SELF CARE

Self care is something thats so very important. I haven’t always been great at focusing on my self care, but when I do, I can definitely tell the difference !!

You owe yourself the love that you so freely give to other people

Alexandra Elle

The following are some self care tips that I’ve used and love, along with some that I wan to try.

  • read a book
    • whether it’s the Bible, fiction, personal development, a mystery, or whatever floats your boat, reading helps engage and grow your mind. 😉
  • gratitude list
    • write out a list of the things for which you’re grateful for.
  • inspiring podcast
    • find a podcast, audio book, or even youtube videos or a documentary that will motivate you.
  • move your body
    • run, jog, do some yoga, lift weights. just get some blood flowing !!
  • fix yourself a meal
    • not everyone enjoys cooking or baking, but if you do, make yourself something!!! and it’s ok to treat yo self. 😉
  • disconnect for a bit
    • log off of social media for a period of time, and just focus on your surroundings.
  • listen to music
    • whether its Jesus jams, some empowering songs, or throwbacks, turn it up!! (and maybe dance it out, too. 🙂
  • make a list of compliments for yourself
    • It’s good to remind ourselves every once in awhile why we’re so amazing and what makes us unique to the rest of the world
  • go on a road trip
    • if you have the time and money, get away for a day or two, explore a place you’ve never been, or visit a friend.
  • try something new
    • whether it’s a new Starbucks drink, taking a yoga class, or baking a new recipe, do something you haven’t.
  • pick up a new hobby
    • for me, it’s painting. it doesn’t matter if you’re good at it or not. maybe start boxing or skate boarding. just think of something that you’re interested in and set time aside to practice it.
  • get creative
    • try calligraphy or drawing, maybe even painting. just be creative.
  • get good sleep
    • this is probably my biggest struggle, but also very necessary. I definitely notice a difference when I do get enough sleep.
  • drink plenty of water
    • this benefits you way more than you probably realize, and its a necessity for your health.
  • make a vision board
    • it always helps to have something to aspire to. get a big piece of paper or poster board, some magazines, and markers, and get your goals on paper. hang your vision board in your room and be reminded of your dreams everyday. motivate yourself to live your best life.

Self care sounds nice, but can sometimes be difficult to actually stick with. Maybe you feel selfish taking time out of your busy schedule for yourself, you don’t think you will really benefit from these activities, or you have just put your own care very low on your priority list. Just remember that if you don’t take care of yourself, you won’t be able to take care of others.

It’s okay to be busy or put others before yourself, but it is also necessary to set time aside to focus on you.

I made myself a weekly self care checklist. You can do the same! Keep yourself accountable and at the end of the week, reflect on your overall mental state. Did you feel overwhelmed? Was it a good week? Relate that to the amount and type of self care you completed. If the week went well, was it because you took care of yourself? We’re all unique! Take time to assess how well you are caring for yourself and what’s working best for you.

If you try any of these or have additional self care tips, let me know on Instagram, Twitter, or Facebook!!

I’M NOT ALWAYS OKAY, AND THAT’S OKAY

Social media gives us this idea that everything needs to be okay with us 100% of the time. But honestly, that’s a load of crap.

Yes, I am a christian. Yes, I believe that I can pray to our mighty Savior to find peace and comfort. Yes, I am blessed with friends and family that love me. Yes, I have millions of things to be happy and grateful for. But no, that doesn’t mean I don’t struggle on the daily.

Honestly, I have felt guilty many times that I have such a great life, but can still feel down and melancholic. Which is ridiculous, I know.

I would compare my reasons of sadness to other people’s and if I felt my feelings weren’t as valid as theirs, I would tell myself to get over it. But let me tell you… this is an AWFUL mindset to have !!!! And I hope you never do that to yourself.

I’ve had to teach myself that my feelings are VALID. If I am upset because of the way someone treated me, or because life didn’t go as I had planned, that is okay. Unfortunately, not everyday is going to be filled with rainbows and butterflies.

To be honest, I’ve been in a gloomy state for the past couple weeks. Life has been throwing me curveballs left and right. It can be hard to be present in life and fully connect with those around me. It’s something that takes lots of energy and will power, but it’s not impossible. And that’s okay.

What I’m really trying to tell you all is that every single person on this planet finds themselves in seasons of sadness. It’s inevitable as human beings. That doesn’t mean that there’s anything wrong with us, or that we’re different from others.

