Organizational Tips for 2018

Hi everyone,

I hope you all are having a lovely week so far. I wanted to post about what I’ve been cultivating most in my resolutions for 2018: organization.

Staying organized is crucial for efficiency, productiveness, and maintaining a schedule. I hope you find my tips helpful. And happy 2018 (how did that even happen)

1.  Learn to love a planner. Planners help you avoid cramming every appointment, event, and blurb into your brain for storage. Planners are cute, organized, and give you the relief that you won’t forget important details. Where are you supposed to be at 3 pm before your work shift? At the bank depositing checks, according to your planner of choice. Here’s mine:

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I got my planner at TJ Maxx for $9.99, the original retail price being $29.99. Saving in small ways, right?

2. Wake up at the same time each day. Regardless if you are a morning person or a night owl, setting the same time to get up regulates your body and mind to start the day at the same time. Consistency is key here. Want to know how I, a night owl, have been getting myself up in the morning? My Phillips wake-up light. It looks very futuristic.

This wake-up light has 5 bird sounds to wake up to, or the option of the radio. You also customize the volume and brightness of the lamp, which mimics the sun in the morning. Bottomline: if you aren’t having luck with the standard iPhone alarm clock approach, maybe give this method a try.

3. Dedicate specific days to specific tasks. Today I’m posting on here on the blog, as well as on the blog of a fashion company I work for. Wednesday is dedicated to posting blog posts. Ever since I committed to this, I found myself less scatter-brained. You can dedicate a specific day to clean, go to the bank, do grocery hauls, whatever it is you sometimes have to put on the back-burner due to lack of time. Hold yourself accountable. Need to walk your sister’s dog who’s the Amazon jungle? Pencil that in.

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4. Speaking of grocery hauls… keeping an actual list is handy. Having an ongoing list in the kitchen of things you need at the store makes the trip more efficient and saves you getting items you don’t need (or when you’re hungry).

5. Budgeting methods. Finances doesn’t have to be daunting or disappointing. It’s a relief to visually see yourself saving. I like to keep notes for myself of things I’m saving up for, things I know I’ll purchasing, or I’ll take notes on things I’ve splurged. I’m considering getting a budget journal to log my expenses, or an app to use on my phone. Getting in the mindset of constantly budgeting can save you a lot of money in 2018! Hold the $5.00 for a month and see where you end up!

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6. Start prepping essentials on-the-go. I keep hand cream and moisturizer in my car, along with body spray, extra hair ties, and headphones. I keep essentials in my car and purse in case I need them later. These are very small things, however, you’ll start appreciating thinking ahead when you’re waiting in a long line or your hair tie snaps from the volume of your mane. Just saying. I have mu makeup in a designated bag for work, and I put protein powders and BCAA’s ready to go in shakers and small containers for later use. I’m not a pro or anything, but I’m pretty close.

7. De-clutter. Everything. Maybe tackle or your room one day, your bathroom the next day, and your work space the next. But de-cluttering old receipts, notes, and boxes de-clutters your mind too. They go hand in hand, my peeps.

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Those are my 7 tips of organization! Short and sweet. Which one speaks to you most? Let me know in the comments. xx

Happy productivity!

-Kelly

 

 

6 Tips for Mental Health And Self-Care

Hi everyone,

This week I am writing a piece very applicable to the title of my blog (K State of Mind). I wanted to touch upon mental health awareness and why it’s important. This post is recognizing tips I use to maintain a positive state of mind, and you’ll get to know me a little more along the way. ♥

Mental health is just as important as physical health. Let’s get that out of the way. As someone that loves fitness, I can be very happy physically but low mentally.

Mental health is often not a comfortable subject to discuss. It’s often cast aside, to prioritize other parts of one’s life. People have amazing talents of compartmentalizing; putting some obstacles, issues, thoughts into mental boxes to later work on as they tackle the most urgent task at hand. However, just as machines can go into overdrive, so can a person.

