How I use Planners to Organize my Business and Life | Time Management

This month is National Time Management Month! This is an exciting topic for me because learning to manage my time has changed my life! I’m still not super great at managing my time (especially if I open my Instagram app), but I have come a long way in the past year learning how to balance my work at home life and my mommy life.

I love shiny new notebooks, long walks down the office supply store aisle, and colorful new pens! I know, a silly thing to get excited about, but I’ve always been this way and I can’t explain it. I just embrace it and use it to my advantage. Plus, it makes me feel like I could be organize if I really try to use these notebooks!

So, lets get to it then! I currently have three planners and a small notebook used for meal ideas. Why so many planners? Well there’s a lot of information that can’t fit in just one planner neatly. I like to divide my social media planning into one calendar. I also have another planner for daily use, my Cultivate What Matters Power Sheets (goals planner), plus a small notebook for meal planning (not pictured in this photo).

My go to planners! Bloom and my Power Sheets!

Let me remind you that I am still quite new on this journey of organizing my life into planners. I tried making a bullet journal, which I loved the creative aspect of it, but it took far too much of my time. I’ve even tried using spiral notebooks, yellow legal pads, and pocket notepads. They were just not organized enough for me to keep all of my thoughts, and todo’s. I especially needed something that I could use minimal time on in those dreaded “dark days” of PMDD, where my brain is not functioning at its normal capacity. I spent the last six months (no joke) obsessively looking at every planner I came across in every single store. You would be surprised how many planners are out there for you to choose from! It can be overwhelming!

Beautiful Bloom Planners

I won my first Bloom planner from a giveaway about the time I was getting fed up with my bullet journal. I instantly fell in love with the simplicity of it! Plus, I was saving time not creating my layouts for my bullet journal. A few months later Bloom was having a sale, so I snagged my self another planner that was a little bigger. I justified this purchased since it was a sale, plus I gave my old Bloom planner a new job, (that makes it ok, right?).

I love the vertical layout, soft colors, water tracking, and all the other pretty details!

Bloom planners are so pretty, and simple but yet have extra pages so you can doodle your monthly vision board or plan out goals. I also really appreciate the vertical layout so I can easily check off my daily to do’s.

I also loosely meal plan. I say loosely because we are definitely not regimented about meal planning but it does help to have a plan when going grocery shopping. I tend to put extra items (chocolate donuts) in my basket if I don’t stick to a list. It also helps me to remember what to cook during our busy work week. The less brain power I need to use on thinking when it comes to simple task the easier the day flows. I took a small notebook that cost me 98 cents, added some peel and stick tabs found in my office supply drawer and then you have a “Menu Notebook”! I just sectioned it off into breakfast, lunch, dinner, and snacks. Now I can easily refer to each section when making our meal plan and grocery list for the week instead of asking everyone what they want for dinner and getting the dreaded shrugs of “I dunno”.

Easy meal book, just section it off for breakfast, lunch, dinner, and snacks. Refer to it when making your weekly meal plan and/or grocery list.

Cultivate What Matters Power Sheets!! Yea they’re that exciting!! I can not express how much I love this beautiful book of inspiring goal motivating strategy. You get to spend sometime at the end of the year looking forward to the things you want to accomplish the following year. You dig, in easy bite size portions into the deepest parts of your mind and soul. But then the magic happens when you sum up all of that digging into your word of the year. It’s like magic. You’re like wow I didn’t know that about myself. Then every month you go back and review what you’ve accomplished and what you want to add to the next month. Really, it’s been magical to write out all my plans and work on them. The crazy thing is, even if you forget to look at your Power Sheets every week, you still some how accomplish those things are your list! It’s like magic. It’s proven that writing down your goals helps you accomplish them, but these Power Sheets take it to the next level!

All these notebooks help me write down everything on mind in to separate organized places that I can access when I need in a timely manner. I would be a hot mess if I continued to write in random notebooks that I often forgets about like I use to. Not everyone uses planners and that’s ok, and others prefer bullet journals and that’s okay too. We are all so uniquely different and that’s the beauty of this world! Are you a planner girl? Notebook? Or are you one of the lucky ones that can remember it all? Let me know if the comments!

