How to design your perfect nighttime routine

How to design your perfect nighttime routine

If you’re like most people, then you’ve probably fallen into these two traps before:

1. You work RIGHT up until you go to sleep

2. You spend your time before going to sleep in front of a screen – whether that’s your phone, computer, or TV

If either (or both!) of these things apply to you, don’t worry – you’re so not alone.

In fact, MANY of us tend to engage in unhealthy behaviours before bed (like the two above) that actually make it harder for us to fall asleep! 

Now, if you’re reading this, you probably already know the importance of having a healthy nighttime routine in place, but you may be having trouble actually implementing one (can I get an amen?). Perhaps you’ve read all the “top 10 things you NEED to do before going to bed” articles, but are still left where you were before – without a solid routine in place. UGH. Why is it so darn difficult?!


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Well, the problem is, a lot of these articles only focus on ONE nighttime routine. But we’re all different – so how can ONE routine work for all of us? It doesn’t make any sense!

That’s why for this blog post, I wanted to teach you how you can design your own unique nighttime routine that works for YOU (and JUST you)

The following list of habits, therefore, is fairly long, but it’s not intended for you to do EVERY single one of them. Instead, I’m going to be discussing:

1. What each habit is

2. Who it will work for, and

3. Who it won’t work for

That way, YOU’LL be able to make a decision yourself as to whether or not it will fit with your lifestyle.

So are you ready? Because by the end of this blog post, you’ll have created (for once and for all) YOUR – and no one else’s – PERFECT nighttime routine!

Habit #1 – Stop working before going to bed

Okay, so for this first habit, I would actually suggest that we all try to incorporate it into our routine. Why? Because you need to mentally separate “work time” from “rest time”. This allows your mind to have time to wind down instead of just trying to immediately switch ‘off’.

But what if I’m a night owl? What if I’m more creative and more productive at night?

I hear you. In fact, I’m the same way. If this applies to you, you should still take up this habit. Let’s say you want to work up until 1:30am. Instead of trying to fall asleep immediately after you finish working at 1:30am, just make sure you leave time after that to wind down (maybe stay up until 2am).

Going to bed late isn’t this big, bad thing that a lot of people make it out to be. If it works for you, then it works for you – you just have to make sure you still have some chillax time!

Habit #2 – Switch off your devices

I would recommend this one to most people as well, but not necessarily everyone.

Here’s the thing: the screens on our laptops and phones emit a “blue light”, and it’s been proven that this type of light contributes to poorer sleep quality. So if you’re using your phone to endlessly scroll down your social media feeds and watch videos at nightthis is something you’ll definitely want to stop doing

However, some of us may actually benefit from watching certain videos before we go to bed. For example, there are some amazing ASMR videos on YouTube that work wonders in helping a lot of people sleep.

To determine whether you’re someone who will benefit from this type of content, I recommend checking out this YouTube channel. If these videos make you feel relaxed, you may want to consider adding them to your nighttime routine. If they don’t do much for you, then I suggest avoiding screens altogether.

Habit #3 – Eat a small snack

You’ve probably heard a gazillion times that you “shouldn’t eat before bed”. The thing is, this isn’t necessarily true for everyone!

While some people’s metabolisms may get thrown off if they eat before bed, some people find that evening snacking works perfectly fine – if not better – for them (check out this article to see what I mean!). Personally, I find that having a small piece of fruit is a great way to end my day and signify to my body that it’s time for bed. If you’re like me, then a small and healthy (keywords!) evening snack is perfectly fine.

However, if you have a tendency to overeat, or if you only want to snack on unhealthy foods – this is when you know that you shouldn’t be adding this habit to your nighttime routine.

Habit #4 – Drink a hot tea

If you’re anything like me, then you love a nice cup of soothing herbal tea before bed! 

I especially love drinking lemon balm tea because it’s known for inducing drowsiness (and honestly, it DOES). Some other teas that help promote sleep include chamomile, valerian root, lavender, and peppermint.

Many people find drinking tea before bed to be a calming and benefiting ritual – but not everyone.