If you are feeling down-hearted, I would first identify what you’re feeling, then assess the situation. Depending on who you are, you may just need to step back from your normal, social, cheery self and take a deep breath. Or maybe you need to keep that consistent human interaction to process and cope with the struggles. Whatever you need to do, do it. Even if the world is moving at 100 mph, don’t feel like you have to keep up. It’s okay to take things slow.

The way you take care of yourself and your health is the only thing that is really in your control. You can’t control the way the world treats you or the things that happen, no matter how much you plan. What you can do is focus on the way you react to life’s situations.

Pray for peace, comfort, and strength. Really think about what you’re feeling and why. Give yourself a break. You deserve it.

PREPARING OURSELVES TO MOVE 4,000 MILES AWAY +tips we’ve tried to help us cope

the pros

Obviously this is a big change, but that doesn’t always mean it’s a bad thing. As my family and I prepare to move to Madrid, Spain next summer, these are the things going through our heads, trying to remember the life-changing experience that this is.

  • The experience that we will gain as we move to a foreign place is huge.
  • My sisters and I will be able to travel at such a young age and see things that most people won’t ever see or experience in their lifetime.
  • For me, if I don’t try this out now, I may never. I don’t want to miss such an amazing opportunity.
  • Social media and technology is so advanced.
    • Although phone calls aren’t as comforting as talking to people face-to-face, we are still going to be able to communicate with loved ones across the world.
  • We will be practicing Spanish daily and will most likely be fluent after awhile.
  • For me personally, I will be able to come back to the states if I find that Madrid is not a good fit for me.
  • We will meet many new people from Spain, and any other countries we explore while living in Europe.

the cons

  • Leaving friends and family.
    • My brother and his new wife just got married two months ago. It will be really hard to be away when they start a family of their own.
  • Leaving the town we were raised in.
  • Moving into a completely new culture. (Culture shock)
  • We have lots and lots of memories in this small town we call home.
    • As an Enneagram type 6, it’s hard for me to move on from good memories and to leave them behind. Looking through old pictures/videos is a hobby of mine, but it absolutely crushes me at the same time to know that we can never relive that moment.
  • Missing out on friend/family get-togethers.
    • I have major FOMO (fear of missing out). I have some theories of where it came from, but seeing the people I love spending quality time together (one of my top love languages), knowing I couldn’t join them even if I wanted, is honestly painful.
  • We won’t be able to spend holidays or big events with friends or family.
    • Thanksgiving isn’t even a thing is Spain !! 😦
  • Financial/emotional security.
    • Being so far away from family and friends, we can’t run to them when our emotional stability is at an all-time low. If I can’t find a job, I can’t go back to one of my high school employers to be able to pay the bills. Finding jobs is HARD in Spain.

tips to cope

  • Trust in Jesus.
    • This may seem simple, but is actually really hard to remember when lost in the weight of the world.
  • Pray. Pray. Pray.
    • Spending time talking to the Creator of the universe…there is nothing more powerful.
  • Remember why we said “YES” in the first place.
  • Research more about Madrid.
    • Finding cafes, landmarks, or other places we will likely visit when we get there. Getting ourselves excited!
  • Remember, this is such a great opportunity that we are so blessed to have.
  • Connect with someone that has previously moved to another country/culture.
    • Ask for some encouragement, share your thoughts. They could give some reassurance.

Change is hard. No matter who you are, I think that most everybody would agree that change is somewhat difficult. But even though it’s hard, you won’t ever be able to grow without it. Even though it can shake you to your core, make you break down mentally, emotionally, and even physically, it’s change that will help you become a better, more experienced individual. Through change and the support of Jesus Christ, we can change and grow physically, mentally, and emotionally.

IT’S A GOOD DAY TO HAVE A GOOD DAY… IF YOU WANT A GOOD DAY.

“It’s a good day to have a good day… if you want a good day” is probably my favorite quote !! Before I graduated high school about 4 months ago, this was a daily reminder for me. I loved my senior year, but obviously I still struggled some days.

Whenever I was struck with a wave of senioritis, this is something I had to remind myself of. Even though I was sometimes “over” school and the people around me, I knew I was the one to choose how the overall attitude of my day would go. It didn’t matter if I was assigned multiple papers and a project to finish in three weeks for ONE class, I still had the opportunity to choose to have a good day. Nobody else can determined that for me.

