Eliminating Toxic People Is a Form of Self-Care

LOUDER FOR THE PEOPLE IN THE BACK!

It’s always easier said than done to eliminate toxic individuals from your life, especially if it’s a family member. However, really cutting the cord will feel good when you do it. It is one of the purest forms of Self-Care I have ever experienced. I would know because I did it myself not too long ago.

A few months ago I unfriended my cousin off Facebook. She was as toxic as they came. Growing up she was incredibly competitive (for what?) and everything always had to be about her. I remember when we were kids, she would force my brother and I to put on these dumb skits and dances at Christmas dinner, and she pretty much always made herself the center of them (normally with backing music to Shania Twain – at Christmas? How country music obsessed could you possibly be??). She generally influenced me to do bad things when I was around her, too, which got me in trouble, and I remember generally coming away from the few times a year I would see her, feeling bad about myself.

My aunt was always about keeping up with the Jones’s (she also happens to be toxic, my mother no longer has a relationship with her – did her own severing of toxic ties!), so this need to always be the best possibly (most likely) wore off on her too. Not surprisingly, my mum has said before that coming away from spending time with her sister, made her feel bad about herself, too.

It had been a few years since I had seen her in person, but nonetheless I found myself starting to play the game of comparison between her and I when I saw her feed pop up on Facebook.

This time though, I refused to be a pawn in her quest to always be the best. So snip she went, and wouldn’t you know it – I don’t pay her any mind anymore.

Of course, you really have to look at the big picture of your relationship with a toxic individual and how it might affect things if you so choose to eliminate them from your life. For me, I was fortunate my relationship as an adult with her had dwindled, but that doesn’t erase my yucky experience with her as a child.

Had your own experience with a toxic individual? Have any tips for dealing with them? Comment below!

6 Tips for Consistent Content Creation

6 Tips for Consistent Content Creation

Read Time: 9 Minutes

The other day, I popped my head up from writing long enough to notice i’d been consistently publishing content on my site for a total of 5 months. Aside from one week I missed due to being on vacation, I’ve kept up with my schedule of posting every week since March – and I feel pretty good about that. So today I thought I’d share a few of my tips that have helped me to publish new content every week and show up as the best version of my prepared self when striving for consistency. Here are 6 tips for consistent content creation.

Note that for this article, I generally apply these tips to writing, but I believe these tips can be applied to any form of creativity, art or craft.

#1. Long-Term Growth vs. ‘Shiny, New Hobby’

I think many people skim past the initial starting phase when talking about content creation, but consistency also has to do with your mindset before you even begin.

Blogs often flop or throw in the towel after a short while because the initial excitement of “I set up a blog, this is so exciting!” starts to sound more like:

Credit – Giphy

Many folks look at it as a “shiny new hobby”, which lasts for about a hot minute, then they’re over it. You have to move past this initial feeling/reaction if you’re going to be consistent because once you get over the hump of initial excitement, that’s when the real work starts to kick in.

I think it’s a natural reaction for many of us to gradually putter out. It doesn’t help that social media tends to place instant gratification on a pedestal – exposure to successful people with beautiful lives who make it look easy. The consumption of such an idealized persona doesn’t always work well because it leaves out the “behind-the-scenes” hard work and time it took for the person to get where they are now, which often takes place when people are working towards accomplishing their goals and dreams.

Setting your sights on the horizon of long term growth will help you to not get wrapped up in the “shiny, new hobby”, or the ” instant gratification” appeal in the foreground. You’ll also need to be open to by-products of long term growth – failing (probably multiple times), continuously learning and chipping away at something and perhaps not getting a lot of results at first (or for a while).

#2. Demographic: Identifying Your Audience

Having an idea of who you hope to capture and keep engaged as a consumer of your content, can help to steer your consistency and direction when you are first starting out.

Prior to starting my site, I honed in on who I was writing for – my content is primarily geared towards young, female professionals, age 25 to 34 in Vancouver, B.C. and Canada. I have friends who are in this demographic. I am in this demographic, too, so I approached it as “if I was reading my own writing from an outsiders perspective, what would that look like? What would I want to see?“.

This is applicable to any creative – are you wanting to start a YouTube channel on scrap-booking? A blog on watchmaking? Defining your audience will help define your content when you start to create. Case in point, I probably wouldn’t have written an article about Confronting My Fear of Being Single At 30 if my primary audience was 50 year old’s.

Credit – Giphy

That being said, just because someone is not in my chosen demographic, doesn’t mean they won’t relate to my content. Likewise, my articles on occasion completely disregard my demographic, yet still turn out fine. If the creative juices are flowing, don’t let your demographic stop you from seeing where your content may take you.

#3. Time Management

Narrowing down the amount of time you wish to spend on your craft, can help you to develop a healthy, consistent relationship with your craft. What does this time look like – Is it once a day? A few times a week? Once a month? You can cater this however best fits the demands of your life and your personal capacity, but be REALISTIC. A great starting point is to plot out what a standard week looks like for you, include all your errands and activities, and then determine where in the week you can make time for your craft.