Some people find that drinking tea before bed makes them have to get up in the middle of the night to use the bathroom. This doesn’t affect me because I’m a fairly heavy sleeper (there could be a raging tornado outside and I’d sleep through it like a log), but if you’re a light sleeper or if you have a more sensitive bladder, then I suggest staying away from this one.

Habit #5 – Take a shower

This one is prone to causing some debate. I myself am on the side of the evening shower supporters. I find that showering at night relaxes me and immediately makes me think “chill-time”. If you’re like me, then having a shower every night is a great addition to your nighttime routine. Just make sure you don’t wash your hair every night!

For some people though, nighttime showers just don’t work for them. Many people find that showering is something that makes them feel more awake and energized. If this applies to you, then definitely skip this habit and save it for your morning routine.

Habit #6 – Listen to relaxing music

Okay, this is one I’m alllll for. Listening to calming music before going to bed immediately gets me into a zen mood.

My favourite types of music to listen to in the evening are ambient music, spa music, nature sounds, or sometimes even somber classical music. But honestly, there are SO many genres to choose from.

I encourage you to explore Spotify or YouTube to find what genre of music suits you for your nighttime routine.

Listening to music before bed may not be for everyone though. A lot of people prefer just plain peace and quiet to help them get to sleep. Again, everyone’s unique, and you’ll have to do a bit of experimenting to find what suits you!

Habit #7 – Use essential oils

Ahhhh, aromatherapy – how I love a good smell before bed!

I find that using sleep-inducing essential oils in my diffuser such as lavender, cedarwood, and clary sage works wonders in helping me relax. Sometimes I’ll even put my diffuser on in my bathroom as I shower to create my own little “relaxation chamber”. I love it!

Some people, however, may be a little bit sensitive to scents, and so using essential oils before bed may not be right for them. I encourage you to sample some scents and see what feels right for you!

Habit #8 – Dim the lights

This is one that I beleive pretty much everyone should add to their nighttime routine. Why? Well, I think we can all agree that when it’s darker, we feel more relaxed (this isn’t personal preference, it’s biology). Dimming the lights is therefore a super easy and super effective way to signal to your body that it’s time to unwind.

I love using candles at night because they instantly put me into a very zen headspace. I also suggest investing in a Himalyan salt lamp. These beautiful lamps emit a wonderfully soothing orange light that is just sooooo calming. If you haven’t tried one yet, I highly recommend it!

Whether you choose candles, salt lamps, or both, be sure to put something right beside you on your bedside table so that you can see what you’re doing. And this brings me to my next few habits…

Habit #9 – Journal

Honestly, I swear by this one! 

For me, writing stream of consciousness at night helps me get all my remaining thoughts out before I go to bed. This makes it much easier for me to sleep because I have no thoughts left in my head to keep me awake!

So if any of you have difficulty sleeping because of overthinking, I highly recommend taking up this habit. To learn more about how to use stream of consciousness journaling, check out this article: How to Use Stream of Consciousness Journaling: 7 Tips to Start Clearing Your Mind.

Some of you, however, may not benefit from this habit. Why? Because some people may find that they get too caught up in the writing. This is especially true for people who really enjoy writing and people who feel more productive/creative at night. If this is you, then journaling at night may actually energize you and make you feel more productive! This is counteractive in a nighttime routine, and I’d suggest leaving this for your morning routine instead.

Habit #10 – Write down three things you enjoyed about the day

Another pretty much universal one here!

I would recommend this one to everyone simply because practicing gratitude is 100% beneficial and has ZERO side effects if you do it at night!

By writing down three things that you enjoyed about your day (in other words, three things you’re grateful for), you’re able to reflect on your day in a healthy way and end it on a positive note. Too often, we spend our nights thinking about all the things we didn’t do during the day and stressing about things we have to do tomorrow. This practice shifts the focus from the past and the future to the present moment.

Habit #11 – Plan for the next day

Okay, this is one that I personally like doing during my morning instead of my evening. Many of you, however, will definitely benefit from this one at night.

