This Is Getting Me Through Right Now

It’s been quite a month! We found an apartment on Prince Edward Island (remotely of course, with an on-the-ground generous friend touring for us), applied for our visas, have (almost) finished mapping out our travel plans back to NH and booking a few campgrounds, and of course we’ve continued coaching, teaching, and supporting clients.

I’ve been thrilled to see clients making progress in their lives. And I’ve been thrilled to see my own progress! But it’s been very, very easy to get overwhelmed.

The way I’m getting through that overwhelm feeling each day is to ask myself “What’s the one thing I could do today to move the needle? What’s the one thing I could do in the next hour to help us get to Canada?” Usually, the answer is obvious. And if it isn’t, considering that helps me to keep sight of what is NOT as important right now.

My main priorities?

Get to Canada.This is the one I pray about and focus on each day and throughout the day. We are getting to Canada in August.

Keep food on the table, aka support my existing clients.

Make time for my own daily self-care. It’s easy to let this slide, but I am absolutely firm on it, and I think it’s the number one reason I’m feeling happy every day (even on the tough days, there is happiness in the mix).

Spend time (usually virtually) talking to family and friends.

Check in occasionally in my Facebook groups, on social media, and via email so people know I’m alive.

You may not be about to move to another country. You may just be trying to get through the work day or through the night, or trying to stay safe or get healthy.

Take this as your sign that you aren’t alone. And focus on the one thing you can do to support yourself and your goals best.

Thanks for reading! And if you’re ready for some one on one support in reaching your goals, please reach out to me today.

______________________________

Supporting Our Blog

We are so thankful for your support of our blog and our careers! You can help by doing any or all of the following:

  • Purchase one of Ross’ albums! 
  • Take Ross’ online ukulele course!
  • Become a patron of our work!
  • Make purchases via our Amazon website links. There is no additional cost to you, and a portion of the proceeds can support our travels. Begin your Amazon search here.
  • Make other purchases using our affiliate links. Signing up with Dosh is a great way for everyone with a smartphone to support us, and we also have options for aspiring virtual assistants as well as occasional and full-time RVers to save money.
  • Subscribe to our blog, as well as perhaps InSearchOfAScoop.com, and recommend our work to your friends and family.
  • Take music or theater lessons (group or private) from us, either in person or via Skype at TinyVillageMusic.com. 

Why I’m Taking A Pause

Sunrise

Taking a pause. It’s something we all do, right? We pause before starting to sing, hearing the intro notes to mark our place. We pause before waiting for our turn to enter a conversation (or waiting for a good time to interrupt). We pause before falling asleep.

But have you built intentional pauses into your day or your week? There’s a reason that professors take sabbaticals, students get a winter or summer break, and at least the white collar desk jobs get vacations. Heck, there’s also a reason our representatives have breaks between sessions, but that’s a whole other story.

Last week I defend the practice of a tea break, but whether that excites you or not, pausing is essential to wholeness and fulfillment.

Yes: taking a pause is essential. If we’re considering a career shift, or feeling like we’ve overcommitted ourselves, or if we’ve been under a ton of stress lately (whether it’s family stress, job stress, health stress, or the state of the world), a pause is what gives us a chance to hear our intuition.

How many times have you noticed that it’s when you’re taking a shower, or walking the dog, or visiting a museum, that you get an idea for a new project or an angle to solve a problem. I get downloads about new courses during yoga, and ideas for blog posts while listening to podcasts.

I hear a lot of people say they don’t have time to pause. They see my life as so different from theirs, whether it’s that I work from home, set my own hours most of the time, or don’t have children. But I’m also a problem-solver (which is also how I created this life), and that means I LOVE a good challenge!

So let me help you find some free time.

Can you wake up ten minutes earlier so you can drink a cup of coffee or tea in silence, or do a few stretches?

If you’ve got young kids, can you designate five or ten or fifteen minutes of a nap time to reading a book, just for you?

