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The Enchanted Outlook

Hello Again!

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Greetings blog world! I’ve missed you! It’s been a while, so I thought I’d update you on a few of the things I’ve been up to while I’ve been, ahem… not blogging.

  • I’ve been getting to know my new city and taking in all the sights.
  • I’ve finished four grad school applications, with a fifth one in-progress. I should hear back in March-April, so fingers crossed!
  • I’m halfway through my year of service with a local literacy nonprofit, and am helping nearly fifty students in an under-served school meet their literacy needs.
  • I’ve lost seven pounds! I wish I could give you some tips and tricks, but it’s been mostly burning calories shuttling children around at work. Bad cold (or flu?) and stomach bug also contributed, unfortunately.
  • I’ve been on a book binge! Books on tape driving to and from work, reading books all day to kids, and a small book club with my high school friends. (New favorites blog post coming soon!)
  • I’ve been learning a little Korean. Or, at least how to read it. Work in progress on that one.
  • I’ve been on a minimalism/zero waste/plant-based food kick. These are all works in progress too, but I’ve really been enjoying watching Youtube videos and making small changes. I bought almost an entire new work wardrobe second-hand from Clothes Mentor and Thred-up and saved a ton of money in the process.

Now, confession time, I HATE life transitions. I mean, absolutely hate them. Big life changes make me terribly nervous and I have a tendency to want to avoid them. This year, though, changes were thrust upon me, and I just accepted that I was going to be anxious about them. Accepting that aspect of myself somehow made things a lot easier because I was kind to myself throughout the process rather than trying to be hard on myself. I practiced self-care and self-acceptance rather than trying to perfect the process. I also treated the whole thing as an adventure and decided to be grateful for new opportunities, because every life experience is temporary anyway. I’m still in a very transitional place in my life right now, but I’m learning to enjoy that more and to live in the moment.

So, now that grad school apps are almost done and I’m past the half-way mark with my year of service, I’m hoping to be blogging more often. I’ve got a few new ideas, but also let me know if there is anything you would like to hear from me!

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25 Science-Backed Ways to Feel Happier

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Check out this list of scientifically proven ways to feel happier. I’ve mentioned a few of these before, but some of them were new to me!

Check it out here!

5 Tips to Start the Work Day Right: Work Charms Series

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Today’s Work Charm is all about starting the day off on the right foot. I’ve added a few tips that I find helpful to make sure my workday is a success.

1. Practice acceptance. In any workday, there will be things that are out of our control. We can accept this and focus on what is within our power to change. There is no point in getting upset over things outside of our control. A little self-love goes a long way.

2. Make a list. Focus on the things that are the most important and the most urgent first. Check out this quadrant from the 7 Habits of Highly Effective People if you haven’t already. It will keep you from getting stuck in the rut of email-checking for hours on end.

3. Eat your frogs first. This means do that difficult task that you know you will be dreading all day first so that the rest of your day you won’t be stressing over it. For more information, check out this post.

4. Consider flow. Flow is a state when we are “in the zone” that has been shown to increase our happiness. In order to achieve flow, your task needs to be engaging, challenging but not TOO challenging, and have clearly defined goals.

5. Find your challenge. In the book, SuperbetterJane McGonagal talks about viewing obstacles as a challenge, rather than a threat. Threats trigger your cortisol, making you feel stressed and leading to myriad health problems. Challenges, in contrast, trigger the reward center of your brain, releasing dopamine, which is correlated with happiness. So, the next time you have a difficult task ahead of you, try to view it as a challenge, rather than as a threat.

How to you make sure you start your work day off right?

Self-Care Charms

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A friend sent me a link to some simple life-hacks (or, as I call them, “life charms”) about self-care. I thought they would be perfect to share now because not only are they brilliant, but most of them go with both the Wellness Spells Series and the Work Charms Series.

Check them out here!

5 Commuting Tips: Work Charms Series

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I have recently embarked on my first real “city rush hour” commute, and oh boy, I haven’t been missing out on anything. The experience, however, has given me some opportunities to reflect on how I can make my commute more Enchanted, so I thought I would bring it up as part of the Work Charms series. I’m by no means a commuting expert, but I wanted to share a few things I’ve learned along the way. Feel free to share your own tips with me as well; I could certainly use them!

1. Be mindful. Of course, we should be mindful of other commuters, but what I actually mean by this is to consider our commute as part of our day, rather than just a transition time between here and there. Our time is valuable and I find that I am much more content if I am appreciating what I am doing in and of itself, rather than just treating it as something that will bring me to the next thing on my to-do list.

2. Explore the senses. Keep your eyes on the road, of course, but being considerate of your senses can be a nice thing. I recently cleaned my car out and got some new air freshener, which smells nice. I also have some new music. I like to bring tea or coffee with me. If you commute by bus, walking, or bike, you may not have as much control over your environment but maybe you can take the time to look around you and explore something you hadn’t noticed before.

3. Invest in yourself. I am currently listening to some sociology and psychology books I had on Audible that I never had a chance to listen to before. After that, I plan to listen to a Korean language series. Consider how much time you have on your commute. Now, imagine that you have that much time every day to take a class or to learn something new. What would you invest in for that amount of time?