If you find that you waste a lot of time throughout your day making decisions – what to wear, what to eat, what to work on, what show to watch, what book to read, etc., then you may want to consider setting aside 20 minutes from your evening to plan your next day. It could honestly end up being a HUGE time-saver and and stress-reducer for you!

For me, I find that scheduling at night makes me think a bit too much, if that makes sense. It energizes me and makes me feel like I’m ready to go (not exactly what I want to feel just before bed!).

If you’re not quite sure what would suit you, I recommend spending one week trying this habit and seeing how it makes you feel. It may work for you, it may not be quite right! Again, we’re allllll different.

Habit #12 – Read

I can’t go one night without reading. In fact, for as long as I can remember I’ve always set aside a good 30 minutes to get through some pages of my book before going to bed. Not only does it help me get through my ever-expanding reading list, but it also makes me super drowsy!

A lot of people find that reading helps them sleep, but some people may not. If you’re the type of person that gets super-duper invested in a story and can never seem to put a book down, then maybe this shouldn’t be something you do RIGHT before bed. If it makes you lose sleep rather than help you get to sleep, you may benefit from reading at a different time of day.

Also – it all depends on what book you’re reading. I find that non-fiction books that require quite a bit of thinking and brain-power aren’t the best for me to read at night. Instead, I tend to go for fairly easy-to-read fictional stories before bed (here’s a list of some fun ones to get you started!).

Habit #13 – Exercise

Okay, similar to the whole “don’t eat before you go to bed” thing, you may have also heard that it’s not great to exercise before bed. But again – it’s totally different for everyone. For some people, doing a full-on exercise before bed helps them sleep better, and for others, it may make them lose sleep.

If you’re not quite sure what side of the spectrum you fall on, I suggest starting by doing some gentle stretches or a mellow yoga flow (like this one) before bed. For me, this works best. Also, paired with a chilled-out music playlist makes for the PERFECT pre-sleep ritual!

Habit #14 – Breathing exercises

This last one is another pretty much universal one. I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again – deep breathing works wonders. It’s an instant way to feel more relaxed and centred – which is just what you want before bed!

Final thoughts and reminders

Your nighttime is unique to you, so it’s important you take some time to figure out what works the best for you, not for someone else. We’re all different, and we all benefit from different things.

Once you’ve designed your own personal nighttime routine, I guarantee that not only will you get a better sleep and feel more motivated the next day, but you’ll also actually look forward to going to bed!

Sweet dreams for now!

15 ways to cope with the pressures of being a good “adult”

15 ways to cope with the pressures of being a good “adult”


When I was a child, I used to think of adults as these all-knowing, totally put-together, completely without-fault beings that had all the answers to everything and knew exactly what they were doing in life. I also thought that when I was older, I would suddenly wake up one day and be one of these adults.

Well, I’m almost 26 years old now (a real-life “adult”) – and I can confirm two things that totally disprove my childhood fancies:

1. Becoming an adult wasn’t sudden. It happened gradually – so gradually, in fact, that it was hard to tell whether it actually happened or not!


2. Adults are NOT these all-knowing, totally put-together, completely without fault beings that have all the answers to everything and know exactly what they’re doing. Nope, not at all.

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I’m not the only one who feels this way, either. I’ve had so many discussions with my other grown-up friends and we all agree on the same thing:

We don’t feel like we live up to our childhood fantasy of what a “real adult” is like.

But that’s just it – it’s all a fantasy! The truth is, being an adult (or “adulting”, as it’s called now), isn’t as rigid and as straightforward of a definition as a lot of us may think it is. In fact, our idea of what a “real adult” is is a total illusion!

But if that’s the case, then why do so many of us still feel the pressure “to have it all together” and “to be a good adult”?

Well, it’s all thanks to some outdated societal expectations that have been imposed on us since we were children. That is, the expectation that life should follow this ONE linear progression:

Go to High School – go to College/University – get a job – earn money – get married – buy a house – have kids – etc, etc…

The thing is: this is just ONE pathway in life! And for many of us, this pathway may be completely unrealistic, unreachable, or just undesirable. But despite this, so many of us tend to judge our worth as an “adult” based on how closely we’ve followed this path.

