Featured

5 Ways to Stay Motivated Before the Holiday Break

Happy Sunday everyone!

This week, I am focusing on the topic of motivation. Somehow we have already gotten to the middle of November. How can that be?? Although it’s exciting to think about the holidays coming up, we can’t daydream about it too much because there is still work to be done! During the weeks before holiday breaks, I always tend to lose my motivation and get lazy. It’s consistently an inner battle because I’m striving for that 4.0, but my brain is fried after a couple of months of strenuous school work. And why do teachers/professors make all the big projects due at the end of the semester when we are feeling the least motivated? I currently have 3 projects due in one week!

Today, I am going to share helpful ways to tackle your work. Whether its wrapping up a semester or getting a break from your 9 to 5 so you DON’T get burned out.

1. Celebrate Small Victories – Whenever you complete a task, whether it be a problem on your homework or a full paper, celebrate those accomplishments! Something that I do to help me with this is making a to-do list with check boxes. I don’t know why, but I feel SO good when I can check something off or cross out a task I have completed. You can also reward yourself when you complete these tasks. Indulge in a yummy snack or give yourself a small break!

2. Take A Break – Now when I say this, I don’t mean to take an hour long break where you end up watching tv for the rest of the night. I mean for you to take a 5-10 minute break. Get yourself some brain food, go get some fresh air, do some stretching. Whatever it is, give your mind and body a little break so when you get back to work, you feel recharged.

3. Set Goals – The end of the semester is typically when the big, daunting projects are due. Like a 10 page paper or an assignment that makes up majority of your grade. Instead of getting intimidated and losing motivation, try setting attainable goals. For example, if you have a 10 page paper, break them up into smaller parts over multiple days. This will help ease the weight of those big tasks.

4. Switch Up Your Scenery – Obviously a lot of us are working from home nowadays, so if you’re tired of doing your work or studying in the same old spot every day then switch it up! Move to a different spot in your house or apartment, go to your local coffee shop, or even work outside. Personally, I have basically been doing all my homework or attending my zoom classes while cooped up in my room. Nick has been working from home so he has the living room on lockdown while I have the bedroom, but it’s always nice to change things up every once in a while.

5. Remember Your Why – This one is probably the most important of all. Sometimes when we get lazy or lose motivation, we forget about the bigger picture. The reason why we’re doing what we’re doing. As I’ve mentioned in my “about me” page, my end goal is to be a play and art therapist for children. In order to get there, I need to work as hard as I can in my current classes. During times like these when I’m burning out, it can be SO hard to remember that. Especially when my brain is tired and I’m dreaming of eating pumpkin pie or opening Christmas presents. But, in order to really enjoy my holiday break, I need to know that I did my best before the semester ends.

I hope these tips come in handy during the home stretch of the semester, or the end of the fiscal year, and I hope everyone is taking care of themselves. Just know you’re almost there. So work hard and give yourself a break every once in a while!

Kindly,

Ken

Gratitude Exercise

Happy Sunday everyone and welcome back to a long overdue blog post. Oh and happy Mother’s Day to all the moms out there!! The other day I was searching around the Instagram explore page to find some inspiration for a blog post topic. After scrolling through countless bachelor/bachelorette posts, I stumbled upon a picture. The picture asks the question, “If everything about your life changed, what pieces would you miss?”

This picture is from @sophia.joan.short on Instagram. I highly recommend checking out her page!!

I thought this was a great idea/question to practice gratitude. Sometimes we get so caught up in all the negatives of life that we take all the positive ones for granted. I know I do! I posted this question on my Instagram story yesterday to see what my fellow followers would miss. Some people said their kids, some said their friends, some said their significant others, and some couldn’t decide because there are so many! To me that’s the beauty of this question. It helps you realize exactly how much you have and what you should be grateful for each and every day.

When I asked myself this question, my mind flooded with so many things to be grateful for. Both big and small. So far this is my running list:

Big

  • My fiancé
  • My family
  • My friends
  • The chance to go to graduate school
  • My career choice
  • Traveling/seeing new things

Small

  • Listening to my favorite music
  • The smell of a good candle
  • Cooking/baking
  • The feeling of clean sheets
  • Taking walks on a nice day
  • Treating myself to Starbucks coffee (the lady knows me by name now)
  • The sound of rain

If I really sat down and thought deeply into this question, my list could go on and on. That just makes me realize that there is truly SO much to be grateful for. Sure I have tough days where nothing seems to go right, but it’s times like those that I need to ask myself this question and remember all there is to enjoy in life. So this week I challenge you to make your own list of big and small things that you are grateful for. Then whenever you have a bad day, refer to that list! And if you want, comment a few things you’re grateful for in the comments.

