Tag Archives: selfcare

A different kind of notebook: The Anti-Anxiety Notebook

Yesterday I recommended a paper planner. Today I am recommending a different type of paper product, The Anti-Anxiety Notebook. If you suffer from anxiety and cannot get the help you need to deal with it, such a notebook can help you. If you can get help, this notebook could supplement it.

It’s a well-designed book for dealing with anxiety and the approach they recommend I found useful in my dealings with my own anxiety. If you are interested but unsure, talk to a medical professional about it. But please check it out if you or someone you love suffers from anxiety.

(Photo by Ashley West Edwards on Unsplash )

One article to improve your sleep, dozens of books to improve your life

If you feel the pandemic has messed up your sleep, you are not alone. Read this and with any luck you might find you can improve your sleep: How To Get a Better Night’s Sleep – The New York Times

The website FiveBooks.com will pick a topic and highlight five really good books on it. They have done it again with self help books. However, they seem to have decided that there are many types of self help books, so this piece has dozens of the best Self Help Books by various experts. You will no doubt find something there to help.

Get some sleep. Read some books. Make a good life better.

Getting out of your comfort zone gives you a new and better comfort zone

During the pandemic I have found myself retreating into my comfort zone. It makes sense to some degree: life is hard enough with the lockdowns and worse that this stupid disease has brought us: why make things harder?

What I have realized now though is my comfort zone has shrunk as I retreated to it more and more. This has led to a bad downward spiral. Take exercise, for example. A 30 minute run used to be in my comfort zone while a 60 minute run was not. But as I exercised less during the pandemic, now even a 5 minute run is barely in my comfort zone anymore.

This made me realize that to have a larger comfort zone, you need to regularly go outside your old comfort zone and get uncomfortable. Staying in your comfort zone only shrinks it. But by going outside it more, you expand it. Having a larger comfort zone means you feel more comfortable and in control more often.

I’m going to start pushing on the boundaries of my comfort zone not because it is fun, but because I want a bigger one. I believe life is better when you do that.

One provision I would add is to make sure that when you go outside your boundaries it is in the direction of growth, not harm. Some people avoid going outside their comfort zone because they are afraid of getting hurt. Other people go too hard (eg runners) and end up returning to their old comfort zone and get stuck. Don’t do those things. Be gradual and be consistent as you stretch yourself: that’s the best way to expand your comfort zone.

To set goals, you need to look at your life. Here’s what I mean. (Or how to deal with Wanting to Have a Social Life, with Friends)

I’m not going to say that your goal setting is wrong. But it’s likely you are setting goals without looking at how you spend your time.  So let’s start there.

Write down what you are doing or think you are doing every day, week, month. Really think about this and take the time to document your life this way. Be as quantitative as possible. Then categorize those activities. After you do that, ask yourself: do you want to spend the same amount of time doing those activities in the future? If you don’t, do you want to spend more time or less time?

Let’s take someone named Alison. Alison thinks her goal is to be a better parent. However, when she looks at what she is doing, she finds she is spending most of her time working to become a partner in her firm. That’s her real goal: promotion.

Now Alison is multifaceted, as we all are. She doesn’t need to abandon one goal to work on another. She decides she does want to get promoted, but she does so in the context of also being a better parent. So she shifts some of her time and focus towards more parenting, then works to track that over time to see whether she really has internalized that as a goal.

The time and effort and focus you spend on something tells you what your goals are. Even if you don’t know those are your goals. I discovered this some time ago when I was tracking my todos in an app called Remember the Milk. I was the opposite of Alison. I thought I wanted to get promoted, but I spent most of my time focused on being a good parent and not enough on getting promoted. Eventually  I was content with that. I accepted that I would like to get promoted, but I wasn’t willing to sacrifice my parenting time to that. And I liked my work as it was. From time to time I would be disappointed to see others rise in the organization while I stayed the same, but quickly I thought that was ok. I was meeting my goals.

Likewise, I ran marathons for a long time, and I thought my goal was to run more. But over time I realized that what I got out of marathon running had slipped away. It just became a chore and my goals changed from being a marathon runner to being healthier. Maybe as my life changes I’ll go back to running marathons.