I’m here to tell you that you need to GET RID of this totally archaic idea of there only being one correct way of going about adulthood. Throw it out the window! You don’t need to “live up to” or “fit into” any one specific definition. We are all completely different, and we are all travelling through the adventure of life on totally different paths. And that’s what makes this world (and all the people in it) so incredibly interesting!

Now that you understand this, I want to help you even further by giving you 15 ways that you can deal with the unrealistic pressures of adulting in a positive way.

The more you do each and every one of these things, the more self-assured you’ll feel that you’re doing the right thing. Because trust me, you are.

15 Tips to Help You Deal with the Unrealistic Pressures of Being an “Adult”

1. Fuel your passions

‘Life fulfillment’ doesn’t just mean ‘career fulfillment’ – it goes much deeper than that. Do some soul searching to find out what really makes you tick and dedicate more time to doing that. When you make time for your passions, you’re allowing yourself to experience what makes life truly worth living (and if that’s not what being an adult is all about, then I don’t know what the point is!).

2. Question your self-imposed deadlines

Who says you need to get married by age 27 and have your first child at 28? If you feel like you’re always under a time crunch to go through life’s milestones and get onto the next stage of life, then you’re totally going to miss out on the most important part of these things – enjoyment. Relax! Everyone is going at their own pace. There’s no rush – it’s all in your head!

3. Be willing to feel negative emotions

One side effect of the happiness movement is that it has a habit of making us feel guilty if we feel sad or angry. This is problematic, as these are completely natural and necessary emotions. One of the kindest things you can do to yourself is to just allow yourself to feel these things without judgement. Next time you’re having a bad day (or week), don’t beat yourself up about it.

4. Take responsibility for your life

You are powerful, you are capable, and you are in control of your life. The sooner you realize this, the sooner you’ll stop feeling like a victim of the world around you (which is one of the most damaging things we can do to ourselves!). It’s completely within your ability to change your life – all it starts with is your mindset

5. Stop waiting for other people

This ties into the above point. No one else is going to change your life for you – only you can do that. Your parents can’t, your partner can’t, your best friends can’t. So if you’re waiting around for OTHER people to change, you’re going to be waiting around for a looooong time! Stop looking outward, and start focusing inward.

6. Get clear on your values

Going through life as an adult without being clear on what your values are can make decision-making way more difficult than it needs to be (which is a source of stress for MANY of us!). Spend some time writing down what your core beliefs are – that is, the things that are most important to you in life – and then use them to guide you as you make important decisions throughout life (if you want help figuring out your values, this article is a great place to start!).

7. Relieve your money stress

Just because you’re an adult doesn’t mean that all of a sudden you have to FREAK OUT about investments, mortgages, credit scores, and other financial things. Relaaaax. The best thing you can do now is just to start putting aside and saving a small percentage of your money. Even if you only make $100 a month – put away $5!

8. Stick to a schedule

Having a routine in place that you follow is an incredible way to get more things done throughout your day – things that you need to do, and things that you WANT to do (this one’s especially important!). By using a schedule to plan out your day, you’ll be able to set aside time to do things that truly energize you so that you can feel more aligned with your true self

9. Take it one day at a time

Like I said before, everyone is travelling through life at their own unique pace. If going at high speed doesn’t work for you, that’s totally fine (in fact – it’s probably for the better!). Just focus on taking baby steps. Remember: it’s the little things we do every day that will make the biggest difference in the long run.

10. Listen to those around you

One of the biggest mistakes that we can make as adults is to think that we know everything about everything and that OUR opinion is the RIGHT opinion. This way of thinking will just close you off from learning so many things there are to learn from other people! Listen, listen, listen – to everyone and everything. You may be surprised what you learn.

11. Celebrate your success

And I don’t just mean big successes – it’s the small successes that deserve to be celebrated more. Too often, we have these grand expectations and high standards for ourselves and will only feel good when we’ve achieved these things. This is no way to live, as it completely overlooks the importance of the little things in life that make it truly worth living!