Kindly,

Ken

Adventure Time: Great Falls National Park

Happy Sunday guys! I’m back with another adventure time post about my trip to Great Falls National Park. Believe it or not, it’s only about 20 mins away from us here in Arlington. It’s so crazy to think a national park can be that close to the city. On the way to the park, we stopped by Jimmy Johns to get lunch to eat during our hike. Once we arrived at the park, we realized it was free entry because of National Park Week (April 17th-25th)!! Usually it’s like $25 to get in which isn’t bad, but I’m all for the free things. There’s also TONS of parking so no need to worry about that if you go.

The biggest attraction of the park is obviously the “great falls” but there are plenty of trails to hike and peaceful nature to see. We started with a search for the great falls (even though it’s not hard to find). Plus you can hear it flowing pretty much through out the whole trail. Once we got there, it was such a sight to see!! Pretty sky, crashing sounds of the water, and trees as far as the eye could see. Nick was fan-girling since he is obsessed with the sounds of water/waves. He “could listen to it all day”.

Throughout the rest of the trail we were still able to catch glimpses of the water fall while also taking in the nature surrounding us. There were tons of blooming flowers, little streams, and meticulously stacked rock barriers (pretty much what you would see scattered around Ireland). The funniest part of our trek was during lunchtime. As we were eating our Jimmy Johns at the picnic tables, a pair of vultures landed on an abandoned table with food/belongings still on it and started chomping away at the food. We were both laughing but I was also a little freaked out by their giant talons. Then one started walking over towards us with our sandwiches still in hand. Nick started throwing sticks at it to leave, but I was out of there faster than you can say vulture! After lunch we finished up our trail and then moseyed on home.

Overall, the trip to great falls was super fun and peaceful! I really enjoyed being out in nature since we are pretty much always engulfed in the city life. If you live in the area, you should definitely check it out. Especially during National Park Week because it might still be free! Also, enjoy the pictures I captured during our little adventure below!

Kindly,

Ken

Paint A Quote

Hello everyone and happy Sunday! I hope you have all had a calm and steady week. For this weeks post I wanted to do something fun that I haven’t done in a LONG time. Painting! I truly love painting or anything that has to do with crafting/art. However, I haven’t actually painted in a while even though I really enjoy it. Luckily I got a ton of canvases for Christmas so there are no excuses now.

The paint a quote challenge is an idea I stumbled upon when I was trying to figure out what to paint. The idea is to pick a quote you really like and interpret that quote into a painting. The quote I decided to use is one by Theodore Roethke where it says, “over every mountain there is a path, although it may not be seen from the valley.” This quote really resonated with me because sometimes it is really hard to see exactly where our paths are heading or where we are destined to be when we have tall mountains to climb, but we have to trust that our paths are just on the other side of those tall mountains.

Once I found my desired quote, I went on Pinterest to find something to paint that related to the quote. After a good amount of searching, I found one that was absolutely perfect! It was a mid-century esc picture that had a valley, mountains, and a shining sun just over the mountains. Once I gathered all of my painting necessities, I looked for the perfect playlist to listen to while I painted. Something that was soothing, but also catchy. I ended choosing The Lumineers Radio on Spotify and it did not disappoint! Overall this process was very enjoyable and I’m so glad I did it. As I started painting, my mind was immediately at ease. Stroke by stroke, I lost myself in the music and achieved some much needed thought-free meditative-esque state. If you’re wanting to loosen up and clear your mind, this is definitely the activity for you. Now go enjoy some mindless painting! Also, if you were wondering, this is how my painting turned out!

Kindly,

Ken

Adventure Time: Roosevelt Island

Happy Sunday to all and to all a happy Sunday! Today’s post is more of a chill, laid-back kinda post. All I’m going to talk about is what Nick and I did yesterday. Since we are still new to the DC area, we are ALL about exploring and trying out new things. So, as you can see from the title, we ventured over to Theodore Roosevelt Island! For those that don’t know, Theodore Roosevelt Island is a national memorial located on the Potomac River in Washington, D.C. On the island, there’s a plaza where a huge Theodore Roosevelt statue stands and there’s a 1.8 mile trail with plenty of sights along the way.

