JOY42

Self Love

Five Joys | July

Self LoveHannah DrakeComment

It's time, once again, for my favourite post of the month: Five Joys. In this post, I share five good-news stories that I've read or heard in the last month in an effort to try to counter some of constant bad-news stories that are just utterly exhausting to digest day in and day out.

A man has been called a hero after pushing a woman home in her 360 pound electric wheelchair after the battery died.

Two wild horses were separated when the government rounded up over 2,000 of them, but were able to reconnect 6 months later with a big surprise!

Did you hear about the three year old cancer survivor who served as a flower girl at her bone marrow donor's wedding?

First, Japan fans stayed after a World Cup match to help clean up the stadium. Then, the team left the locker room spotless and left a thank you note in Russian after their loss against Belguim, eliminating them from the tournament. Why can't all sports teams and fans be like Japan?

A man's car died the night before his first day at a new job, but instead of calling out, he started walking the 14 miles to the job during the night. This story is about humility, responsibility, and kindness.

For my last story, I wanted to share the story about the woman who live tweeted two strangers hitting it off on a flight after she and her boyfriend asked them to switch seats to sit together. However, the story turned sour when people tracked down the woman who clearly did not want the fame, leading her to delete her social media accounts. (I haven't read an update since.) It's a shame that people think they can do and say things to people on the internet with no consequences. I'll never understand thinking you have that right simply because you're hiding behind a computer screen. We've seen it in countless cases and it's always awful, no matter who the victim is. (To be clear, the woman who live tweeted the story didn't include their names or faces, but also encouraged her Instagram followers to seek the couple out.) In fact, just recently a former Bachelor contestant was bullied off Instagram when people started sending her messages hoping she'd die and be forever alone for speaking up about her feelings for a contestant on The Bachelorette. It's disgusting. Please just think about what you say to others and how you would feel if someone said those words to you. Please don't assume you know someone because you saw them on TV or even just follow them on social media. And please report people who leave abusive and threatening comments on anyone's account on any platform.

5 Ways to Conquer Your Morning Routine

Self LoveHannah DrakeComment

Last month, I shared 5 Ways to Conquer Your Bedtime Routine. When we really started to look at our bedtime routine, we more easily found ways to change our morning routine as well. While my sister was visiting, she asked if we were morning people or not and I said we're not terrible in the morning, but then the next day I woke up earlier than both her and Luke and she came downstairs and started talking to me and I said, "No, it's not time to talk yet." So I guess I'm not a morning person after all. I need all the help I can get to having a calming, peaceful morning, so I'm here to share with you  a few things that I've found work for me.

WAKE UP ON A REGULAR SCHEDULE

I promise you I love sleeping in as much as the next guy! But I've also seen the consequences of not sticking to a regular sleeping schedule on weekends. For nearly two years, I had a job that required I wake up sometime between 5:00 or 5:30. Of course I wouldn't wake up that early on Saturday and Sunday and sometimes if I slept too late on Sunday, I couldn't get to sleep at a reasonable time that evening and really suffered upon returning to work. Now, we wake up at a slightly more reasonable time (about an hour later) and sleep in until about 8:30-9:30 on the weekends, so it's not too much of a difference. Unless I'm absolutely exhausted, I'll set a "just in case" alarm on the weekends for 9:30, but I've found that my body has gotten into a rhythm so I'm not sleeping till noon like I did when I was in high school. The most important piece of this, however, has been our Sunday night routine. Generally, we don't schedule anything on Sunday evenings, so we're guaranteed a relaxing night at home. We watch Game of Thrones and do a little self care. We stick to our routine and are sure to be in bed at a reasonable time, even if we're not quite ready to fall asleep.

USE A GENTLE ALARM CLOCK

I've been using the SleepCycle app as an alarm for years and Luke started using it after I moved. Still, we would hit snooze for as long as possible and then finally jump out of bed at the very last minute, throw on some clothes, brush our teeth, and run out the door. It was not an enjoyable way to spend the morning. So we decided to start waking up earlier than the last possible minute. We both changed our alarm from 7:00 to 6:30, meaning our app would wake us up when we were sleeping the lightest, any time between 6:00 and 6:30. It's a bit of an adjustment because you have to be prepared to wake up 30 minutes before you need to. But keep in mind that it's analysing your sleep so it's waking you up at the best time (you're sleeping the lightest), which means even though you're missing out on 30 minutes of sleep, you're probably less groggy when you do wake up. The app also uses a really soothing noise to wake you up, that gets progressively louder, and snoozes itself when you pick up or move your phone.