12. Learn something new every day

Just because you’ve graduated doesn’t mean you should stop learning. Far from it. In fact, learning something new every day (no matter how small!) is one of the best ways to feel more fulfilled as a human being! We’re curious creatures, and we need to constantly fuel that curiosity of ours. Open a book, listen to a podcast, watch a documentary…there are so many cool things out there just waiting for you to discover!

13. Keep your inner child satisfied

Although adulthood and childhood are two separate stages of life, being mature and being child-like are not opposites. In fact, they work much better when they’re joined together, like a perfectly balanced yin and yang. It’s so important, as adults, that we nurture and take care of our inner child, because it’s this inner child that’s going to help keep us connected and aligned with our true purpose in life.

14. Reflect on how far you’ve come

Just like celebrating small successes is important, so too is looking back on how far you’ve come. When we cross the threshold from childhood into adulthood, we tend to get a little bit of amnesia when it comes to realizing how much we’ve grown. Many of us think, “Oh my god, I’m 25 years old and I have nothing to show for it”, when in reality, you’ve probably grown SO much even in just the past year! Before getting down on yourself, always look back to see how far you’ve actually come – you may be surprised!

15. Focus less on doing and more on being

“Life is just flying by!” – how many of you have thought this before? I’m guessing most of you! Well, it’s not because of some flaw in the time-space continuum – it’s because we’re often so busy doing things in our adult life that we never feel fully in the moment – the calm, still, present moment. Don’t make this mistake forever, because you will regret it someday. Life isn’t just about doing, accomplishing, and achieving –

It’s about being.
The more you can learn to immerse yourself in the present moment, the more at peace you will feel with yourself – the amazing, unique, and totally fine adult that you are!

30 self-care tips for introverts (and why it’s important)

30 self-care tips for introverts (and why it’s important)

“Society has a cultural bias towards extroverts” – Susan Cain

It doesn’t take a whole lot of searching to discover just how true this statement is. When it comes to introversion and extroversion, we definitely live in a world that favours the latter.

But first of all – what exactly is introversion and extroversion?

(spoiler alert: it’s not just “shy” and “not shy”)


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Extroverts – The Social Butterflies

Extroverts are people who get energized when they’re around other people. They’re the social butterflies of the world. And if these butterflies spend too much time alone, they’ll start to feel isolated and uninspired. Full of life, full of energy, and full of chat – you’ll always find the extroverts wherever the action is (think Genie from Aladdin – that should paint a pretty good – if not slightly exaggerated – picture).

Introverts – The Not-So Social Butterflies

Introverts, on the other hand, get their energy from being alone. This doesn’t mean they don’t like being social or aren’t friendly, it just means that too much social interaction drains them. They therefore tend to be the ones who are quieter, more introspective, and usually a good few feet away from all the action (think Belle from Beauty and the Beast. Slightly romanticized, but I think we’ll take it).

There’s a place for both these wonderful types of people in our world. But the reality is: society tends to privilege extroverted traits over introverted ones.

Think about it – how many times have you heard ‘leadership’, ‘action-oriented’ and ‘team-player’ spewed out as virtuous qualities to aim for? And how many times have you totally faked these virtuous qualities on your resume in an attempt to land a job?

There’s an extrovert expectation that’s imposed on children from the time they can walk and talk – Beth Buelow

This extrovert expectation can be seen everywhere you look. The business world is a perfect example – where being persuasive, decisive, and assertive – trademark extrovert traits – is pretty well the holy trinity of the corporate game (besides being able to speak very LOUDLY).

And it’s not just in the business world – this extrovert bias can also be seen in the other most important institution in our societyschools.

Participation grades – my story

When I was in University, we had this god-awful practice in place called participation grades (I’ll take a moment here to let every introvert reading this catch their breath).

During class, we were expected to speak up and contribute to the discussion. The thing is, I didn’t want to speak up and contribute. It wasn’t because I was shy – it was just because this simply wasn’t the way I (or any other introvert sitting in that class) operated.

I work best by listening to other people and then having time to process my thoughts on my own.  And a 30 minute class discussion where 20 people are going back and forth debating doesn’t quite allow for that.

