Over the past year, I’ve been on an unintentional journey of a life upgrade. Each of these choices or ideas have contributed to more fun, better rest and an increase motivation.

Through creativity, exploration, and the embrace of discomfort, I’ve discovered the power of self-expression and growth.

Join me as I reflect on the victories and transformations that have changed the shaped my life in the last 12 months.

Skincare

I’m not getting any younger. And I know I need to take better care of my skin, particularly my face.

So maybe it was time for some Botox? So I had a little dermal filler to help with my crow’s feet in February. It’s just a bit disappointing that it doesn’t last long; around four months for most people.

On top of that, there are some other specific products that I’ve been using on my face:

Plus I’ve been making more of an effort with the sunscreen. Especially on my face.

Exercise

I know that exercise seems to play a significant role when it comes to my mental health.

And I know that I go through stages where I am pretty consistent, exercising regularly. Then other times I don’t.

My competitive side has helped me exercise more this year.

Many of my friends have an Apple Watch. And while there is an option to compete, getting a notification they have closed their rings or completed a workout is enough motivation for me!

Water intake

You’ve probably read about my relationship with water intake before.

I struggled for a long time to drink a decent amount of fluids, let alone water.

Once I made it a goal to drink at least 1 litre of water a day, I started to make progress. But it still took me about 6 months to start hitting my goal almost every single day.

I struggle a bit when it’s cold. But I’ve found drinking hot water warms me up and helps me hit my one-litre goal.

When the weather is warmer, I don’t have any issues reaching my goal. Sometimes I’ll add a flavour sachet to my litre of water. When I do that I’m usually done by lunchtime!

Delayed caffeination

I can hear you asking yourself now; what is delayed caffeination?

It’s quite simple really. It’s delaying consuming caffeine until a certain point in your day.

I have given myself a few guidelines when it comes to caffeine:

  • no coffee after 1 pm
  • drink water first
  • eat something first
  • one coffee per day
  • go caffeine-free for five to seven days every month or so

I’m no expert, but in my experience, there is a link between my caffeine consumption and the quality/amount of sleep I get. I find it also plays a role in my hormones like cortisol and during my menstrual cycle.

Watch documentaries

I’ve become quite interested in documentaries. The topics all seem to be related to the same overall topic; how we can live our lives better.

The documentaries cover topics like the food we eat, the environment and how to get the most from our bodies.

  • Limitless with Chris Hemsworth (Disney+) – Follow Chris on a journey as he challenges his mind and body in order to live longer.
  • How to Change Your Mind (Netflix) – A look at psychedelics and how they can be used as treatment in psychotherapy.
  • Poisoned: The Dirty Truth About Your Food (Netflix) – A closer look at food-borne pathogens, how they start and how to prevent contamination.
  • Down to Earth with Zac Efron (Netflix) – Follow Zac around the world with Darin Olien to discover healthy and sustainable ways to love.
  • Rotten (Netflix) – Each episode features a different type of food production and details the corruption, water and political interference.
  • Kiss The Ground (Netflix) – Focusing on regenerative agriculture, a group of activists, farmers, scientists and politicians explain how we can balance our climate, replenish water supplies and feed the world.
  • Hugh van Cuylenburg: Gem (Prime) – An incredibly motivating look at gratitude, empathy and mindfulness.

Journaling

I have a bit of a like/hate relationship with journaling.

I’ve tried to get into it several times over the last few years. But it never seems to stick.

And honestly, I’m fine with that.

But I have found it helpful to use it to get outside of my head.

I often struggle to answer specific questions So I’ve been answering questions that aren’t so deep.

  • What do I value most in life? Why? How do the things I value most make me feel?
  • What would I be doing if I knew I couldn’t fail? Why? How would doing this/achieving this make me feel?
  • What are the things I like most about myself? Why?
  • What is my biggest regret? Why? How can I let this go?

I’ve also been doing quite a bit of free writing. Some might call it morning pages. But it’s basically just writing whatever comes out.

Getting creative

I’ve dabbled in macrame this year. I’ve made a few things like plant hangers and wall hangers.

And one day I pulled out my daughter’s watercolour paints we got from Ikea during lockdown.

And I found myself doing a watercolour each night after school pickup.

I’ve just played with the colours, blending them together to make gradients.

Cold Therapy

Sometime last year I came across the topic of cold water therapy. And after my first few exposures, I was buzzing for the rest of the day.

Towards the end of this year, I started getting in my pool for a few minutes each morning. And I feel the difference when I haven’t been in for a few days.

Some ways you can experience cold water therapy:

  • cold shower
  • ice bath
  • a dip in the ocean
  • unheated swimming pool

Time Blocking

I have tried to get on the time-blocking bandwagon many times.

Time blocking is all about setting aside dedicated slots in your day for different tasks, which helps you stay focused and make the most of your time.

But what changed for me was making it less rigid.

To make it work better for me, I selected a few different areas I wanted to focus on during school hours. The blocks I chose were work, blog, house, and exercise.

Essentially, I started each day with 1 hour allocated to each. If my tasks took less, well great, I could move on to the next one sooner.

This also let me focus on what I felt like doing at the time, while ensuring I was working on things that were important.

I guess you could say I made myself a daily menu!

Micro dates with friends

Catching up for small amounts of time here and there with my friends has been really life giving.

We’ve been choosing coffee or breakfast dates lately.

And there is absolutely no pressure for us to make ourselves available to catch up. Those that can make it, do. And those that can’t, don’t.

These micro dates serve as reminders of the importance of nurturing friendships, even in the midst of our ever-changing schedules.

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