Live simply, so you can really live.

With love,

Sophie & The Fam

– Salt Hippy

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Three Days No Food? My first fast! | Clean Eating Journey

We often don’t think too much about how many times we eat in a day. I don’t just mean our 3 daily meals. How about snacks? Or those delicious bits of chocolate we sneak in our mouths throughout the day to get through those low points?

I didn’t even realize how much time goes into thinking about food, preparing it, and going to the grocery store until it had come to a complete stop.

Why did we fast? It has been 20 years since I’ve gone to church. This summer I was compelled to try it because I wasn’t sure how to teach my children about spirituality. It was very important to me that my children learn how to connect with their souls, Universe, God, whatever you want to call it. I just didn’t know how to put it in to words for them.

Since going back to church I felt that every time the pastor spoke he was speaking to me about what was happening in my life. So when the church began talking about fasting, we decided we would too. The fast would go on for 21 days. Each family would choose to fast what they would like. My husband said that he would try and go as long as possible without any food, only drinking water. I thought he was crazy and I decided I would just fast from sugar, caffeine, meats, and processed foods; pretty much go plant based vegan for 21 days.

The Saturday before the fast would begin we got some very crushing news. I was distraught, my whole life was about to change. We would have to have to start making plans to move from The Outer banks. The following Sunday I went to church and it was the day the fast would begin. The pastor shared that he was going to fast for 21 days only on water. I was blown away and thought, ” if he is going to go without food for 21 days, I can do it for at least 3 days.”

The Fast. We started our fast the following Monday. I skipped breakfast entirely. Then lunch. Then dinner. I was shocked how easy it was not to eat. Anytime I felt hungry I would drink a class of water. I realized that I wasn’t even really hungry. My brain was just telling me to eat during certain activities where I normally do, like, watching TV, scanning my phone, meal times, or after a nap.

The hard part was the withdrawals from sugars and carbs. I had pressure in my head, not quite a headache but an uncomfortable hazy feeling. I drank almost a gallon of water the first day. I was irritable and slow. But I set my goal to three days even though I thought about food constantly. I didn’t want to ruin how far I had come. Honestly the first day was easy to miss, it was the second, and it wasn’t hunger that got me, it was my mind.

My second morning without food I woke up feeling empty. My stomach was tight but not in a bad way. During breakfast I was very uncomfortable and had to sit on the floor and close my eyes. I breathed through it as I had learned in yoga. I grounded myself and felt really great afterwards. I was feeling pretty calm and loosing the pressure in my head. I was still moving pretty slow and felt heavy and fatigued. I took a nap when Piper slept because I didn’t know what to do with myself.

Day three I was elated, cleared minded, and very energetic. I wasn’t even hungry which I thought was so strange. I was very attuned to my children needs and less distracted. No dishes to wash, and very little food preparation since the kids were the only ones eating. I had so much extra time I began to complete task around the house that I had been avoiding. I even tried to nap with Piper but I had so much energy I couldn’t fall asleep.

Breaking our fast. During my fast I didn’t want to leave the house. I was worried I may pass out, or wouldn’t be able to function normal. This was not entirely true, I performed fine, but at a much slower rate (more conscious) than I would with food. By the evening I was mentally exhausted trying not to think of food. The cravings were intense. Sometimes I could even taste certain foods like a warm pancake coming off of a buttery skillet. I was ready to eat again and get back to a normal routine.

It was such a strange feeling to let go of something that I allowed to comfort me emotionally and in a habitual state of mind. My best friend would be a box of chocolate mini donuts I would happily scarf down on a bad day.

I decided when I broke my fast I would eat something I really dislike, and that was oatmeal. I wanted to reintroduce it to myself and really appreciate it. Let me tell you it was the most amazing bowl of oatmeal I have ever had topped with strawberries, flax seeds, chia seeds, figs, and unsweetened coconut flakes.

We decided we would continue the rest of our fast eating only fruits, vegetables, nuts and oats.

The pros of fasting.