I would always feel so overwhelmed when I was sitting in these classes. And it didn’t make matters any better when I could see my professor glaring at me from across the room just waiting for me to “speak up”. 

It never happened, and I have the grades to show it.

Knowing yourself and the world around you

What it all comes down to is this: you need to know how you work and you need to know how the world around you works. Only once you know this will you be able to understand how to make yourself happy in it. 

This is true for both introverts and extroverts. Introverts, however, may need a little extra help with this, as our society does little in the way of helping them on its own.

And THIS is where the power of self-care comes in

For us introverts, think of self-care as your lifeline. Without it, you’ll have a hard time being able to function in the extroverted world around you. That’s why for this article, I thought I’d round up my best, most effective self-care habits to keep all you introverts feeling fulfilled, energized, and FULLY operational!

So go some place quiet and listen up (which I know you will because you’re all great listeners), because here are 30 THINGS that are going to help you survive in this hectic world.

Come out of your shell’ – that noxious expression which fails to appreciate that some animals naturally carry shelter everywhere they go and some humans are just the same” – Susan Cain

30 Self Care Ideas for Introverts


1. Schedule in daily alone time

Now when I say schedule, I mean schedule – schedule it in that calendar like a doctor’s appointment! Even if it’s for ten minutes every afternoon, make sure you spend some part of your day A-L-O-N-E.

2. Learn how to say ‘no’

And stop feeling guilty about it! There’s no need to take on more than you can chew. If your body’s telling you that you don’t want to do something, you need to listen to to you body. 

3. Have a solo morning routine

Being alone in the morning is essential for an introvert to start their day off on the right foot (read: be in a good mood). Wake up before anyone else, do your stuff, and watch how much more aligned you feel for the rest of the day.

4. Have a solo night routine

This is just as important as your morning routine. Ending your day alone will give you time to be quiet, reflect, and work through any thoughts you have before going to sleep.

5. Stop comparing yourself to extroverts

Remember – society favours extroverted traits. This means that people who aren’t like are going to be celebrated as the “ideal” in the media and in your life. Don’t let it get to you. Remember: you are totally fine just the way you are.

6. Spend time in nature

This is one of the best ways to feel instantly refreshed and energized. Go for a walk around your block, go for a hike in the forest, or even just take a few deep breaths on your doorstep (pretending not to notice any of your neighbours who walk by, of course).

7. Read a book

Immerse yourself in the pages of a book and let them wisp you away to a whole different world (because sometimes our world can just be too darn much – and too darn loud).

8. Journal

Journaling – especially stream of consciousness journaling – is an incredibly powerful tool that helps you get in touch with your innermost thoughts and, therefore, your true self (also – it’s WAY easier for us introverts to express ourselves in writing rather than speaking).

9. Check in with yourself

How are you feeling in this moment? Are you okay? Are you stressed? Overwhelmed? Overstimulated? Make a habit of asking yourself these questions a few times a day. In fact, annoy yourself with how often you ask these questions!

10. Have a TV show just for YOU

Watching creepy crime dramas with your partner can be great, but don’t forget to keep some feel-good shows specially for you! Gilmore Girls for the 80th time, perhaps?

11. Do some breathing exercises

Deep breathing is an immensely powerful way of bringing your thoughts out of the outer world and into the inner world for a few moments. If you want to learn about some specific breathing techniques, you can find them explained in our free Anxiety Handbook!

12. Listen to your favourite music

Put in your earbuds and jam out to your favourite tunes alone in your room. Use your hairbrush as a microphone, 2001 Lizzie Mcguire style. We won’t judge. In fact, we’ll be doing the same alone in our room!

13. Listen to podcasts

Tuning out the world and learning at the same time? Pretty much the definition of a win-win solution for any introvert. Try checking out these podcasts that are especially designed for us quiet types.

14. Exercise

We already know that exercising is crucial for pretttty much everyone on this earth, but introverts can benefit even more from the alone time it gives them. 

