Hello 2015! Time to Relax!

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Happy New Year, friends! We’re already a week into 2015 and it’s already zooming by. 

Our New Year’s celebration was pretty low key but very nice. As my Christmas gift, my boss treated us to a very nice and fancy dinner out on New Year’s Eve. We enjoyed delicious wine and seafood and had fun dressing up. At midnight we said cheers to the Near Year and made some resolutions. 

As I shared on Monday one of my New Years resolutions is to relax more. That may sound funny to you. How hard is it to relax? Do you really need to make a resolution to lounge around and sleep more? If you know anything about me, you know I’m a big worrier and suffer from anxiety. My constant state of worry often makes me lose out on moments of joy. Instead of basking in the moment and taking it all in, my mind is thinking about everything that could go wrong or trying to create a perfect plan so that everything falls into place how we want it.

No matter how many times I learn that I’m not in control of how the world turns, I can’t stop trying to take control or worry about the outcome.

That’s why I decided that my word of 2015 is going to be RELAX. 

2015 is a year of growth and change for Ryan and I. Ryan will be finishing up law school and will be graduating in May. He will be leaving his current job while studying for the bar. We will be moving to a new house in a new area. And then he will be starting his career at his new job in September. This is the time we’ve been waiting for and I want to experience it with joy, not anxiety. 

So in addition to lessening stress and finding the calm in those big moments of change I am also going to start incorporating peaceful and positive changes in my daily life. Like, practicing meditation, yoga, and sleeping more. As well as making priorities and sticking to them while also making sure I have time for myself and my needs. I want to feel centered and relaxed yet intent.  If that means blogging only once or twice a week, so be it! 

Through these changes I am committed to staying relaxing and adopting a “come what will” or “whatever will be” attitude. We are going to be fine, no matter what. Let’s make the ride an adventure, and an enjoyable one, while we are still on it!

What are you hoping to achieve in the New Year?

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Think Positive Monday: Less Holiday Stress

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(Think Positive Monday: sharing tips and keeping me in line to live a happier and more positive life)

I love this part of the year. I love the happiness, the warmth and coziness, the memories, the traditions and the way most people seems to soften a bit. I even like the holiday rush. But this time of year can also be extremely stressful. There are high expectations, budget constrictions, conflicts between family members, and sometimes it feels like there is no time to relax.

I aim to keep Christmas a happy time for myself and those around me. We try to limit meltdowns and over committing. To keep us as relaxed as possible from Dec 1 – January 2 I try to follow these two tips:

Two tips for lessening stress during this busy holiday season:

1. Set Your Priorities and Stick To Them

Early on in the season have a conversation with your partner, or yourself, discussing what your top priorities are in the Holiday Season.

Look at your calendar and decide what will work with the amount of free time, money, and sanity you have. Don’t overbook yourself. Decide what traditions or family events are mandatory and then add on what you know will make you the happiest. I scheduled a few parties with friends and mandatory family events and then made sure I still had time to do my own favorite Christmas activities like baking cookies, wrapping gifts, watching Christmas movies, reading, and lots of quality family time. You can’t do it all.

2. Remember You Have No Control Over Other People’s Behaviors

It’s always hard being around people that you simply don’t agree with or get along with. But when I’m trying to enjoy my favorite time of year, being around negative or toxic people is even harder. I try to remember that I can’t change those people, they are who they are. The only thing I can control is my own behavior. I use these opportunities to treat others the best way I know how. Be responsible for your actions and don’t worry about others.

How do you make it through the holidays without stressing?

 

Creating My Happy Place – 5 Steps to Living Clutter Free

this is our happy place

Do you know the one thing that has been proven to make people happy? And no, it’s not buying that new pair of shoes, or booking a vacation, or drinking that bottle of wine.

It’s a clean house!

I learned this first hand – coming home from a night away to a clean kitchen and living room simply allowed me to breathe a little easier. (Thank you, Ryan!)

After having a hard couple days last week I decided to take matters into my own hands and make our home our sanctuary – the place that serves as the foundation to a happy and stress free life.

Keeping  the kitchen and living room tidy is one thing but ridding yourself of access clutter is a completely other task. A very daunting task to a pack rat like myself.  Back in the beginning of September I made a pretty simple list of Fall Goals, two of which were to clean out my closets and our home office. I have failed at both of these so far. But, now I’m ready to go to war.

I believe happiness starts at home, and I want to create an environment that is a safe haven from the stresses of the world. If you walk in the door to a giant mess, it just creates more stress. It’s time to simplify. By getting rid of some of our junk, who knows what we will find?

simplify your life

Here are my 5 steps to a happier clutter free home:

1. Everything in its Place

This is a two-sided promise. First, as soon as you are done using something, put it away. Or as soon as you bring anything into your home, put it into its proper place. This means no longer dumping things in the entry way after a long day. Second, if something doesn’t have a “place”, create one for it. This will be key for me when doing something with the piles and piles of “files” in our office. Staying organized and knowing where everything is will save you so much time and energy!