If you have a commute, can you spend part of it listening to favorite music, or traveling in silence, or repeating a positive mantra, or even journaling if you’re on public transit?

Can you meditate for ten minutes before bed, or before you start your nightly Netflix show?

If you’re still struggling, leave me a comment with your challenge, and I’ll share my suggestions. And if you have a favorite way to take a pause, please comment and share it with all of us!

Take it easy, and have a great week. And if you’re an aspiring adventurer too, join me in my group, Crafting Your Life Adventure, for tips on taking a pause and for walking tips and inspiration this month.

______________________________

Supporting Our Blog

We are so thankful for your support of our blog and our careers! You can help by doing any or all of the following:

  • Purchase one of Ross’ albums! 
  • Take Ross’ online ukulele course!
  • Become a patron of our work!
  • Make purchases via our Amazon website links. There is no additional cost to you, and a portion of the proceeds can support our travels. Begin your Amazon search here.
  • Make other purchases using our affiliate links. Signing up with Dosh is a great way for everyone with a smartphone to support us, and we also have options for aspiring virtual assistants as well as occasional and full-time RVers to save money.
  • Subscribe to our blog, as well as perhaps InSearchOfAScoop.com, and recommend our work to your friends and family.
  • Take music or theater lessons (group or private) from us, either in person or via Skype at TinyVillageMusic.com. 

In Defense of Tea

Are you a tea drinker? Is it a part of a daily habit or ritual for you?

Okay, so in light of everything going on in the US and around the world, there are certainly larger issues we could tackle this week. But I want to support you in your life journey, so I wanted to take a moment to celebrate an easy and delightful bit of self-care and ritual: tea!

Lots of cultures value tea highly, and drinking it is often a daily norm. But for many of us in the U.S., we come to tea later in life. Who knows – maybe it goes back to the tea party before the Revolutionary War, but for whatever reason, many of us do not grow up drinking tea.

My experience with tea was that it was a thing for “grown ups”. As a young Brownie (a Girl Scout), I attended my first tea party at age six and loved it, but we didn’t drink tea in my home growing up. In college, I had access to tea and housemates who drank it, so I would experiment with a cup of tea sometimes. But it really wasn’t until I was an adult seeking “afternoon tea”, aka a three course meal paired with tea, that I developed my passion for it.

With COVID-19, I found myself seeking additional ways to ground and center myself each day. I had a great morning routine, but I felt it might be getting stale. When Sarah Jenkins suggested adding tea or coffee to our morning routine or sacred start, I knew this was the perfect excuse to up my tea intake and feel like I was truly indulging.

Now, I carve out an extra 10-15 minutes each morning to steep and enjoy some tea. Some days it’s black, some days it’s herbal, some days it has milk or sugar in it. But it always delights. It forces me to pause, to savor. I pair it with a sacred or reflective book and enjoy a slow and beautiful start to my morning before the workday begins.

Tea comes in so many forms, and in so many flavors. You can keep it super healthy or sweeten it up. (This morning I made a candy cane latte…oh my goodness it was good!)

And if you don’t like any teas, you can enjoy a similar ritual, whether it’s coffee or another drink (something warm is ideal for the winter months).

I guess when I’m suggesting you make time for tea, what I’m really suggesting is that you make time for yourself. Finding a few minutes to pause is so therapeutic. You start your day centered instead of off balance, calm instead of rushed. Even if I had to wake up at 4:30 a.m. to do, I would make it happen. (In fact, I get up at 4:45 a.m. once a week, but that’s another story.)

Do you drink tea? Why or why not?

P.S. My “More Steps Challenge” continues in our Facebook group, and I’ve been going live and talking to people about their walking goals. Join us there, or grab your copy of The Four Steps To Your Dream Life Blueprint, if you found this helpful.

Five Self-Care Tips For An Uncertain World

I’m honestly at a loss about where to start this post. All of the mindfulness practice in the world can’t change the fact that we’re in the midst of a global pandemic, an American crisis of democracy, and that we’re dealing with the effects of systemic racism, made more plain every day.