Credit – Giphy

It took me a bit of time to determine how often I wanted to post, and it might take you a bit of time too, to play around and see what works for you. My happy medium is posting a few times a week – this is enough to keep my site and I in the psyche of my readers. This sounds fancy but essentially this means that by maintaining this consistency, my readers don’t feel like I’ve ghosted them completely, but i’m not always in their faces either.

Posting a few times a week also allows me to mix up my mediums, whether it be my main blog post, content from Instagram or something else which I think is interesting and relevant to post.

This may seem like a lot and sometimes, even I surprise myself by the fact I keep coming up with content (it’s like a relationship that seems too good to be true – something should have gone wrong by now). But I am able to continuously meet the demand of posting multiple times a week by…

#4. Goal-Planning
Credit – Giphy

By breaking down your one big goal into smaller, more manageable goals, it can make the completion of the goal seem way less daunting and allows you to be consistent with your content creation, in smaller, less demanding spurts.

I break down my primary goal of publishing one main article a week into writing for one hour every day, sometimes longer if i’m really on a roll. Spending 7 hours a week working on content may sound like a lot to some, but not when you put it in perspective that it’s one hour out of 24 in a day. My logic as well for this schedule is that when my workplace is finally lifted out of quarantine, I want a goal that is manageable with my work schedule. I know all too well the feeling of coming home from work and not wanting to do anything. One hour after work to complete something that means a lot to me, is manageable.

Some days when I sit down to write, nothing comes to mind, and that’s okay. The beauty of this practice is that if one hour is spent watching the family of crows outside my apartment squawk at each other instead of writing, I have another 6 hours in the week to make up for it.

#5. Every Day Experiences are a Great Source for Consistent Content

While I do think it’s a good idea to have back-up content for days when you’d rather be watching reruns of Friends than creating, sparks of inspiration may spontaneously appear throughout your week just by you doing you. A lot of my inspiration for consistent content comes from going about my life – a recent slump I was in, a conversation with my hair stylist, the work I am doing with my therapist, my love life (or lack thereof).

Credit – Giphy

When I first started writing, I was scared about getting canceled for talking about a topic that I was not a professional in. I still feel like an imposter some days. How can you talk about mental health when you are not trained in mental health?

I eventually was able to move past this when I realized what I lack in professional accreditation, I make up for in real, lived experience and a perspective that is uniquely mine. This is what you have too, which you can use to your advantage. Creative mediums are wonderful because they are primarily subjective – one individual will see and approach the medium differently than the next, meaning every person’s approach is uniquely theirs. What’s even more wonderful is you can retell your experience in your own unique style, and people can still find it relatable.

#6. Create For Yourself

I’ll be the first to admit that it can be really hard to not get discouraged by statistics, or by critiques of my work (not that i’ve received many, but my mum has noted how she has to take a seat when she’s about to read what I write because sometimes my pieces can be long – and I oop).

Some days, nobody visits my site – I’ll get excited over 1 visitor, then realize it’s me (derp).

While i’m no internet search engine optimization genius and know there’s a fine art to pushing your article/website to the top of the Google search page, I generally write for myself and am happy with my content. I can spend entire mornings editing, writing and creating (what sick and twisted individual actually likes editing?).

Credit – Giphy

Regardless of what your chosen form of creativity may be, if you truly love your craft, you’ll never run out of content or steam and you’ll show up to your craft consistently.

All the top page Google searches for your site in the world (or whatever the equivalent may be of exposure in your realm) aren’t worth it if you’re not content at your core of whatever it is you are choosing to do. Likewise, if money is you’re first and foremost reason in terms of why you are doing what you are doing, it’s inevitable you will run out of patience and creative steam.

When you do whatever it is you choose to do for yourself, it’s usually done from the heart too. Writing from the heart has really allowed people to relate to my content and in turn, create connections with others. I also feel like I’ve really been able to harness my creative voice, which also helps to establish authenticity.

You owe it to yourself to be consistent with your passions. Life’s too short not to be.

Do you have any tips for keeping consistent with your content? Comment down below!

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August Intentions List

Have you set your August intentions yet?!

Setting your intentions can help to declutter your brain and get you really laser focused on what you want to work on or accomplish.

So often we hear of blogs and sites who flop, disappear or throw in the towel after a month, primarily because the initial excitement of starting a blog in the first place wears off (after that is when the real work begins!). I’m proud of myself for having kept consistent in my posts, having posted weekly on my site for the past 5 months! This is an intention I plan on continuing.

Some of intentions which I hope … no WILL, pick back up again, include writing for 1 hour every day. This was a practice I got into in order to hold myself accountable to my writing and my blog. July got busy with a vacation and transitioning into a new role at work (which so far is very meh and partially why I haven’t talked about it) and my practice fell off the metaphorical horse, but we shall get back on it!

