time to take it all off. I generally wait until after dinner to perform my evening skincare routine, that I way I know we’re definitely in for the evening. I start by using Micellar water to remove all the gunk that built up throughout the day. If I went out and wore eye makeup, I leave the cotton round on my eyes for a minute before removing. This helps to soften the cosmetics and I’ve found it helps prevent smearing.
Once all that is off my face, I wash it with my Oxy Maximum Action face wash. This time is a bit different, however, because I don’t use my hands. In the evening, I use my spin brush to help exfoliate my skin. This makes one hell of a mess but I love the way it makes my skin feel afterward. Once I’ve dried my face, I apply the pore perfecting witch hazel and let it dry. I use this time to clean up the bathroom sink from the spin brush mess.
Once the witch hazel is dry, I apply my CeraVe eye cream. You can use this cream twice a day, but I prefer to use it at night only. From there, I apply the Neutrogena dark spot corrector to my problem areas. Again, you can use this twice a day but I prefer just at night because it contains Retinol. Once that’s dry, I spot treat using the Neutrogena Rapid Clear leave-on mask or spot treatment.
I also apply moisturizer once all of this other stuff is dry. My face is really dry in the winter months so moisturizer is seriously necessary. Believe it or not, since my hysterectomy, my breakouts have been worse, which really pisses me off. But, I have no one to blame but myself because I haven’t been religious about my skincare routine here lately. Things are changing, though, and this is one of them.
I’d love to know what your favorite products are and what your daily skincare routine is. Comment below and let me know!
I’ve been a Filofax user for quite some time now and sometimes it works, sometimes it doesn’t. It’s not the system, though; it’s the user. I’ve searched Pinterest and YouTube high and low to find ideas that may work for me with little to no success. But, all that has changed recently and I’m more productive and organized than ever! Thanks to David Allen’s book Getting Things Done, I’m finally GTD!
I don’t use the system verbatim but I do use the main components. My setup is:
How I Use It
First thing’s first: the inbox. It’s where everything gets written down. When I say everything, I mean everything! It doesn’t matter if it’s work, home, personal, family, etc. It all goes in the inbox. From there, it gets sorted and designated to its proper list. If it requires an action, it goes on my Next Actions list. If it’s a home task, it goes on my home list. If I’m waiting on something from someone else, it goes on the waiting for list. If it’s a multi-step item that requires a good bit of time, it goes on my projects list. You get the idea. I have a column in my inbox that tells me where each item was transferred so that I don’t waste time looking for it in my other lists.
Once everything has been sorted and designated, I go through and work on my tasks. Now, David Allen says that if a task takes less than 2 minutes, you should do it. Well, no offense to David Allen, but I’m not to that point in my productivity yet. I can’t fathom doing a 2 minute home task during the work day when there are work tasks that need to be completed.
I update this list constantly throughout the day. I’m always adding and transferring things.
If I’ve moved something to my next actions list, it means I have to do something else with it. The items on this list should always start with a verb (action word) so that you know exactly what action needs to be taken. This is where all of my actionable tasks go despite the category they fall under. For example, on my action list, I have a task to “Email guidance counselor”. This is an actionable item so it’s on my next actions list and my home list. Most of my work tasks are listed here, too. They’re also listed on my work list, projects list, and waiting for list. I have a lot of work.
This is where all of the tasks that have multiple steps go. I list it in my inbox and transfer it to projects. I have tasks listed on the project and, sometimes, in waiting for.
My work tasks are listed here if it’s something I need to be aware of. For example, a colleague is working on a project that I need to know about but I don’t have to do anything with it. Having this item in my inbox and on my work list serves as a reminder that it’s still ongoing.
This is where I list everything I want to do with my blog. It originates in my inbox and I move it to my blog list from there. If it’s urgent, I’ll add it to my next actions list, but nothing is at the moment.
All tasks related to my family and home go here. Again, it starts in the inbox and goes from there.
This is a running list of all phone calls I have to make. It doesn’t matter if it’s work, family, or personal. If I have to make a phone call for any reason, it goes on this list.
I’ll be honest – I don’t get out of the house often, but, when I do, I usually have a handful of things to do while I’m out. I’m trying to be efficient in my running around so I save time and money on gas. There are only a few errands on my list right now and that’s go to the bank and pick up prescriptions. Neither of these are urgent so they can wait until I go out again. But, they have to be done so they’re listed in my inbox and were transferred to my errands list.