  • My skin was clear and supple after day two
  • My body was detoxing from processed foods
  • My eczema had cleared up
  • My mind gained clarity after day two
  • Day three my energy sky rocketed
  • My PMDD (premenstrual dysphoric disorder) symptoms lessened
  • So much extra time
  • Less dishes
  • Saved a lot of money on food
  • Reset my taste buds (bananas and figs are sweet enough now)
  • Appreciated natural tasting foods
  • Learned that food is for nourishment
  • My appetite is smaller
  • Less portion sizes now
  • Drink a lot more water now
  • I felt proud of myself
  • I felt more receptive to the Universe
  • I didn’t want to be on social media (so much food there!)
  • I learned that I use food as a comfort and can refrain from it
  • I learned how to tell if I’m really hungry
  • The love of cooking has returned (because cooking the same way for 15 years gets kind of repetitive)
  • No more rewarding ourselves with food
  • No more watching TV while eating (even snacking)

The cons of fasting.

  • It was uncomfortable and different for my mind to wrap around
  • Less energy in the first two days
  • Headache in the beginning
  • Waking up thinking I had to struggle another day sucked

Really, if you think about it, people use to go off alone into the forest or desert as a way to come into manhood. Some would go with nothing but a knife, or some would go with little food. Other tribes would go wander the desert on peyote to seek spiritual guidance. What do we do now? Netflix binge with a bag of sour cream and onion chips and french onion dip. Oh that’s just me?

How often do we really challenge ourselves, or our body for a long period of time that disconnects from humanity? Everyone is eating all the time and it isn’t even real food. Damn that’s scary.

My first trip to the grocery store was shocking. Every single aisle is filled with processed and unnatural food. Even our produce is poisoned with chemicals!

The best part. I didn’t think about how this would impact my children. My eldest has always been a nail biter. No matter what we did to try to get her to stop she wouldn’t and finally we just accepted it. During our fast she had overheard me and my husband talking about how long it takes to break a habit. She took it open herself to try and stop biting her nails. She didn’t even mention it to us. One night I noticed that her nails had the whites on them again. I asked if she’d seen biting her nails and she replied she hadn’t. She told me that she wanted to break her habit of biting her nails and that she learned it from us fasting. Wow! That was such an amazing feeling!

Not only did we positively impact our children but we received clarity on the bad news we had received. It wasn’t a concrete answer – you should do “B” rather than “C”. But it was an understanding that the challenge we are facing can’t be fixed easily. That we are getting ready to walk into a part of our life that will be hard and that we need to accept what is coming. As long as we move forward together as a family we will be okay. That gave us a lot of relief.

Who knew that not eating food could make so many positive impacts? Not only have we began eating again but we are continuing to eat plant based vegan for the rest of our 21 days and have included the children on the last leg of our fasting journey. I’m not sure what will happen after the 21 days but I’m excited to finally shift our family’s mindset about food.

A few notes. If you are thinking about fasting you should make sure to clear it with your doctor. Fasting can have great health benefits if done correctly. It can also be very harmful if done incorrectly. Please be safe and do your research. Everyone’s body is different. What works for us may not work for you.

Remember to live simply, so you can really live.

With love,

Sophie & The Fam

– Salt Hippy

Words to My Younger Self | Living With PMDD

living with PMDD

A few months ago I began writing an article to submit to the PMDD Warrior Blog. The website collects guest blog posts from women all over the world suffering from premenstrual dysphoric disorder. It took me an entire month to complete the article because I cried every single time I tried to add to it. I finally got to the point where I needed to finish it. The words just keep floating around in my head. I wanted to share this deep part of my past with other women suffering from PMDD. The blog post was shared on the PMDD Warrior Blog a few weeks ago, however I have been hesitant to share it on my own blog. The idea of sharing it here makes me feel exposed. On the PMDD Warrior blog I know who will read it, women like me. On my own blog I am exposed to others who don’t know what it is or may not understand PMDD. I’m sharing a moment of my past where I was in so much pain I wanted to die. I can still feel that hollow space in  my chest when I think about those days.