On a personal level, I’m finding that calming my mind for yoga or meditation is extremely difficult, walking, while therapeutic, doesn’t solve anything once the walk itself has ended, and talking to friends or family may fan the flames rather than put out the fire.

I’m torn between the desire to veg out on the couch with a movie and the desire to throw all of my energy into work.

If I’m feeling this way, I know you might be too. So here are my top five self-care tips for an uncertain world.

1 Ground Yourself

Feel your feet on the floor. Take very slow breaths, and focus on your breath going in, holding for a moment, and going back out. If you can’t get any alone time for this, do it on the toilet. Seriously. (I used to do that when I worked a corporate job in a cubicle!) The best grounding is done outside, with shoes off, but any of this work will give you major benefits.

2 Savor A Hot Beverage

If you can carve out 5-10 minutes to do this, it’s an easy way to give yourself alone time that is just for you. Each morning, part of my routine includes a cup of tea. You may go with an evening cup, or a cup of coffee, or some hot chocolate. The ritual and experience of a hot beverage is so satisfying, relatively easy and affordable, easy to include in a healthy diet if desired, and a moment to indulge yourself.

3 Take A Walk

My daily walks have been giving me life for years. They are absolutely essential when the world is, pardon my language, a shitshow. I highly recommend taking your walk outside if at all possible. Freezing temperatures? Bundle up, and keep it short if you don’t warm up within 10-15 minutes. (Personally, by that time I’m usually feeling a lot warmer.) And if quarantine or safety or timing etc. keep you from getting outside, my next best recommendation is walking indoors while looking outside. (If you don’t have a treadmill, walking in a room will do!) Science shows us that looking at nature is calming, Getting outside is calming. If you need extra support or motivation for your walks, come join my free More Steps! Challenge on Facebook.

4 Read A Relaxing Book

One of the wild outcomes of the state of the world right now has been the realization that even a book of fiction can stress me out right now. (Yes, seriously!) I just finished a fantastic book for my book club, but the stories were hitting too close to real life (the struggles of immigrants, of lower-income folks) and I found myself dreading turning the page.

Luckily, I’ve still got other books that calm and center me. I try to keep two other books going at any given moment – a sacred or reflective book, for my morning routine, and a more practical or strategic book for personal development. (And, of course, my third book is fiction or fun, but I think I’ll be sticking to more mindless books in that realm for a while!)

5 Journal

I journal each morning, as soon as I get up, as a way of getting the cobwebs out, as outlined in The Artist’s Way. Whatever thoughts and fears are rolling around in my head get let out and recognized immediately, allowing me to go about my day with clarity. I highly recommend it – it’s been my practice for a couple of years now.

If you found these tips helpful, you might also want to join my group or grab your copy of my free resource, The Four Steps To Your Dream Life Blueprint.

What did I miss? Which of these do you find most helpful?

______________________________

Supporting Our Blog

We are so thankful for your support of our blog and our careers! You can help by doing any or all of the following:

  • Purchase one of Ross’ albums! His latest is a holiday ukulele album, and pre-orders are half price!
  • Become a beta tester for Ross’ new online ukulele course!
  • Become a patron of our work!
  • Make purchases via our Amazon website links. There is no additional cost to you, and a portion of the proceeds can support our travels. Begin your Amazon search here.
  • Make other purchases using our affiliate links. Signing up with Dosh is a great way for everyone with a smartphone to support us, and we also have options for aspiring virtual assistants as well as occasional and full-time RVers to save money.
  • Listen to, subscribe and review our theater comedy podcast, Finishing The Season!
  • Subscribe to our blog, as well as perhaps InSearchOfAScoop.com, and recommend our work to your friends and family.
  • Take music or theater lessons (group or private) from us, either in person or via Skype at TinyVillageMusic.com. 