4. Practice compassion. It’s easy to find ourselves angry when people cut us off or drive recklessly. There is a quote by Thich Nhat Hanh I like to remember when I’m not feeling compassionate, which is: “When a person makes you suffer, it is because he suffers deeply within himself, and his suffering is spilling over.” This reminds me that another person’s careless behavior says more about their own emotional state than it does about me personally. So, I can empathize with their sense of stress or urgency and let my own anger go.

5. What happens on the commute stays on the commute. By that I mean, don’t let a bad commute ruin your whole day. You can treat the time that you arrive at your workplace as a new day and a fresh chance to start over. Take a moment after you arrive at your destination to take some deep breaths, have a little tea or coffee, and start your day anew when you enter your workplace.

Do you have any tips for how to make a commute more pleasant?

Pottery Barn Harry Potter Collection!

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Pottery Barn has just launched a Harry Potter collection! This means Pottery Barn AND Harry Potter! Wow. This might be the Unicorn Frappuccino all over again!

Check it out HERE.

5 Morning Routine Tips: Work Charms Series

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Hello all. If I’ve been a bit quiet as of late, it’s because I just completed an intensive training for a new job. I’m currently working for a children’s literacy nonprofit, which as you might imagine is a dream come true for me.

All this time navigating a new work environment has had me thinking a lot about how I can apply an Enchanted Outlook to the workplace. Now, I’m not a workplace guru by any stretch of the imagination, but I’d like to share a thing or two I’ve been thinking about in a new series called Work Charms. And no, this is not about impressing your coworkers with your charming charisma, but rather little tweaks or “charms” we can make in our day to make for a happier work life.

So, let’s start with morning. Here are a few things I have been working on doing before I even step foot in the car.

1. Don’t press snooze. I have, historically, been the worst about this, even after a full night’s sleep. I am not the kind of person to want to hop out of bed. In fact, I tend to hit the snooze button until the last possible minute. Science does say, though, that hitting snooze isn’t great for us. Lately, I have decided that if I’m not jumping up to start my day, I can at least be upright. I will grab a blanket and the mug of water on my bedside table and sit on my yoga mat for five to ten minutes, until I have woken up more. (A chair works too; I just don’t have room for one in my bedroom.) This quiet time allows me to transition from sleep to wakefulness without being too grumpy.

2. Practice gratitude. This time I am slowly waking up is a good time to practice gratitude. Truth be told, I had some genetic testing done last year for a potentially life-threatening condition and was fortunate that the results were negative. Ever since that time, I have practiced gratitude for every day that I am alive. I have realized that every day is not something that is owed to me, but rather a gift I can be grateful to have. Along those lines, I reflect on how to make the most out of my day.

3. Capsule wardrobe. I know, they’re everywhere lately. Mine isn’t a true “capsule” with strict rules, but rather I try to stick primarily to neutral solids (black, brown, camel, navy, cream) for the majority of my clothes, and add a pop of pattern or color here and there. I set out my clothes the night before, but if I ever forget, it’s not too hard to pull something together quickly.

4. Rule of 3. I usually don’t do more than three makeup items (like foundation, eye liner, mascara) and usually don’t do more than three accessories (like glasses, belt, necklace). That’s just a personal preference, but I like to keep it simple.

5. Simple nutrition. I’m passionate about wellness, but lazy about breakfast. Since I know that about myself, I did some research into the healthiest breakfast bars. My favorite are Lara Bars, but I also like Kind bars and Kashi bars. It’s probably healthier and cheaper to make overnight oats or have a banana with peanut butter or something, but “Morning Stacey” seems to just want to grab a breakfast bar and go. So, I at least try to make sure it’s a somewhat healthy one.

There you have it. If it isn’t obvious, I’m NOT a morning person. Kudos to those who go about their mornings with flair. For the rest of us, I hope one of these tips was helpful.

Is there something you have added to your morning routine that is particularly helpful?

 

Four New Things

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I have lately been trying to do four things every single day. These are things that I want to prioritize in my life. They can be big or small; sometimes each thing takes less than five minutes, while other times one item can take a large chunk of my day.

Something to invest in my future: This is something that will allow me to live a better life later. It could be career research, putting money into savings, or learning something new that will be helpful to me down the road. It could be as simple as sending someone an email to ask a career question or as complicated as redoing my entire home filing system.

Something that is laundry: By “laundry,” I mean something that needs to be done in the now and that I will likely have to do again later. This could be something like cleaning out my car, activating that card that’s been sitting on my desk for forever, or, well, laundry. It’s the stuff that tends to pile up of we ignore it to long.

Something to look forward to: I’ve been trying to make every day memorable. Even if it is something simple, like a nice bubble bath, my favorite cookie, or a show on Netflix, I have been trying to be very intentional about making every day count.

Something for someone else: For me, I am usually able to knock this one off the list at work or around the house so I don’t think about it much. However, I thought I would mention it because it is so rewarding to take a little time out of our day to do something for someone else. It can make our day so much more meaningful.

Well, there you have it. Those are my four things. Are there certain things that you aspire to do every day?

 

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