28 Days to Make Your Life

Good morning everyone! I have a fun post to share today- for the past month, I've been working my way through a schedule that's supposed to boost my mood. I was flipping through Good Housekeeping's January/February issue (FYI- I borrowed this from my library's online system!) and saw an article about little ways to feel calmer, kinder, stronger, and more joyful just by taking a few minutes each day to focus on these activities. I figured it was worth a shot and would be fun to try out a challenge, so let's go!

Week One

Take 5-Minute Brain Breaks
: As soon as I logged into work for the day, I added 5x5 minute blocks to block off time for my brain breaks! Luckily today wasn't a meeting-heavy day, so I got to squeeze them in between a few which worked perfectly. I did a guided meditation, some breath work (both from the Peloton app), a short walk, and then just zoned out for the others. It was a nice way to reset throughout the day, but might be better when I have a really hectic day and need to remember to recharge!

Add Flavor to your Water : I actually started doing this regularly back in December to up my water intake, so I used today to try a new flavor combination- blueberry, lemon, and lime. I filled up a pitcher at the start of the day and worked on finishing it by the end of the work day.

Join a Virtual Dance Class : Originally I wanted to take a Dance Cardio class on Peloton, but I've taken them so many times and not everyone has the app, so instead I found a fun class on Youtube. I liked about half of this class but then it started to get a bit repetitive! I used to love going to Zumba classes at the gym, but this one didn't have the same energy. I think I like having songs that I know or at least have words in them instead of just an instrumental song! It was definitely fun changing things up though and I had fun!

Buy a Plant : I have SO many plants right now and didn't want to break Frugal February to buy another one, so instead of getting a new one, I decided to update my pots. The first one was a regular terracotta pot with a Christmas Cactus my mom propogated for me. I painted it in leftover paints from our house and love how it came out. My second pot was from an aloe plant I got from Trader Joes (it was an "aloe-ween" plant I got around Halloween). It had a slightly Beetlejuice-inspired paint job, so I just painted it all black to get rid of the stripes, and used some similar colors from my first pot to have them coordinate.

Set up a Movie Night : Dan and I had our movie night together- I decided on the movie "I'm Thinking of Ending Things" on Netflix which is based on a book that I read a few years ago. It was a very psychological, open-to-interpretation movie that had us both talking about it for days later. 

Make Something : I decided to join a live Paint n Sip class that an artist was hosting on Tik Tok! It was my first time joining one and it was so fun- she gave instructions on how to recreate a painting she made of a landscape in West Virginia (added the picture above!). I loved the class and will be going to more in the future!

Week Two

Call an Old Friend
: This "challenge" fell on Superbowl Sunday, so I decided to have a pre-game Zoom call with a few of my friends. This is something we used to do when the pandemic was still a new thing, so it was nice to virtually hang out again. We had a lot of fun!

Go Meatless for the Day : I do this everyday but love that they included this in the challenge. I had pumpkin pie oatmeal for breakfast, teriyaki stir fry for lunch, and Dan Dan noodles for dinner. Delicious :)

Practice Push-Ups : This luckily fell on a Total Strength upper body workout, so I got LOTS of pushups done!

Replace Old Cleaning Supplies : I actually did this last year when I discovered Go Clean Co on Instagram. She has a cleaning guide where you use powdered tide, bleach and hot water to clean pretty much every surface in your house and it has CHANGE THE GAME for me. So, instead of replacing supplies I just cleaned out my storage area for my cleaning supplies and it looks so much better.

Play a Board Game : Unfortunately I don't own any board games, so I made this a virtual challenge with my family and played a game over Zoom. I found Psych (which is by the same brand that makes Heads Up) and it was SO much fun. Will definitely be adding this to my Zoom rotation in the future.

Make your Bedroom Blissful : This was a fun one- I cleaned up my room and then made a quick wall hanging to go above my bed. I've never had anything there and it looks so bland and boring, so I was happy to make something minimal with materials I already had. I also added an oil diffuser with a relaxing scent to truly make my bedroom feel like an oasis.

Week Three

Don't Look at Social Media or News Feed
: Great start to the week with avoiding social media. This was a pretty easy challenge to complete, but it made me realize how many times in the day I mindlessly scroll through Instagram or TikTok. I had to stop myself throughout the day which was pretty eye-opening.