I wanted to share my favorite effective ways to aid my mental health. I find them to be really good mood boosters, or ways for me to get out of my own head. And trust me, I am guilty of being an over-thinker.

♥ Writing/journaling

I’ve been writing since I was little. It started out as journal entries, and merged into poetry. Poetry is a huge release for me, not to mention a form of creative expression. I can sometimes find out how I really feel after reciting my own words back to me.  I feel as though my thoughts and emotions are being channeled into something I can utilize and reflect on.

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I am sure that one day I will write a novel. I have multiple ideas already, one in particular that would be so exposing it makes me a bit nervous to even consider. Writing is something I would highly recommend to anyone, whether it is even jotting down ideas or concepts. Writing is extracting ideas from your mind and putting them somewhere else. If journaling could be your thing (I’ve been in and out of this phase), do that. Get a small journal and carry it with you as a sort of experiment, and you’ll be amazed at the self-reflection.

♥ Organization

I find that my mood is lessened when I’m disorganized. When my room is a mess, I’m either too busy in my schedule to be my tidy self or I’m too moody to clean it properly. Basically, my room is a clear way of knowing how I’m doing. I like to be tidy and know where everything is. A cluttered mind is similar, isn’t it?

Committing to a planner is a good idea. Even if you have a relatively regulated schedule, you’ll find yourself holding yourself accountable more often if you use a planner. Whichever method you choose, electronic or not, keep yourself as organized as you can to avoid things slipping your mind. Forgetfulness is natural, but if you have something written in your planner, you won’t have to experience the stress of that forgetfulness . Stress is not your friend.

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♥ Exercise

Yes, I love to exercise. As you have seen from my social media and bio about my journey as a college athlete, exercise is ingrained in me as a positive thing. Which I am immensely grateful for. Exercise releases endorphins that moderate stress, anxiety, and depression. Exercise also aids better sleep, which, let’s be honest, is commonly associated with mood fluctuation. Cognitive function has also been connected to exercise. The benefits are really endless here.

Whichever form of exercise you like- weights, cycling, running, yoga… make going to a class or hitting the weights a priority in your routine. If you watch one less Stranger Things, you could get a workout in. Over time, your body image positivity will increase and your mind will start to automatically desire exercise. If you don’t know which kind of exercise to start with, write a comment below and I’ll brainstorm with you. xx

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♥ Nature

Getting out into nature is therapy. The fresh air and lack of concrete gets me every time. The limited technology and surplus of wildlife makes me ask myself why I don’t spend more time outdoors. Drive past the highway and take the side roads. Go on a hike or spend time at the lake.

Did you know that urban living increases the occurrence of anxiety and mood disorders? It’s interesting to think how our daily exposure, whether urban or rural, effects our mental health.

I did happen to write a blog post a few months back about hiking and its benefits for mental health. Check it out here.

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♥ Music

Music is lovely, plain and simple. Whether you’re into R &B or Country, Rap or Pop, music is a definite mind release. My go-to feel good music (yes I just wrote that) is country music. It’s simple in all the right ways and always lightens my mood. You won’t find country in my workout playlist, though.

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♥ Unplugging

I feel like this is sometimes the hardest thing to do in our current generation. We love to have our phones next to us when we sleep, in our pockets, on the table as we work. We jump to see our notifications, group chats, or hilarious memes. We communicate constantly in person and on social media.

What sometimes really helps? Unplugging completely. I know this is a solution from personal experience. My phone dies on occasions, and I actually feel momentarily relieved. I don’t have the option to check my phone. Who’s messaged me, what someone DM’ed me on Instagram or tagged me in on Facebook. I don’t need to know. I can just unplug. I don’t have to communicate.

Communication is essential, but constant communication? Definitely not. Unplug and draw yourself a bath, or take out your neglected library book. Social media and your emails will be there when you plug back in.