There is a famous poem by Kenneth Koch  called You Want a Social Life, With Friends that addresses this:

Koch is strict here but the thinking is the same. Setting goals helps you move forward in life only if the goals you set align with your values and interests and the time you spend on that. Trying to do everything is difficult when resources  are limited. So think about the time you have and set better goals.

For more on setting better goals, read this piece.

(Photo by Isaac Smith on Unsplash)

Why you need to exercise self-care (especially in a pandemic)


It’s easy to let care for yourself slide in a pandemic. But even in normal times it can be a problem. If you find this to be the case, then I recommend this piece. It can help you understand why you aren’t taking better care of yourself. It then helps you understand what good selfcare looks like.

I’d add a base reason for self care is you can only take care of others if you take care of yourself as well. The airplane mask rule is always in effect.

(Photo by Jungwoo Hong on Unsplash)

Did you mess up this week? Are you beating yourself up about it? If so, read this


Chances are you messed up at some point this week. It happens to everyone.

If you have a good attitude about it, that’s great. If you don’t, if you are beating yourself up for messing up, then read this.

I hope you feel better after reading that. Everyone makes mistakes. People trying really hard especially make mistakes. Give yourself a break. Then get back at it.

(Photo by Sarah Kilian on Unsplash)

Why you really are procrastinating

It’s not likely laziness. As LizAndMollie illustrates above, it’s likely due to

  • feeling inadequate
  • fear
  • not knowing where to start
  • being stretched too thin
  • perfectionism (or for me, not wanting to mess up)

So give yourself a bit of a break when you feel you aren’t getting things done.

P.S. Follow LizAndMollie for more great illustrations to help you get through this pandemic and more.

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Can you improve yourself in 10 minutes a day?

According to this, unlikely: ‘Most of us are too busy to be better’: the lazy person’s guide to self-improvement | Life and style | The Guardian

So if you only take 10 minutes to try and improve, not much will happen. But do 10 minutes every day.  10 minutes every day adds up to 60 hours a year. 15 minutes is over 90 hours. You can improve noticeably if you do that.

So what can you do in 10 minutes? Well, HIIT exercise, for one thing. A drawing can be done in 10 minutes: do 365 of them and you will get better. Stretching can be done in that time and you will be more flexible by then. Pick any area you are interested in improving, and practice to be better every day, and you will see improvement.

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How to Be Thankful For Your Life by Changing Just One Word


This is a good piece: How to Be Thankful For Your Life by Changing Just One Word. I have thought about it often since I read it. You can get to read it too, but in short, write down all the things you “have to” do or “should” do and think differently. Key passage:

You have to wake up early for work. You have to make another sales call for your business. You have to work out today. You have to write an article. You have to make dinner for your family. You have to go to your son’s game.

Now, imagine changing just one word in the sentences above.

You don’t “have” to. You “get” to.

You get to wake up early for work. You get to make another sales call for your business. You get to cook dinner for your family. By simply changing one word, you shift the way you view each event. You transition from seeing these behaviors as burdens and turn them into opportunities.

Get. You get to. Better still, you are lucky to get to. Write down the inner dialog in your head and see if you can edit it this way.

The cliche, you don’t know what you got until it’s gone, holds here. Know what you got. Think about it in a new way.

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How can you develop daily habits to develop resiliency?

One way is by getting a copy of Molly Cantrell-Kraig’s new ebook: Amazon.com: Circuit Train Your Brain: Daily Habits That Develop Resilience eBook: Molly M. Cantrell-Kraig: Kindle Store. 

It just came out, and it can just be the thing you need if you are struggling through a difficult time.

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Six steps to mindfully deal with difficult emotions

A small, handy guide to dealing with your emotions:


via 6-Steps-to-Mindfully-deal-with-difficult-Emotion

Some simple but good advice on managing stress

You are stressed. You decide: I need to manage it. That decision alone can help bring down your stress levels.

Your next step it to take action. If you have no idea how to do that, start here: Make stress management as routine as brushing your teeth viaThe Globe and Mail.

Teeth brushing won’t cure cavities and simple stress management techniques like these won’t cure significant problems in your life that are causing you to be stressed. But just like teeth brushing can prevent cavities, simple stress management can help alleviate some stress.

Unless you have a carefree life, these stress management techniques are worth reviewing.