Use a New Ingredient : For this challenge, I decided to use saffron. I've had it for a while but since it's such an expensive spice, I never feel like I should use it (which means it's probably losing a lot of its flavor by sitting there). So, I used up the rest of it to make a saffron rice with spinach, shrimp, and a lemon garlic butter sauce. It was amazing and fun to be a little more indulgent with my food!

Reconnect with your Doctor : This is actually something that I've been really good about this year- Last year I cancelled a few of my checkups if I was feeling fine, but so far I've gone to all of them. For this challenge, I also scheduled an eye exam and found an office closer to my home so I don't have to travel downtown to go (which is where my office was so it was super convenient).

Set a Mood with Scent : I started to do this a few months ago in my office- picking out an oil to diffuse while I work- and it's been something nice to look forward to! For the challenge, I used the "Awake" blend (orange, ginger, tangerine) on my desk, "Cheer Up Buttercup" (bergamot, lemon, lime, grapefruit, orange) in my bedroom, lit a vanilla candle in the kitchen, and used a vanilla wax melt in the bathroom. My entire house smelled amazing and I felt transformed going room to room!

Try a DIY Spa Night : Now this is what I was waiting for! I decided to take a pause from Frugal February to buy a few supplies for my spa night- I got under-eye hydration masks, a thick lip balm, and a hair mask. I also used my bubble bath and candles to make a truly luxurious experience. It was fantastic! 

Have a Cleaning Competition : I didn't really have a competition, but I turned cleaning into more of a game. I set my timer for 30:00 for each room and cleaned until the time went off. It was a fun way to get a lot done but feel like I had to beat out the clock each time. Might make this a weekly thing!

Week Four

Donate Food
: I looked up a local food bank and saw a list of supplies that they were in need of and picked those up on my monthly shopping trip. I also decided to do a cash donation to a larger food bank in the area, and was able to get it matched by my employer! To be honest, I've never donated food before (besides leaving some for organized food drives at work or by my postman) so this is something I want to make more of a habit. It was SO easy and hopefully will help make a little difference.

Upgrade Tomorrow's Breakfast : I'm usually not much of a breakfast person, but was excited to make something ahead of time so I could just grab it when I got hungry in the morning. This actually worked out perfectly because I did a morning workout and was really hungry after, so I was very pleased to have something ready to go. I made strawberry overnight oats- 1/2 cup oats, 3/4 cup almond milk, 2 teaspoons chia seeds, 2 teaspoons agave, and 2 chopped strawberries. It definitely hit the spot after my workout.

Focus on your Posture : The description for this challenge was pretty sparse, so I decided to take a yoga class mid- day which always helps me focus on posture. It was a standing class with lots of twists and was a great break in the day.

Plan your Dream Vacation : This was super easy for me to complete- we had to cancel three trips in the past year that I would have considered dream vacations. First up was a trip to Nice, France in April. We were planning on going to the Monte Carlo tennis tournament, drive around southern France, visit a winery village, shop at farmers markets, and kayak in the Pont du Gard. Next was Oktoberfest in Munich with train trips to Austria for the Sound of Music tour, a stop in Liechtenstein (one of the smallest countries in the world) and sky diving in Switzerland. Finally, we planned a cherry blossom trip to Japan this spring and were going to stay in a spa town (where everyone walks around the downtown in bathrobes to hop from hot spring to hot spring), bike a famous route that goes down a chain of islands, and see bioluminescent squid in Toyama Bay. Hopefully one day we'll get to take one of these trips, but it was nice to dream about them for a while!

Hold an Indoor Olympics : I've been wanting to do this for months now- I follow an account on TikTok that started the Quarantine Olympics with his family back in the summer. It looked so fun so I stole a lot of my ideas from him (it's Alex Presley if you're interested in seeing the originals). The games we played were trash can basketball, beer pong, quarter toss, muffin pan pong, as well as a round of Mario Kart and a dice game called Tensies. It was so much fun and I need to have this be a regular thing- maybe even with friends when we can see them again!

Tackle your Entryway : I did this project earlier in the pandemic. The biggest change was painting the grout to go from a dingy dark grey to a fresh off-white. It made a huge difference! So, to cross this one off the list I just cleaned up the entry- even though I have lots of baskets to keep things organized sometimes we just get lazy and throw things wherever they land.


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