Anxiety has effected my life, there’s no denying that. My body reacts to stress and anxiety, so I focus really hard on these tips to keep myself balanced. I’ve had anxiety attacks. There shouldn’t be any shame in acknowledging things like this, and I have zero shame in it. While I’m a confident and strong person, I have the moments where the small voice in my head seems to dominate my confident one. It happens. It’s a journey of getting to know yourself.

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Self-Compassion and self-care should be on your life’s to-do-list. Imagine they are written in permanent marker.

 

I hope my personal tips were helpful. xx

Have the best week,

-Kelly

 

 

 

 

23 Things Learned at 23 Years Old

Hi everyone,

I’ve been thinking quite a bit about my age recently. Where I see myself in 5 years, in 5 months even. What it means to be a year out of college. The fact that I’m not working in the public health field like so many of my peers.

At the age of 23 I feel pretty confident in my choices. I feel as though I have definitely learned a thing or two that would have been nice to know 3 or 5 years ago. Of course, the whole point is finding out the hard way, right? Here is a list of 23 things, big and small, that I consider to be lessons learned.

1.Without a doubt, you will always be your biggest critic. Don’t set constant expectations that get in the way of you actually enjoying yourself. If you’re a perfectionist, give yourself room to breathe.

2. Be comfortable with your own presence. You will be with yourself the rest of your life. Venture out on your own if you tend to be only in groups. If you’re constantly wanting to evolve yourself in some way for the sake of yourself, make it a priority.

3. It is never too early to organize finances and constantly be aware of your expenditures. It’s not all boring or stressful, saving up money for traveling or things that are important to you can be a very rewarding experience.

4. Do not hold on to one-sided relationships. I’ve been so much better at simply eliminating one-sided relationships that made me feel as though I was giving more than I was receiving. It’s unfortunate and sad sometimes to move on, but you don’t want negative influences. Surround yourself with people that believe in you.

5. Keep your passport in a specific location at all times. Not just when you’re traveling, even when you’re home. Putting your passport somewhere random is not “safe-keeping.”

6. If you need to wear a fanny pack to avoid losing your ID at the Gorge and shamefully picking it up at the guest services station, just wear it. Trust me.

7. Drinking alcohol should only be consumed when you actually want to. There will always be events, parties, and people to go with. If you want to sip kombucha on a Saturday and have your own spa night with your cat, do it. There are no rules.

8. Please, do leave high school behind you. Don’t dwell, hold grudges, or divert back to your shortcomings. There is a reason it was only 4 years of your life. No need to relive it.

9. Take compliments. As a person who gets slightly bashful or makes a joke out of compliments I receive, I’ve learned to accept them. Weird lesson learned huh.

10. There is nothing wrong with being selective. Do not succumb to the idea that being single means you have to spend your free time “swiping right.” The downsides of online dating apps include your thumb getting sore and stumbling across someone in your high school class. So awkward.

11. Build up a wardrobe with pieces that allow you to get ready in 10 minutes, without looking like you got dressed in the dark. Hint: more neutrals.

12. When buying a pair of nice jeans, do make sure you go a size down. This avoids literally feeling $100 slipping off your waist. Jeans stretch out a lot, apparently.

13. Experience a customer service job at least once. I’ve been in both the retail and restaurant industries, and it has humbled me as a person. When I go to stores I never make a mess, and when I go to restaurants I’m never high maintenance. Because I know what it’s like on the other side. Don’t be disrespectful to people in these roles.

14. Find a routine that works for you and be diligent about keeping it. As a blogger I have to constantly manage myself, or work doesn’t get done.

15. Do not sleep in your makeup. Ever.

16. Break the pattern of negativity between competitive females. Support other women. We really can all coexist, I promise. (Sorry guys, that was gender specific)

17. Say yes more often. Sometimes, getting a little less sleep or going outside your comfort zone for a new experience is so crucial to putting yourself out there.