2. Little by Little

Feel overwhelmed at the thought de cluttering your whole home? I sure do. Tackle one section of a room at a time . Try to dedicate 15-20 minutes a day. You’ll be amazed at how much you can get accomplished in just a few minutes.

3. No More Piles!

I don’t know about you, but our mail pile can quickly turn into a leaning tower of stress. It’s safe to say that any small pile can and will quickly grow – it’s just too easy.  Commit to the no more piles rule! Nothing should stack up anyway except in your laundry basket!

4. If you bring something in, take something out

Pretty simple – but who really follows this to a T? Take the time to really consider your purchases. Is this necessary? Will this make me happy? I like to think of long run purchases. How many of your impulse purchases could have added up to a weekend getaway or a new piece of furniture?

5. Only keep items that are useful or have meaning.

In other words: purge, purge, purge! I have so much clothes and other junk that I need to dispense of. It will be a weight off of your shoulders once those un needed items are removed from you life and mind. Bite the bullet and really go through your items. I personally know I have items of clothing I haven’t worn for 5 plus years.

clutter free stress free

I hope these steps will not only lead to a happier home and state of mind. I want to turn these steps into life habits of making my home an oasis and to living a simpler and happier life. 

How do de clutter your home or purge items you have a hard time letting go of?

Have you been successful at simplifying your life?

xoxo katie

Date Nights are Important

Life is all about learning as you go.  Want to know the biggest lesson I’ve learned since getting married almost four months ago?

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I never really considered “dating” my husband. I mean, we live together and do most things together on the weekend. Isn’t that dating? No, eating stir fry on the couch while binge watching your favorite TV show together does not qualify as a date. I know, that’s basically our favorite thing to do at home.  And why not? It’s relaxing, easy, cheap, and we’re together. But over the summer I learned that defaulting to this every 8 p.m. on a Friday night may be setting us up for disaster.

Why disaster? I have three reasons for you:

1. Stress Dumping

A side effect of Ryan and I not seeing each other all week is that we don’t have the option to gradually catch up or vent about our days.  Most couples can unload about work stress or any other anxiety to each other over a casual dinner every night. They can also casually fit in the occasional nag, like “honey, I really wish you wouldn’t leave your breakfast dishes out”. But, Ryan and I don’t have that luxury. All our stress from the week gets piled up. Additionally, I know I  have resentment about this stress getting piled up. It all comes to a head on Friday evening at some point. Instead of simply being happy about being together, we’re dumping all of this negativity on one another. We’re discussing bills, work, family issues, groceries. How boring!

2. Pressure

Since we don’t see each other during the week, we put a lot of pressure on the weekends. We want to make sure that our time together is the best damn quality time we can have. When I feel pressured or over excited I tend to have minor breakdowns. Think of a four-year old at their birthday party.

3. Routine

We got stuck in the routine of eating at home in front of the TV. The drill was: 7:30: go for a walk and talk about our week. 8:00: have dinner and watch TV and have a drink until bed time. 12: crash. It was comfy and relaxing.  As we were trying to save me, we were so happy over how much mula we were putting into savings each week. Over a few months I gained about 6 pounds. The black lacy nightgown I wore around the house all summer turned from “kinda sexy” into “oh god this is the only thing that fits right now let me be!” We weren’t developing our relationship, we were, simply put, being slobs.

Why are date nights so vital to the success of a marriage? I give you 3 reasons :

1. Putting value on communication

On a date, you have the opportunity to really communicate with one another. You’re not simply re hashing your day and complaining about your boss. This is your time to continue to develop a deeper understanding of one another – to continue to be one another’s best friend. This is important, because you are both bound to change through the years. I know that I want to grow side by side with Ryan – sharing my thoughts and perceptions rather than grow apart.

2.  Allowing  time for romance

This is a new trick that works for me; whenever I feel like I’m being a little moody, selfish, mean during quality time with Ryan, I pause and think to myself “Would I act this way on a first or second date?” It sounds so simple – but be overly kind, try harder, and take the evening to the next level. Whether this simply means choosing real pants over yoga pants or surprising your spouse with their favorite meal or reservations. Impress one another!

3. Strengthen your commitment as a couple

By setting specific romantic time for you and your spouse you a cultivating a strong sense of togetherness and commitment. You are making a point to put one another first. It has been proven that spouses that spend a lot of couple time together enjoy a higher quality relationship, lower stress, and are markedly less likely to divorce.

When you look back, it all makes perfect sense. However, life does tend to get in the way. Since August, Ryan and I have made an effort to schedule special date nights at least twice a month. As we discuss having a baby in the somewhat near future we put together a “before baby bucket list” and we’re having fun setting aside couple time.

What are ways that you have found to make sure you keep the romance alive and schedule couple time in your busy schedule?