If you’re curious, here’s a cute map of the whole island and the terrain it entails:

Theodore Roosevelt Island — Molly Fehr

As you can see from the map, the first thing Nick and I saw was the memorial plaza. In the plaza, there’s the huge 17 ft statue of the former president, giant plaques with messages on them, and two large bridges. After roaming around the plaza, we headed into the woods (on the left). And of course I decided to wear my white tennis shoes and stepped in mud. The more we went along the trail, the more Nick wished he had brought his fishing pole. There were a handful of people fishing and Nick waited to see if they would catch anything. One of my favorite parts of the trail was the yellow flowers naturally sprinkled throughout the trail. I even had a mini photoshoot laying in the flowers. (Nick was super proud of that idea as it was his.)

For the last leg of the trail, we were in the “swamp”. In the swamp, we walked down this longgggg wooden bridge and gazed at the muddy, tree-covered scenery. We were both sad getting towards the end of the trail because it was such a peaceful hike. Once we got back to the car, we took a little trip into DC to the Georgetown Waterfront (which we saw from the island) for some lunch at Sweetgreen – a popular salad place in the are. Overall today was so much fun and I highly recommend going to Roosevelt Island if you live in the area, or are looking for a place to go while visiting our nationals capital. Even if you don’t live here, just go on a hike somewhere near you! I’ve been cooped up in our apartment doing homework non-stop so getting out in nature did a lot of good for my mental health. Anyways, happy hiking!

Kindly,

Ken

P.S. Here are more pictures from our adventure:)

Journal Review

HAPPY SUNDAY! First and foremost, I need to address that I totally missed writing a post last week. School and life in general has been pretty busy. This month especially has been extra crazy. I honestly believe my professors got together and planned for midterms and projects to be due back to back to BACK. Thankfully March is almost over and I’m finally getting a hang of things. Side note: my parents are coming to visit the first weekend of April, so it’s helped to look forward to that! Anyways, this week I am doing a journal review. All of you know I loveee me some journaling. I recently got 3 new ones so I thought I would try them out and tell you what I think!

Self Care Planner – Shop Lovet Agency : The first journal I’m going to review is the self care planner. I’ve gotten so many ads for this and have been eyeing it for a few weeks now, so I decided to pull the trigger and buy it. It’s made in the U.S. and comes from Shop Lovet Agency, which is a female owned business. The first page contains a quote saying, “I am worthy” and the second holds a section where you write a love letter to yourself. Then there are pages all about self-care goals and self-care ideas. Once you complete that, the planner has a number of exercises to do every month for a whole year!! These exercises pertaining to stuff like gratitude, self-compliments, reflections and much more. I’m so excited to use this and I’m glad to know that it will last for a year.

Guided Journal – Lady Jayne Ltd. : My friend Joy got me this journal for my birthday. I can’t wait to use it because you’re supposed to use it in the AM and the PM because it contains morning and night reflections. This guided journal is filled with different prompts, spaces to draw your experiences, and a good habits tracker. Plus it has 130 pages, so this one will also last me a while. I will definitely be incorporating this into my morning and night routine! The exact journal I have isn’t available on the website, BUT there is a guided journal for self care and it looks pretty awesome.

Today I Affirm – Alexandra Elle : This last one was also given to me by Joy, so shoutout to her! This journal has 159 pages and is chalk full of affirmation activities/prompts. The first 56 pages contain journal entry prompts and they are ALL different. I sometimes get tired of journaling when I have to do the same thing over and over, but that will not be the case with this one! Then from pages 58 to 112 are affirmation charts. All these t-charts administer a different prompt and you just fill in accordingly. For example, ones says “in order to ____ I must ____”. So under the “in order to” column I could put: earn my graduate degree and under the “I must” column I would put: work hard in all my classes. Together that reads , “In order to earn my graduate degree, I must work hard in all my classes. The last section is all about self-love letters. For example, one says “Dear self, you are…(then you write to yourself). Love, self”. Overall this journal will be great for building confidence and reassurance! Plus it’s on sale for $18.39!!