18. Always network. No matter where you are or what you’re doing, constantly consider chances to network. The world is full of opportunity, and the more you connect with people that might open an awesome door for you, the better. Worst case scenario you have enlightening conversation.

19. Have conversations of substance. I recently spent two hours with good wine after work discussing religion and culture with a complete stranger I was introduced to. Learning about his travels and how we views other cultures was refreshing. Sophistication in your 20’s also shows people that the millennial generation is a force to be reckoned with.

20. Be brave. Take some chances. You are not a byproduct of something bigger, you are your own person. You can make mistakes and take the road less traveled. You can take that road ten times. Don’t pressure yourself to fit the mold.

21. Have global awareness. Tune in to the news. Don’t be the only one in the happy hour group that doesn’t know more than the news headline.

22. Ask for help if you need it. To other individuals that prefer to do it all alone: sometimes it is just the right thing to do to ask for some support. You’re not weak, you have those people around you for a reason.

23. Love yourself. If you don’t believe in yourself, why should someone else? ❤

I hope these 23 things were insightful! I hope you had a productive and amazing week. xx

-Kelly

Hiking: For Your Mind And Body

Hi everyone,

Given that Seattle has given us given us amazing weather the last few weeks, I’ve been taking to the trails more than usual. I’m much more focused on weights and interval training now as opposed to long stints of cardio, however, hiking is a much more enjoyable full-body workout. And it’s not just physical.

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Research shows that hiking is linked to higher amounts of brainpower. If you crave a better attention span on upcoming work or projects, spend the morning outdoors to clear your mind. Although physically being in nature allows your mind to de-clutter, being away from so much technology is just like hitting the reset button. How good is your Wifi in the woods? Exactly.

Good news for calorie counters: You can burn well over 500 calories in just an hour of hiking. I personally love walking on trails because I’m prone to shin splints, and the forest floor is way softer on your joints as opposed to asphalt or concrete.

Regular hiking activity lowers blood pressure and cholesterol. The cardiovascular aspect the ups and downs of hiking is extremely good for your heart and BMI. Changing altitude has been recorded to reduce fat loss.

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Hiking is a great alternative to traditional indoor workouts in the gym. I get the feeling of not wanting to workout indoors on the elliptical, or be inside at all. When it’s beautiful out, why not get creative? If you haven’t found your workout niche but want to get in better shape, hiking could be perfect for you.

Hiking is definitely great to do in a group. You can make a day trip out of hiking anywhere and go to a lake, hang out on the top of a mountain and eat lunch, or sunbathe. There’s something in it for everyone.

Some mistakes I’ve previously made (not just me my family was there):

  1. Remember where you started your trek. If you need to drop a pin on your phone, do so.
  2. Overestimate trail time. I always try to factor in traffic and add on time for sight seeing etc. Avoid planning a long hike the day you have a set appointment mid afternoon that you will be rushing to make. I’ve been there.
  3. Bring water if it is a longer hike. Altitude can get you more dehydrated, so even bring a small attachable flask if that’s more convenient.

John Muir once said: “In every walk with nature, one receives far more than he seeks.”

Nature has been called a “mental health prescription” due to its positive influence. People often spend so much time in urban settings, and the change of pace brings a much greater balance of exposure.

A Stanford study revealed that city dwellers have a 20 percent higher risk of anxiety and 40 percent higher risk of stress when compared to rural residents. And we don’t often know we need the nature break until we are mid-hike, thankful for the minimal cell service.

I hope you all enjoyed my health check in. Enjoy what’s left of the summer months and go out in nature to clear your mind and senses.

For more photography, visit my blogger Instagram page @k_stateofmind and my portraits page @kellyzphoto

xx

-Kelly

 

How to Easily Bring Mental Release Into Your Daily Routine

Hi everyone,

I’m a believer that positive mental health is crucial to an overall healthy lifestyle. I also think it is often prioritized last. Giving yourself mental release is so important to reset your mind and stay focused for longer durations. It is also crucial for reducing stress.