Frankly I have left a lot of my recent writing to the weekend before publishing and I don’t like the rushed feeling that accompanies this last minute writing. I’d rather be ahead of the curve.

Daily intentions, meditation and brain dumps are tasks which I want to incorporate into my day to day life as well. Setting intentions every morning for how I set my day help improve my mood, put me in the right mindset and give me a little push when I’m feeling like Sleepy the Dwarf from Snow White. Also daily brain dumps and journaling. I tend to only journal when I need to release a thought, or feeling but I really want to start doing it every day, even if I have nothing in particular to pour out on paper.

I also really want to redesign and work on my website. There needs to be a better system on their for categorizing my posts – right now they’re a little all over the place and it bothers me. So a website facelift will be taking place!

What are your intentions for August? Comment below!

Self-Awareness Shout-Out

I posted this on my Instagram yesterday but wanted to share it here too. I had this thought the other day.

I comment so much on other people’s posts, that what they talk about is something I need to work on, or I am working on… but I don’t think I give myself enough credit for being as self-aware as I am. So today I am!

Recognizing my own emotional immaturity, IS a form of maturity. Recognizing how destructive my overthinking can be, IS productive. Knowing there will be hard days, during which I recognize I may be hard on myself, but can pull through IS healthy awareness.

When’s the last time you gave yourself a pat on the back or gave yourself a hug for your level of self-awareness?

July 28 Grounded Gratitude

Hi folks! It’s been a hot minute since I posted a Grounded Gratitude practice, or posted something other than a blog post.

Traveling home from my vacation on Vancouver Island, really made me appreciate the ferry ride it takes to get there and back. I love taking an early morning ferry – the air is cool, the water is calm, the sky is sort of grey like it’s just waking up after a good night of sleep. The ride itself passes by easily as inlets and smaller islands float in and out of sight.

While waiting to board my ferry home, I did a quick walk-through of the quay market that is at the ferry terminal. When I came out the other side, a man and his dog (who was very happy to see me) were sitting on a ledge nearby. I asked the man if I could pet his furry pooch and he said yes. The pupper was happy to have received a little scratch on the head from me, until losing interest in my head rubs and curling back again in the shady spot at his owner’s feet.

I’ve also been really grateful lately at my ability to look at situations more rationally. I’ve sometimes had a hard time looking at the bigger picture of a situation, especially when it comes to romantic relationships (what have I not had trouble with in relation to romantic relationships? lol). I tend to put on my rose-colored glasses and see only what I want to see, never the warning signs or the signs which might have shown themselves before I even started dating a person. While it’s easier to say now that i’m not in a relationship that I can look at situations more rationally (being in a relationship might be a different story), I feel like the growth I have experienced within my time in quarantine and my time with my therapist, even in the last 5 months, has really benefited me in thinking situations and aspects within certain situations through more clearly.

4 Ways You Can Be A Mental Health Adjective Ally

4 Ways You Can Be A Mental Health Adjective Ally

Read Time: 7 Minutes 30 seconds

Last Thursday, I got my hair done – the first time in two and a half years since it has been professionally colored.

My stylist was chattering away about how she had recently signed up for the online Masterclass series. For those who aren’t familiar with what this is, Masterclass is a paid subscription service which grants you access to educational videos on a variety of subject areas, taught by experts in their field.

Amidst telling me about the latest video she had watched, she suddenly blurts out “anything to do with books, i’m just dyslexic”.

Continue reading “4 Ways You Can Be A Mental Health Adjective Ally”

Mental Flip-Flop: My All or Nothing Tendencies

Mental Flip-Flop: My All or Nothing Tendencies

Reading Time: 8 Minutes

In previous posts I touched upon what I refer to as my All or Nothing patterns of thought and/or behavior. An alternative title I give to this pattern is flip-flopping – when something doesn’t seem to be working one way for me, or even if something is not going well, I have the tendency to then throw all of my weight behind whatever the opposite is of that. When using this term, I also include such instances in which I severely restrict or purposely block certain aspects of my life, simply because I think that by cutting them off, this will be a sure fire way to end up at the destination I visualize for myself in the future.

Continue reading “Mental Flip-Flop: My All or Nothing Tendencies”

What I’ve Learned in Quarantine: Less Really Is More

What I’ve Learned in Quarantine: Less Really Is More

Read Time: 8 minutes

The last few weeks I have been in a major slump.

I have had no gumption to post on Instagram, I take longer to respond to comments from other users and my beloved practice of writing for one hour a day to create content for this site has gone by the wayside.

Continue reading “What I’ve Learned in Quarantine: Less Really Is More”

Mid Year Self Check-In

Mid Year Self Check-In

Reading Time: 6 minutes

Today i’m taking a break from scraping the bottom of the barrel of my emotional flaws to do a mid year self check in. On Wednesday it is July 1st – over halfway through the year already. Wednesday also marks the ever so celebratory Canada Day – a day to mark when our beautiful country became … well … a country.

Continue reading “Mid Year Self Check-In”