As I mentioned before, I am obsessed with these kinds of journals. They are a great outlet to use, especially when you’re feeling overwhelmed, stressed, or unsure. It’s also a great idea to get check in with yourself and figure out what your mind and your body need! I’ve included the links to these journals, so make sure to get one if you’re interested. Happy journaling!!

Kindly,

Ken

Daily Journal Prompts — donuts + down dog

New Walking Challenge

Hey y’all! I hope you’re having a relaxing Sunday. Yesterday Nick and I went on a fun, little walk and I wanted to chat about it. We have a book called The Adventure Challenge: Couples Edition, where we can scratch off date ideas. Once we complete the date, we snap a picture with a polaroid camera, stick it in the book, and write a little snippet about the adventure. Side note: this book is so much fun and I highly recommend getting it! There’s a couples version, a family version, a friends version, and a solo version.

Our challenge for today was: Take a walk at a park for 30 mins while following these rules. For the first 15 mins you must hold hands (do not let go) without talking; no exceptions. After the first 15 mins, find a swing set and take turns pushing each other (5 min each). The person pushing can talk about anything they want while the one swinging can only listen. Afterwards talk about how the silence felt.

We don’t really have a park nearby, but we have a HUGE biking/walking trail right down the road. So we bundled up and headed that way. Once we got to the beginning of the trail, I started my timer and we walked along in silence for while holding hands 15 minutes. I thought for sure that Nick would struggle with the silence aspect of it since he is quite the talker, but he surprisingly did well! (Despite the fact that he had to let go of my hand a few times to fix his wedgies lol.) It was nice to just walk in silence and let my mind trail off. In the same sense, I was trying to be present on the walk by listening to all the sounds of nature, gazing around at the environment, and taking in all the fresh air. The best part was holding hands during the silence. Even though we couldn’t talk, we were still close through physical touch. He would squeeze my hand and I would squeeze his. And when a fork in the trail would come up, we would tug each other towards the direction we wanted to go.

After the timer went off, we discussed how nice the silence/taking in nature was. (Even though we live in the city, so there are constant sounds of cars and sirens). Then we continued to explore the trail while talking the day away. We even figured out that the trail can end up all the way in D.C.! I don’t know if I would make it that far though lol. Especially in the cold!

I suggest anyone and everyone do this challenge! Even if you don’t have a significant other, go on a walk with a friend, or a family member, or even by yourself! The important thing is to get outside every once in a while and get some fresh air.

Kindly,

Ken

P.S. Here are a few pictures from our walk!

Overly Overwhelmed

HAPPY SUNDAY EVERYONE!! Today I just wanted to check in and chat. Have you been overwhelmed lately? Yeah me too. Talk about anxiety through the roof! For me, this past week was a lot to handle. It seemed like my mental to-do list was 10 pages long and all my thoughts were swirling around my head. “I need to do this, but first I have to finish this, and I should do this that effects me in a few months…”. And so on. Why do I do this to myself when I know it will just stress me out even more?! Our brains can be cruel to us sometimes, so it’s important take notice and take action when they are. That being said, here are some tips for when you’re feeling overwhelmed.

  1. Make a list of the things you need to do. Whenever my brain is packed full of thoughts and reminders, I love putting them down on paper. This helps me comprehend/visualize everything on my plate. Plus, doesn’t it feel amazing to cross things off?! It always makes me feel so productive. When doing this, I always put the easy tasks first which keeps me motivated to do more.
  2. Reframe your thoughts. If I feel like I have too much going on, I start to worry about things that don’t matter right now or things I can’t control. Which makes me even more stressed! This week I was already overwhelmed with everything I had to do, and then I started worrying about internship stuff that is a whole 6 MONTHS AWAY. To keep this from happening I need to reel myself back to the present. I just need to focus on what I have to get done today and go from there.
  3. Don’t compare!! I know this one is tough. It’s so hard not to compare yourself to others when they seem to have everything figured out. Well guess what? No one’s life is perfect and has everything completely figured out. We all have different paths, and your path is not less than!
  4. Practice mindfulness. Mindfulness means that you bring awareness and consciousness to something. This form of meditation can be a great exercise to do when you’re feeling really anxious and overwhelmed. Speaking of, I linked a 1-minute mindfulness exercise for you to try! And don’t make an excuse to do not do it, it’s only 1 minute.