Seems a little odd, but my first relaxing part of the day is when I get out of bed and head to my bathroom to do my makeup. I play music on Spotify and I take extra time, letting my full perfectionist come out. Slowing some activities down can be beneficial to not being so rushed. Of course, you have to give yourself enough time to get ready! I do not wear a lot of makeup, most of my routine is skincare based. Just to clarify.

Throughout the day I take a few minutes at a time with my photography. I edit pictures and play around with my Instagram feed, or I will be doing flatlays and other shots. I find working with my camera to be super therapeutic. I also use my photography and style to demonstrate my artistic side, which brings me to my next relaxing activity.

Sketching. You can spend 20 minutes or 2 hours sketching and your mind dives into the artwork. You don’t think about your schedule or your obligations, you just use your creativity and vision. I used to sketch more before I got my DSLR, but I find both to be beneficial for mind release.

The gym. I love going to the gym above all else, and this may seem obvious already. It’s not just to get a better body, it’s also extremely healthy for your mind. Exercise can boost your mood, improve your sleep and memory, and increase your self-esteem. There have been scientific connections between exercise and the prevention of cognitive decline. Cardiovascular exercise has been known to spike brain performance. I tune everything out at the gym, with my headphones in and my workout on my phone.

Cooking. I’m not the best cook, but I’m learning to experiment more in the kitchen. When I do cook I often play music to make it more fun, while I wait for water to boil or food to cook. Cooking is known to be an art form to some, with the creativity behind it. Quality nutrition of cooking your own meals at home is also linked to positive mental health, for you know all the ingredients going into your meal and control all of the nutrients you’re receiving.

Winding down. At the end of the day it is always good to have a winding down period. I personally like to get ready for bed and make a cup of decaffeinated tea. I go on my computer or read a book, and these days I’ve had the heater on while I slip into knee-high wool socks (Seattle problems). I tend to sleep a lot better when I incorporate this time, as opposed to just hopping into bed and turning the lights off. My body and mind seem to recognize the transition better this way.

I hope these ideas were helpful to add some mental release into your day! Stay mindful and motivated. xx

-Kelly

College Expectations Unsaid

You heard in high school that college would be the best four years of your life. Let’s the discuss the major flaws in this statement.

What’s on my mind: What you don’t expect from college. The uncensored, unedited version of that educational environment you spent a previous four years staring at a GPA and preparing standardized test scores for.

We go through life often looking forward to a future result. We plan ahead, we set goals, and one of these goals is often where we attend college, and what we will study when we get there. But what happens when you actually get there? For me, I completely resent the idea of saying college was the best four years of my life. I’d like to consider it a trek for the better, a battle won for myself.

Life after college is not a set path, there is no universal option. There are opinions, expectations, social norms. You might want a pet chamelion as opposed to a dog, you might not want kids, or a van, or a big kitchen. You might not want a permanent postal address. And this is okay. Whatever it is, you build on it after you leave the college security blanket.

Rather than write out the reasons why I personally reject this statement, here’s a different format:

You’re doubtful in

your steps on the way to class,

Or your choice to stay in.

You second guess

Your surroundings,

Your purpose,

Your point of view.

You slip from optimism to the open-ended,

As you stare at numerical figures

To represent your worth,

Your capabilities.

You think of the real world,

And how you’re not a part of it,

As you muster up hypothetical elevator talks,

And convince yourself you’ll turn a corner

In a week,

In a day,

And everything will make sense,

Exactly as you planned in your

Decorated journals

And proudest essays.

Yet you are finished,

You hit a milestone that

Was meant to be an overpowering

Revelation,

That has only brought you uncertainty.

Four years flew by,

Without your conceding.

You chase something else,

Something to fill the gaps,

That widen as you struggle down

the honorary carpet.

The truth: The best years are relative,

Limiting you from pushing the bar,

From being amazed at small details,

Engrossed in still moments,

Appreciate what you have yet to do.