Even in my life now, I find myself being negative or stressed because I have to work all day or drive my sisters and their friends around or I run out of time to workout. But all it takes is a little motivational music and a reminder that my entire attitude could be changed if I just decided to see things a little differently.

I think it’s easy to examine the cards we’ve been dealt and blame our unhappiness on that. But like I said, we have to CHOOSE our attitude.

This doesn’t mean that life isn’t gonna suck and that we have to be fake all the time, acting like everything’s okay. It’s understanding that sometimes life isn’t okay, but in the middle of your sucky day, remember that you also have a million things you can be thankful for !!! And if you can’t think of one single thing to be thankful for, you can always count on the fact that God is always and forever there for you, in the good and bad, which is DEFINITELY something to be thankful for !!

I challenge you (and myself), to remember that your day CAN be a good day. If you start to be negative or complain too much, remember that you’re the ONLY one that can change that. Remember, “it’s a good day to have a good day… if you want a good day !!” 💛💛

LIFE UPDATE…*a lot has happened*

I know it’s been quite awhile since the last time I wrote here but dang life has been crazy! A few very major things have happened in my life recently, and although they’re exciting, I’m kinda freaking out !!! So here’s a short synopsis of the past several months in my life:

1. I graduated high school !!!

A new stage of life, how fun !!!! Don’t get me wrong though, I enjoyed high school a lot and I’m definitely going to miss spending 5 days of the week with my friends and teachers. I attended the same small private school for my entire life, which made saying goodbye a lot harder. Most of my 38 classmates I’ve known for many, many years and although I’ve known some for only a few years, they all are like family.

2. I have decided to take a gap year and earn my TESOL certification

I know that going to school and earning a degree is important, but taking some time off to make money, travel, get a new perspective on life, or whatever you need to do to pursue your life calling – that is okay too (and I hope other high school or college grads understand that too). I have decided that it is best for me to take a year off of school to work, get my TESOL (Teaching English to Speakers of Other Languages) certification, and get ready for the next life-changing stage of my life.

3.  I have decided to attend university in MADRID !! (and my family is going with me :D)

Around 2015, I decided that I wanted to study at a university somewhere abroad, and most likely in Europe. While on a trip with my dad to Germany, we visited a few universities that actually offered FREE tuition to foreigners !! I was super stoked to check them out and actually liked one of the universities a lot. However, the more I thought about that particular city and the criteria to be a student there, it didn’t seem like a great fit for me.

As I processed many opportunities and locations, I thought about my love for the Spanish language and European cultures, which led me to look further into universities in Spain! Eventually, I landed on St. Louis University.

St. Louis University’s Madrid Campus (SLU-Madrid) is an American-accredited school. The classes are taught in English, it’s located in Madrid, and students come in from around 60 other countries to study there !!! Honestly, the thing that really sold me on this particular place is their love and opportunities for traveling around Europe and building community between many cultures. After sending in my application, I got an acceptance email and letter, which immediately brought me to tears. After reading lots of articles written by SLU-Madrid alumni and current students about the campus and community, I was confident in my answer and decision to move to Spain.

THE REALLY COOL PART is that my parents were offered missionary positions in Europe !! With the position they were offered, they have the opportunity to also move to Madrid and work with many of our missionary friends located in other European countries !!! OBVIOUSLY this was a huge decision to make, but also a dream come true for our family.

As a whole, our family is pretty adventurous and struggles to say no to the Lord. That being said, when my family noticed the many, many details that God aligned for us to move to Spain together, we knew it was all in His hands.

I’m SO excited for the new journey but also so stinkin nervous to leave everyone and everything behind.

Since my younger sisters are originally from Costa Rica, my family knows a fair amount of Spanish. However, the dialect is different in Spain and we haven’t practiced our Spanish a whole lot in the past 4 years since they’ve been here.

Adjusting to a new culture and somewhat of a new language is going to be a rollercoaster, but I’m pretty excited and ready for it !!

4. Future blog posts

Since I’m only working 3 days a week right now, I am planning on creating blog posts on Wednesdays. I know that there will definitely be weeks I miss, so sorry in advance bout that. But I will try my best !!!

If ya wanna be notified when I put up a new blog, you can follow me here, or follow me on Instagram @aubrygrace_  where I’ll let you guys know when a new blog is up !!!