Let me be clear, this is not your normal, every day shopping/grocery list. Well, for me, it’s not. I use it for things that aren’t common. For example, our washing machine went up a few weeks ago (thank goodness we have a spare) and it needs a part. Well, fix washer is listed in my inbox and was transferred to the home list. Once my husband located the part, I added it to my to buy list. Although I miss my washing machine, I’m not in a big hurry to drop $75 on a part for the door (it’s a front loader).
This list is where all of the things that can be done later go. David Allen calls this the “Someday/Maybe” list. I found that title to be a little too far in the future so I call mine later. Here’s an example:
In my inbox, I have the task to replace the roof on our back porch (it leaks). I’ve moved this task to my home list and the later list because it’s for the home and it’s something that will be done later (it’s rained for a month here and you can’t replace a roof in the rain). However, if I put this on a “someday/maybe” list, I highly doubt I’d look at it.
This list is where I write down everything I’m waiting for that pertains to a specific task. I was tasked with coordinating a presentation for a client. This task went in my inbox, was transferred to next actions and work, then it went to projects (because there are multiple steps), and it’s also on the waiting for list because I’m waiting for someone else to complete a task before I can continue.
This may seem like A LOT of work but it really isn’t. The bulk of the work, for me, was setting it up because I had almost 500 emails to go through, add to my inbox, and sort. Thank goodness my BFF was here and helped me go through it all!
The first thing I do each day is check out my inbox to see what’s on tap for the day. Then, I get started completing them. Now, this is where David Allen’s 2 minute rule comes into play for me. I break my day down into sections; work, personal, and home. I have a morning routine that I follow from 8 am to 9 am before I head to my office and an evening routine I follow when I’m done at the office. During this time, I’ll complete those 2 minute tasks that are related to home and personal that are sitting in my inbox. When I’m at work, I run through my inbox again and tackle those 2 minute work tasks before moving on to the complex ones. When I’m finished with a task and it’s completely done, I highlight it green in my inbox. From there, I check it off on the other list it’s on (next actions, work, blog, etc.) and I keep moving.
What I’ve Gained
I feel like I’ve actually gained time! Having everything written down and organized has been absolutely amazing for me. I don’t feel overwhelmed or as stressed out as I did before. I just started this system about a week ago and it’s been so easy and helpful. Things aren’t falling through the cracks anymore and I don’t worry about forgetting something that needs to be done.
Life is demanding, overwhelming, frustrating, and any other euphemism you can think of. It’s important to always make time to take care of yourself. If you’re like me, you tend to shut down when you’re overwhelmed. There’s just too much going on and you need to check out for a bit. Last week was very stressful for me and it wasn’t even my stress! Because my life doesn’t come with enough, I decided to take on the stress for a friend. Um, what?! Yeah, that’s how I do things.
I generally set aside one day a week, usually Sunday, for self-care. I try not to do anything at all on this day except for what I want to do. Last Sunday, I made a run to Target for a few things and Dunkin for coffee. Other than that, I didn’t do much of anything. My “self-care Sunday” is all about me and what makes me feel better. It’s my “girlie day”. I do my dead sea mud mask, wax/pluck my eyebrows, lip and chin (oh yeah!) and give myself an mani/pedi.
But, it’s important to practice self-care every day. If you’re at a loss as to what to do, try these 10 self-care tips today!
Say NO! Don’t take on anything you don’t want to handle or have time for. It’s not worth it.
Talk it out with a friend or family member. Talking about it takes away its power and often leaves you feeling better and seeing things more clearly.
Read. Take your mind off your worries for a little while and read. Sometimes overwhelm occurs because we’re doing too much at once.
Sip hot tea. The calming effects of tea work wonders for your mood.
Write it down. Don’t waste good brain power on worrying. Write down what’s bothering or overwhelming you to get it off your mind.
Ask for help. You don’t have to do everything yourself. Learn to delegate things to others so that there’s not so much on your plate.
Take a hot bath. Relax with your favorite essential oils or bubbles until you’re all wrinkly!
Exercise. Moving for at least 30 minutes will help you gain mental clarity and feel better about yourself.
Plan. Sometimes mapping things out makes them less overwhelming. Get out your planner and make magic!
Listen to soothing sounds. I love sounds of nature, the beach, seagulls, etc. Listen to what soothes you to help you unwind.
These self-care tips don’t take a lot of time to do and most can be done anywhere, so there’s no excuse. Don’t let life get the best of you. It’s time for you to take care of yourself the best you can. Don’t worry about feeling guilty for taking “me time” because guess what? You can’t pour from an empty cup. Before you can take care of anyone else, you have to take care of yourself.