15. Listen to spa music

For me, listening to spa music is the quickest way to just calm down and zen out when I feel overwhelmed. Here’s a good playlist to get you started. WARNING: be careful not to close your blinds while you listen to it, or you may do what I’ve done MANY a time and accidentally forget that an outside world even exists.

16. Use some essential oils

Aromatherapy is another great tool you can use to counteract the hecticness of the world. My personal favourites for a chill-out sesh are lavender, eucalyptus, and clary sage. Pair this with the above mentioned spa music and you’re in for a real time.

17. Research something

Introverts tend to be naturally curious and good at studying. A good way to satisfy this urge is by researching a topic you don’t know much about. I suggest labelling a notebook “My Introverted Investigations” and using it to write down all that you discover!

18. Take a bath

This makes a great addition to your solo nighttime routine. Add in some essential oils for an extra bit of well-deserved pampering.

19. Bake or cook something

Yet another great way to get in the zone and tune out the world for a while. Plus, if you can get lasagna or cookies out of it, it’s a pretty sweet deal!

20. Clean your house

Try dedicating a half hour each day to cleaning. On top of giving you some much-needed alone time, it also has the added perk of ticking stuff off your to-do list!

21. Do something creative

It could be playing music, writing, doing some art, even just doodling on a scrap piece of paper – spending some time getting in touch with your inner artist child is a great way for introverts to feel more energized.

22. Shop alone

This is a MUST for every single introvert out there. Spending an afternoon shopping alone – whether that’s grocery shopping or treat-yourself shopping – can be all you need to feel fulfilled for the rest of your day. And get this: the only person you’ll have to talk to the whole time is the cashier!

23. Take a break from social media

The constant bombardment of information and photos of OTHER people can get exhausting. Switch your devices off and just focusing on doing your thing.

24. Take a long shower and spend a lot of time getting ready

Honestly, who doesn’t like a nice, thorough shower and then spending a good two hours in the bathroom self-pampering? Sorry roomies – bathroom is occupied for the foreseeable future.

25. Look through old photos

This is a super cute and personal activity that’s meant just for YOU. Close your door, open you old photo albums, and take a wistful walk down memory lane.

26. Schedule a date with your best friend

Although introverts get refreshed by being alone, we can also sometimes get this from spending one-on-one time with one – ONE (did I mention one?) – of our closest friends. Just make sure it’s someone who you feel comfortable being totally yourself around.

27. Set specific times for contacting people

If you’re an introvert but you have a lot of friends, it can be overwhelming when text after text after text starts to cram up your inbox. Instead of feeling like you have to respond to everyone STRAIGHT away, set aside 30 minutes a day dedicated to catching up on your correspondence (sounds romantic, no?).

28. Go on a solo day trip

If you’re an introvert and you’ve never spent a day at a museum, art gallery, or even a restaurant alone – you’re seriously missing out. This is one of the most refreshing things that we can do as introverts. Plus – it’s also a fantastic way to gain confidence!

29. Take a long drive

Turn up the radio, roll down the windows, and just enjoy the cruise. Maybe discover a new town, maybe get lost, maybe accidentally drive to the mountains and stay for a month… whoops.

30. Schedule your week

One of the most useful things you can do as an introvert is spend some time (on a Sunday!) scheduling out your week. This allows you to schedule in advance time to spend doing these self-care habits.

It’s one thing to read about self-care, but it’s a whole other thing to actually incorporate these habits into your daily routine.

Natalie Burns-Holland

Natalie Burns-Holland

Content Creator at Mindaya

Natalie is a freelance writer living in Edinburgh, Scotland.
The one simple trick to becoming happier

The one simple trick to becoming happier

How can we be happy?

This is a question that many of us have no doubt asked ourselves countless times in our lives – but we never really seem to know the answer to.

And we can’t blame ourselves, because even scientists who have been studying happiness for years have struggled to find an answer to this question. 

The concept of ‘happiness’ seems somewhat elusive. To a lot of people, happiness is something they think they’ll reach only once a certain lifestyle or certain amount of money is attained. Only then will they become happy.