Another reason I find it so hard to share about my experience with PMDD is that I don’t feel it has anything to do with my business. So when I share about it on social media it seems so out of place. But PMDD consumes my life. It is the reason why I eat what I eat, exercise to ease my anxiety, need constant naps, which I have to schedule around my work. Wether I want to share or not, PMDD is part of every aspect in my life. I hope with sharing that in some way I can help another person understand that they are not alone in this struggle, just like those other woman who shared with me a year ago, helping me begin on my path to healing.

So grab a tissue, my first PMDD blog post is going to be an emotional one. Below is the original blog post written for the PMDD Warrior Blog or you can see it here on their site.

She is You, She is Me

PMDD, another acronym, another diagnosis, another confusing list of symptoms to describe to another doctor who has no clue what’s wrong with you…

“If only I knew what I know now,” isn’t that what we often tell ourselves? Unfortunately, the knowledge I know now can’t help my younger-self, but maybe it can help you. Help you understand that you aren’t alone in the way you feel mentally or physically. Maybe it’ll help me heal from all the pain that still sits hidden inside of me from all my years of struggling with PMDD.

There are so many things I wish I could tell my younger self, but the thing that stands out most in my mind are the memories of me as a young teenager crying in my room every month. I can remember one time looking at a calendar and thinking “This happened to me last month.” I wish I could call out to you. “Yes! You are right!” But I forgot, because that’s what PMDD does to you. Week to week you’re almost a different person. The way your hormones change your brain and your emotions. So much is forgotten and replaced with the most negative and untrue perspective of your surroundings during these “hell weeks.”

If only I could hold you and just tell you you’re not alone. Every month when you sat in the darkness of my room crying with that empty feeling aching in your heart, I’d tell you that it’s normal to feel that way, because your body is different. The sad poems. The feelings of rejection cutting just a little bit deeper on those dark days. The need for isolation. The looming anxiety, feeling like you have multiple personalities. It’s all part of one complex health problem. All exasperated by a birth control dose too high for your body, an ultimatum given to you by your boyfriend’s mother, left undiscussed with your parents. These things are not you, nor are they the life you must continue. You can choose to shed it all and heal your heavy heart.

 

pmdd-sophie

I would whisper to you that your home, though it looks normal and clean contains chemicals and products that will prevent your endocrine system from functioning properly. Every product you are using on your body will seep in causing more imbalances. Tampons, shampoos, makeup, lotion, hand soap, toothpaste, deodorant, all contain chemicals that we don’t even consider to be harmful. The dairy, sugar, caffeine, water in plastic cups, and other processed foods you are consuming are another huge part of the problem in your body intensifying PMDD symptoms.

Everything you have learned in these umpteen years must be unlearned. You must listen to your body carefully. It is the key that will tell you that something is wrong. Don’t worry if they think you’re crazy because you can only drink coffee two weeks of the month. Fill your life up with nature inside and out because it will heal you.

One thing you taught me in those dark lonely days was to keep pushing forward and never give up. If you, my teenage self, were able to live through the complete heartbreak each month, plus gut-wrenching cramps that knocked me off my feet, then I, as a woman, can do so much more.

Not everything I would say to you would be a warning. I would pick you up in my lap and tell you “Thank you for fighting and never giving into the feelings that swallowed you up. Your strength gave me a beautiful life.” Just to hold you so you could collapse in my arms, take away just one cycle so you could rest your mind, body, and heart. I wish I could hug you and tell you I’m sorry for all the sadness. I’m sorry you’re alone writing sad poems, crying in bed because you feel ugly, inadequate because your memory is erratic and it feels like the world hates you. But one day all this suffering will help others find their way out of the same darkness. You are a light, shine it, and you will find your way out of this darkness too.

 

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Thanks so much for reading my first PMDD blog post. I hope that this will help at least one person understand that YOU ARE NOT ALONE in the way you feel. There are so any people out there that suffer, even if its not from PMDD. Knowing you are not alone can really make a difference, which can give you that hope to keep pushing forward.

Live simply, so you can really live.

Love Sophie & The Fam

– Salt Hippy