How To Make The Holidays Work For You

Jamie and Ross snuggle on the couch

It may be cliche at this point, but it’s that time of year when it’s common to take time to be grateful. I know I’m not alone in having a dedicated gratitude practice, and if you haven’t yet tried it, whether for November or any time of year, I definitely recommend it.

A lot of people are struggling with the holidays and how to celebrate this year. Although many people have already been celebrating holidays during COVID virtually (Jewish people in particular have had several holidays come and go at this point), Thanksgiving is such an “American” holiday in a lot of ways that it affects the majority of us in some way, rather than certain religions or parts of the country.

As a coach, I’m noting two simultaneous threads or thoughts popping up:
a) An extra awareness of gratitude – if I’m healthy, if I don’t have COVID-19, if my family is safe, if I’m employed etc. I know I have a LOT to be grateful for right now
b) It’s so frustrating/I’m so angry/I’m so sad because I want to be spending the holidays with my family/without masks and social distancing but I’ve gone virtual and/or made major modifications and changes due to COVID-19

It’s okay to have mixed feelings.

It’s okay to have moments when you feel wrapped up in the love of your family/friends, whether it’s a partner or child or parent in your bubble or a virtual meal full of love and conversation and good memories.

It’s okay to in the next moment feel anxiety that your parents are going to do x, or feel resentment that you can’t do your usual holiday celebration, or feel jealous of y, who lives with their family while you are living and celebrating alone.

I hope that during this challenging time, you will give yourself forgiveness. We are all carrying so much right now.

If someone else’s life looks glamorous on social media, remember that that is just the tip of the iceberg that you’re seeing. The glamorous surface life may be only a passing moment in a chaotic day or week or month.

Here are a few things I recommend making time for this week, whatever your plans are. (Perhaps you’ll have some extra time since you won’t have your usual holiday commute to the in-laws?)

  1. Make a gratitude list. This can take many forms, and all are valid. Start or end each day by acknowledging five things you’re grateful for. Start a gratitude journal, whether it’s a big beautiful book or a note on your phone. Begin your Thanksgiving meal/Zoom call/family walk by having everyone share something they are thankful for this year.
  2. Make time for exercise. Personally, I think stuffing myself is kind of part of the fun of Thanksgiving – even if I don’t leave the main meal feeling overstuffed, I love indulging in rich fall foods in the meals and days that follow. Most of us, at least in the corporate sector or education, are also lucky enough to get time off this week. It can be tempting to use that time to relax on the couch, but making time to take a walk or stretch or lift some weights will give you more energy for the festivities and encourage you to enjoy your indulgences more, without guilt.
  3. Carve out time for yourself. I love my family, but as an introvert who isn’t always her best self at large family gatherings, I’ve worked hard over the years to set boundaries for myself. For me, part of a successful holiday season is making time for my morning routine and making sure I have time to relax on my own. If you’re having trouble seeing blank space on your calendar, even if it’s virtual gatherings, take a moment to block out a morning or an hour for you each week. It will help you to be at your best when you are with your family too.

Whatever your plans are this year, I hope you’ll take this advice to heart. No one has your best interests at heart in the same way you do, so go create the holiday schedule that will light you up and invigorate you.

Take care, and Happy Thanksgiving!

P.S. Thank you so much for your support of this blog throughout the year! If you appreciate it, we’d love for you to share it with a friend or support us with one of the methods below. Thanks, and have a great day!

______________________________

Supporting Our Blog

We are so thankful for your support of our blog and our careers! You can help by doing any or all of the following:

  • Purchase one of Ross’ albums!
  • Become a patron of our work!
  • Make purchases via our Amazon website links. There is no additional cost to you, and a portion of the proceeds can support our travels. Begin your Amazon search here.
  • Make other purchases using our affiliate links. Capital One 360 is one everyone can take advantage of to save money! Signing up with Dosh is a great way for everyone with a smartphone to support us, and we also have options for aspiring virtual assistants as well as occasional and full-time RVers to save money.
  • Listen to, subscribe and review our theater comedy podcast, Finishing The Season!
  • Subscribe to our blog, as well as perhaps InSearchOfAScoop.com, and recommend our work to your friends and family.
  • Take music or theater lessons (group or private) from us, either in person or via Skype at TinyVillageMusic.com. 