STAY UNPLUGGED AS LONG AS POSSIBLE

This was something I was really focused on while I was unemployed. I had no real routine, especially when it came to sleep, so I would often sleep quite later in the morning and immediately pick up my phone when I woke up. There were days when I didn't even get out of bed till noon because I had passed an hour or two mindlessly scrolling on my phone. There's no arguing that having less screen time is a good thing, but it's particularly good in the morning and evening when you're adjusting to and from sleep. I've found staying off my phone in the morning also helps keep me present and on time. Whether you're looking for updates from your friends or the news, you're bound to find something that could create an emotional reaction from you, so why start your day off that way? Get out of bed and start your morning routine before you allow the rest of the world to effect you. Set a goal for yourself--whether it's not picking up your phone for 10 minutes, 15 minutes, 30 minutes, an hour, or whatever would work for you--and try to stick with it. You'll be surprised what else you can accomplish first thing in the morning if you're not catching up on the news or checking your Instagram.

DO A FEW MINUTES OF YOGA

I know I included this in the bedtime list, but I'm a bigger fan of morning yoga than I am of evening yoga. I've never been one to work out first thing in the morning, but yoga is something I can manage. Even if it builds to be a quite intense flow, it usually starts out slow and lets your body wake up. We've done sequences with varying intensity and I've found all of them to be suitable for the morning, whereas in the evening, I only want to do slow, calming sequences. Not only is it a great way to wake up your body and your mind, but you start the day in a great place mentally and you've already done some movement for the day. It helps me feel accomplished and less guilty for skipping an evening workout or walk since I've already done something.

PRACTICE MEDITATION

One morning back in January, I decided to check to see if there was a Headspace meditation for waking up. Sure enough, there's not only one, but a few options to choose from. I gave it a shot and realised it would be a great addition to my morning routine. I don't always have the time to do it, but I can tell a difference on days I start with meditation and days I don't. I try not to miss it on days when I'm particularly anxious or nervous about something coming up later in the day. It helps me start with a clean slate and feel grounded and focused.

Different things work for different people though and sometimes you just need to try some things to see what will work best for you. It's all about customising it to fit your needs and committing to it. You'll be surprise at how much it changes your ability to wake up rested and start your day on the right foot.

Five Joys | June

Self LoveHannah DrakeComment

This month has been one for books when it comes to hard news, hasn't it? It seems like much of the news cycle was dominated by the separation of families taking place at the southern border of the United States as people flee their home countries, looking for asylum and a better life in the States. You would think it would be unfathomable to use children like a political bargaining chip like this, to take children--including infants--to "bathe" them without returning them to their parents, to lock children in literal cages. It's a horrifying policy, but it is not in fact a law and the current administration could stop this at any point. But it's also important to remember this is not the first time Americans have done such a despicable thing and we shouldn't forget our history of autocracies against Native Americans, Africans, and Japanese-Americans, among others. It's a tough pill to swallow, but sadly this isn't anything new. Regardless, it needs to stop and we need to keep talking about it until it does.

But that being said, there is still good in the world. There is still reason to believe in humanity and hope for our collective future. That's the point of this monthly post. I want to highlight good things I've heard or seen or read and share them with you so we're not constantly bogged down with bad news stories.

Earlier this month, I read about a World Cup goal-keeper who was faking injuries at sunset for a very specific reason. 

What started as a devastating story about one high school senior being ditched at Prom ended with a glimmer of hope that kids can be kind to one another.

Chris Pratt and the rest of the Parks & Rec gang clamouring for a reunion is the good news we ALL need right now.

I got a little choked up reading about the Disney Magic in this Buzzfeed article, if I'm being honest. Once a Disney cast member, always a Disney cast member, I suppose.

The story of this teenager helping a blind and deaf stranger communicate on a flight has gone viral and it's easy to see why.

What good news story have you read in the last month?