You have so much to do,

Darling,

Don’t sell yourself short.

xx – Kelly

Achieving A Balance With Technology Use

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Hi everyone,

Our society is thriving through technology, and it’s not necessarily a bad thing. Everything is great in doses. Honestly, it becomes an issue when you can’t sit through a movie without checking your phone or constantly scrolling through news feeds.

I am 22 years old, and I am admitting that there is a balance that needs to exist with social media and online content. Don’t get me wrong, I absolutely love sharing my creativity via the internet, whether it is on this blog or on my Instagram.

I also love using my computer. I’m not as much into television, so that’s never been an issue for me. Fun fact: I went two out of the four years of college without a television in my living space. Part of the reason is I can’t stand commercials or surfing channels. My days were also planned by the hour so I didn’t stay awake long enough to log into Netflix. Sue me.

I’ve put together some tips to not remain completely engrossed in technology 24/7:

  • Don’t be a checker. If you post something, don’t remain on that platform awaiting the responses, likes, follows etc. A couple hours later, after you’ve done other activities, going back and seeing what you’ve missed is totally fine.
  • Being on your phone constantly when someone is trying to have a conversation with you is the reason why our generation gets complaints regarding attention spans.  Put your phone down when someone asks you a question.
  • Live your life, don’t spend all of your energy trying to prove that you’re living it. It’s great that you want to share pieces of your life with others, but obtain boundaries from the rest of the world and have undocumented moments.
  • Plan more activities that don’t require technology use. If you’re hiking up a steep mountain, I doubt you need to be on the Facebook home page. To avoid injury and missing local wildlife, put your phone in your bag and wait to take the predictable photo at the top of the climb. I’m sure whoever is in your ‘recents’ will understand.
  • Don’t completely transfer over to technology from seemingly outdated methods. In other words, take a page out of a writer’s book. Writers still use notebooks to jot down ideas. There is a reason why handwriting feels so strange these days, because even standardized testing is done through computers now. I personally keep a sketchbook and a journal to maintain my own handwriting, and sometimes it’s nice to switch out the keyboard with how the pen feels on paper.
  • Don’t sleep with your phone and/or your laptop. I know it can be difficult, but a bright screen in front of your face late at night actually slows melatonin release, making you stay up longer. The National sleep Foundation reported that 90% of Americans in their study used some form of technology before they sleep. Technology therefore has been directly linked to negative sleep patterns.

If you try to improve even one of these points made above, you’re doing yourself a service. Technology has become a comfort zone. It’s a little worrisome if people lose ideas of what to talk about without including technology, or completely ditch the idea of a phone call over texting.

This all comes down to priorities, and intentions behind our use of social media and technology. I only use Facebook to keep in contact with international friends, and occasionally upload content. I’m not a supporter of mentioning my location to the public at every opportunity. Besides, zero mystery makes for a very boring plot line.

It is also very clear from news headlines that technology is a constant distraction to safety.

I need to get this off my chest: I do not, nor will I ever play Pokemon Go. People are playing this game in public and searching for invisible creatures to “catch”? I can’t bring myself to fact check this information, because, regardless of the game rules, people are now trying to play it while operating vehicles.

The Guardian has recently released an article regarding the hundreds of fines towards drivers for playing this game instead of focusing on the road. Seriously? We have to improve our generation’s image, and I’m sorry to say, people running around catching air has definitely featured on my snapchat stories. With colorful details.

Sharing content and networking with people that inspire you is a great thing, and is made easier with all of the current online platforms to choose from.

A really helpful practice for me is to focus on just two or so platforms for my content, to avoid micromanaging so many accounts. I don’t need to be present on 10 online platforms, for I feel this would breach creativity and begin a case of technology addiction.

When your phone dies, everything will be okay. When you plug it back in and you actually didn’t get any new notifications since the 4 minutes have passed, maybe this is an important realization to make: you are allowed to go off the grid.

Thanks for reading! xx

-Kelly