Three Places To Focus When The World Is Spinning

Gosh, things are challenging right now! Even with all of my blessings and privilege, I’m feeling like it’s tough to stay in the moment and also to stay focused on my goals when the world seems to be falling apart around me.

So here is an update on the three things I’m focusing on right now to keep me going.

Habits

I’ve spent years developing the habits I’ve always wanted to have. It’s been a slow process, adding them in one by one, and a couple I’ve let go or let be flexible as I’ve figured out what’s worked for me. But developing great habits is SO important when things are stressful.

For me, my daily habits include writing in the morning (brain dump, gratitude, journal from the day prior…anything counts, but I write for about 15-20 minutes typically and make sure to at least write something), reading something for my personal development, walking outside, making myself a healthy breakfast, drinking at least 16 ounces of water and taking my vitamins. I’ve also got some personal prep routines in the mix, and lately I do some meditation and yoga in the mix too (I take three live classes currently, 3 days a week, and it’s such a blessing). Habits give you predictability when the world around you feels like a total disaster!

Daily Activism

Black Lives Matter. The state of the world has me panicked, I’m not going to lie. So one way for me to address that is to make sure that every day, I make time to do something to make the world a better place. I stand up for someone who needs it, I sign some petitions, I write my reps or make a phone call. I can’t do it all, but being able to say I’ve done something every day is key to feeling like I’m making a difference and not being complacent as it feels like we’re moving towards fascism. (The news of people being taken off the streets in unmarked vehicles is just the latest, of course. I’m not planning to stop bugging my reps until Trump backs off of that.)

Planning Ahead and Being Prepared

I also take time every day to think about planning ahead and being prepared. Am I well-stocked with food and supplies? Have I taken a few minutes to create a vision for the future of my business? Have I researched the next steps for my career goals? Even when these things seem like a silly distraction, I know that taking a few minutes to do this daily will make sure that when I look back on 2020, I’ll see how I made the best of it rather than how I fell apart.

Bonus: Self-Care

If you’re like me, without kids, white, employed, this list probably makes sense so far. If you’ve got lots of additional issues you’re dealing with right now, whether that’s mental health or sick family or anything else, please prioritize your self-care and give yourself grace when things don’t happen.

And if you’re like me, you probably STILL feel overwhelmed daily. I know I do. So take what works from this list and build your own list that DOES work for you. Take a bath. Have some ice cream. And leave me a comment to let me know how you’re coping during these challenging times.

I’ll also take a couple of sentences to plug Deadbolt Mystery Society – we’ve just completed our third mystery box and it is an absolutely delightful way to spend a few hours! At-home date nights for the win. Use my code to save a little cash. It is seriously the best time we’ve had since quarantine started. Perfect for 1-4 people with access to the internet and a smartphone with a QR code reader.

Sending love and hugs (virus-free) to all of you across the miles. Thanks for reading.

______________________________

Supporting Our Blog

We are so thankful for your support of our blog and our careers! You can help by doing any or all of the following:

  • Purchase one of Ross’ albums!
  • Become a patron of our work!
  • Make purchases via our Amazon website links. There is no additional cost to you, and a portion of the proceeds can support our travels. Begin your Amazon search here.
  • Make other purchases using our affiliate links. Capital One 360 is one everyone can take advantage of to save money! Signing up with Dosh is a great way for everyone with a smartphone to support us, and we also have options for aspiring virtual assistants as well as occasional and full-time RVers to save money.
  • Listen to, subscribe and review our theater comedy podcast, Finishing The Season!
  • Subscribe to our blog, as well as perhaps InSearchOfAScoop.com, and recommend our work to your friends and family.
  • Take music or theater lessons (group or private) from us, either in person or via Skype at TinyVillageMusic.com.