So watch this video, take a breather, get your thoughts in order, and remember that we ALL have different, but purposeful paths. Now go enjoy the rest of your Sunday!

Kindly,

Ken

To Do List Fun Sticker by bloom daily planners for iOS & Android | GIPHY

Things That Make You Happy

Happy Sunday y’all!! I hope you’ve enjoyed your weekend so far and I hope all my Texas peeps are doing okay in the aftermath of the winter storm. Obviously (by the title) I am going to talk about happiness today. Sometimes we are so consumed by the negativity and busyness of life that we forget to consistently do things that make us happy. I’m definitely guilty of this. There are times when I’m exhausted from all my classes/homework and get caught up focusing on how stressful it is. Assignment, after assignment, after assignment. When this happens I just need to take a break and do something that makes me happy. I designed a set of questions for recognizing what makes you happy that I will answer about myself, and I encourage you to answer them too!

Favorite Hobby – One of my favorite hobbies is to draw. (Really anything with drawing, crafting, painting, doodling, etc.) Ever since I was young, I’ve loved it! If you look in any of my school journals, the margins are filled with little doodles. For my birthday this year, Nick actually got me an iPad because I’ve been wanting to use the Procreate app to make my own art. I was SO excited and have been doodling ever since!

Favorite Place To Travel – Out of all the places I’ve traveled to so far, London and Scotland have been my favorite. Nick and I traveled to London and Scotland in 2019 for spring break and it was so much fun!! We visited so many historic and interesting places while we were there. The jet lag and plane rides weren’t the best, but it was so worth it. Nick and I definitely want to go back some day, but we have a lot more countries to see on our bucket list first.

Favorite Song – For me, it is extremely hard to pick just one song as my favorite. BUT any song by The Lumineers or ARIZONA has been my go-to. It just depends on the mood. If I need calming music I will listen to the Lumineers, but if I need a pick-me-up I always listen to ARIZONA. Songs by ARIZONA make scream and shout and let it all out (thank you Black Eyed Peas). I’m dreaming of the day that COVID is over and I can see them live!! Fun fact: while Nick and I were in London, ARIZONA was set to perform and Nick was going to surprise me with tickets. But the concert was THE DAY AFTER WE WERE LEAVING. Talk about bad timing.

Best Place To Be – This is going to sound super lame, but my favorite place to be is home. I am a major homebody so I enjoy staying home in my cozy home while watching a movie or my favorite tv-show. In a perfect world, my best friends and family would be with me but that’s what you get for moving 20 hours away!

Favorite Memory – There are sooo many good memories filed away in my brain, but the one that comes to mind is when I got engaged! It was such an amazing trip because Nick and I went to Colorado with our best friends and just hung out. The day of the engagement, my friends Joy and Hannah wanted to take pictures outside so we walked up a hill next to our AirBnb. Once we made it up, Nick said “hey come with me, I want to show you this view I found.” So we trecked a little higher up and that’s when he got down on one knee and popped the question. I knew something was up that day because Nick barely spoke a word to me because he was so nervous haha!

Who Makes You Laugh The Most – There are a lot of funny people in my life, but I’ll probably have to go with Nick for this one. That may be a biased answer because he’s pretty much the only person I see on a day to day basis. Nick is one of those people whose laugh is contagious, so when he laughs I laugh too. If I had to pick another person, I would pick my dad. Despite the stale dad jokes, he always knows what to say if I need a good ole’ laugh.

As I mentioned earlier, I’ve been doodling a bunch on my new iPad. In fact, I made a gif challenge that you all can screenshot and use! I will also post a copy on my story that you can use as well. Post this on your Instagram story, answer the questions with gifs, and TAG ME! I can’t wait to see everyones answers!! Let’s all think about and share the things that make us happy:)

Kindly,

Ken

Image result for happiness gif

Knowing Your Love Language

Happy Valentines Day y’all!! What better way to get in the lovey-dovey spirit than to talk about love languages?! I always find these interesting and fun to learn about. They are also so important to know about yourself! Whether you’re giving love or receiving it, love languages are not only critical in romantic relationships, but they can be helpful in friendships as well. Everyone has a preference on how they like to be loved and it’s important to acknowledge that people prefer to receive it differently. So first things first, take this quiz to find out what YOUR love language is: https://www.5lovelanguages.com/quizzes/ then come back here so we can talk about what you got!

Words of Affirmation – This love language involves using your words to reassure someone else. Sometimes it’s nice to hear positive affirmations to maintain confidence in your relationship. Some examples of this would be: “I appreciate you”, “you’re important to me”, or just a simple “I love you”. Another good example of this is to write a meaningful letter. Overall, this love language focuses on positive words.

Receiving Gifts – I feel like this love language gets kind of a bad rep because people may view it as someone being materialistic. But that’s not the case. Gifts make people feel good because it’s a physical token of appreciation and love. It’s a reminder that your significant other saw something at some point in their day and thought “oh he/she would really like this”.

Acts of Service – A common saying that aligns with acts of service is, “actions speak louder than words”. This form of love is shown through doing things for your partner. Whether it’s taking out the trash or making them dinner. It’s the act of taking care of certain things when your significant other may be busy or overwhelmed. It resonates even more when act of service is something they may not enjoy doing.

Physical Touch – This love language is pretty self explanatory as it’s all about the hugs and kisses and everything in between.

Quality Time – This love language is not only about spending time with your partner but giving them your undivided attention. Although life can be quite busy sometimes, it is important to make quality time between you and your partner without any distractions.

If you’re curious as to what my love language is, it’s acts of service. It really means a lot to me when Nick does something for me without asking him to do so. Especially when I have a lot on my plate or I’m stressed out. On the other hand, Nick’s love language is physical touch. So even though this one is lower on my personal love language totem pole, I have to work hard to show physical touch since that’s how Nick prefers to receive love. It’s nice to know how we operate so we can appreciate one another in the best way possible in order for our relationship to thrive. Overall, I hope y’all had fun learning about your love language and what each love language looks like. Maybe it’ll make your Valentines Day a little more special.

Kindly,

Ken

Image result for love gif

Imposter Syndrome

Happy Sunday everyone! If you’re a consistent viewer then welcome back and if you’re new, I’m so glad you’re here! This week I’m going back to my usual formatting where I chat about a topic/something I am experiencing personally. And obviously from the title, you know the topic is imposter syndrome. If you don’t know what imposter syndrome is, it’s the feeling that you’re not as competent or knowledgeable as others believe you to be. If you’re a visual learner like me, it looks a little something like this:

Image result for imposter syndrome

This imposter syndrome has become more prevalent as I’ve progressed in graduate school. You would think that would make me feel more confident, since I’m gaining knowledge. But as I get closer to my practicum and internship courses, I get more and more nervous. I guess it’s just scary to think about doing adult things when you still feel like a kid in a way. Let’s face it though, I turn 23 in 4 days so I can’t pull that card anymore. I think we all go through this feeling at some point in our lives. We’re having to make that shift whether we’re ready or not.

One way to help curb imposter syndrome is to think of your long term goals. For me, it’s wanting to be successful in my career because I want to help Nick in supporting us financially. We’ve been able to pay for the things we need, but I want us to be able to do fun and exciting things without worrying too much about the cost. In addition, I have some (A LOT) student loans under my belt, so it would be nice to start paying those off. They say money doesn’t buy happiness, but the lack of it is certainly stressful. Having my goals in mind provides me with the motivation and determination to accomplish my career aspirations. It also helps to know that I will really enjoy what I want to do, I just have to get there first. With every big girl/boy job, you have to first LEARN how to be successful, you don’t step into it and know how to do every little thing on day one. Then once you get into the routine, you’ll feel more comfortable and confident in what you’re doing.

For these blog posts, I always pick inspirational words of the week that go along with that topic. The quote I picked is by Eleanor Roosevelt. She said: “You gain strength, courage, and confidence by every experience in which you really stop to look fear in the face. You are able to say ‘I loved through this horror. I can take the next thing that comes along.’ ” This quote is perfect because its a reminder that when I gain experience in what I want to do, I will also gain more confidence. Even though I’ve always struggled with confidence, remembering this quote and my goals will help me push onward. So if you are like me and in a new stage of life. Let’s not be scared or nervous, let’s remember our purpose and tackle our worries day by day. We know more than we think we do!

Kindly,

Ken