This, however, isn’t how it works (which I’m sure a lot of you have already figured out by now!). You dated that guy, you got that job, you made ‘x’ amount of money…but you’re still. not. happy.

So what’s the big secret?

The secret to happiness

Alright – do you want to be let in on the big secret on how to achieve happiness and make it last?

Here it is:

Immerse yourself in the present moment.

Okay, okay – I know this isn’t groundbreaking stuff here – but it is something that many of us tend to lose sight of in the rat race of a world we live in.

Plus, it’s not as easy as it sounds! Most of the time (and especially when we’re feeling sad or anxious), we’re not living in the present at all – we’re stuck in our head living in the past or the future. Think about it – how often are you concerned about what to do next, what may happen tomorrow, what you did a week ago, what you need to do differently later…

It’s exhausting living in a different time frame!

So this brings me to my handy-dandy little trick – the trick that will bring you into the present moment and into a much happier state of mind…

Ask yourself: “how can I be happier RIGHT NOW?”

Many of us make the mistake of saying “I’ll do something fun later” or “once I’m done work I’ll do the things I like”. 

In reality, we need to constantly check in to see if there is anything we can do in THIS moment to make ourselves happier – and then actually do it!

Now, you can’t always do super fun stuff all the time (but wouldn’t that be nice if you could), so it’s more about increasing your enjoyment in the things you do everyday, no matter what things you’re doing.

Using this trick to help with stress and anxiety

This little happiness trick has helped not only in making me happier, but also in drastically reducing my anxiety. 

When I was in the depths of my anxiety a few years ago, I was constantly worried about something going wrong in the future. In other words, I was completely stuck inside my head. This way of thinking was totally robbing me of any happiness in the present moment.

Once I started using this trick, however, my outlook completely changed.

Now, this isn’t to say that this is the only technique I used to overcome my anxiety. Not at all. I’ve taken many other crucial steps in getting my anxiety under control – however, this particular technique was a life-saver in helping me learn to enjoy myself more!

So if you can start training yourself to constantly check in and ask yourself what you can do to feel better, I truly believe that your life will improve the same way mine did.

My personal story

Not only did this technique help me snap out of anxious mindsets, but it also helped motivate me to start doing things that would actually be beneficial to me. I’d like to share a few of my stories to show how this worked:

Story #1:

When I was traveling alone, I had to make friends fairly quickly. This was something I wasn’t super comfortable with – partially out of fear, and partially out of laziness. 

I decided, however, that if I wanted to be happier while traveling, I needed to be more social.

So if I was ever debating whether or not to go talk to people, I would just ask myself: “will talking to people make me happier today?”. And the answer was always yes!

After I did that a few times, it just became second nature to me. I knew that it would make me happier, so I didn’t think twice about doing it. From then on, I made so many wonderful connections that I am grateful for to this day.

Story #2: 

If you’ve been reading my blog for a while, you’ll know that I used to have pretty major anxiety over germs and getting sick.

When I was travelling from place to place, I would always stay in hostels. This meant sharing kitchens and sharing bathrooms with a LOT of strangers. As someone who used to be very anxious about germs, this was something that caused a lot of stress for me.

But what did I do to combat this? You guessed it! I started using my happiness technique. I asked myself: “is worrying about these germs going to make me any happier today?”. And the answer was no. So I decided to stop worrying about them

I know that this sounds super simple, but trust me – if you just stick with this technique and listen to yourself, it really is THAT simple!

For those of you who are busy

Whether you have cleaning to do, work to get done, or errands to finish – you can always find ways to infuse these daily tasks with more happiness! Just ask yourself that magical little question:

How can I be happier right now?

Perhaps you can put on some music, light a scented candle, sing along to a song, take a break and go for a walk, or look at a funny video on YouTube for a few minutes! You know what’s best for you, and you know what will make you feel good.

For those of you who aren’t really “busy” but are just sitting around wasting time on social media (or whatever your time-waster of choice is) – I know it can be difficult to find the motivation to get up and do something. But our handy-dandy question can also come in here:

How can I be happier right now?

We may think we’re happy just browsing Instagram (or watching TV), but really, most of the time it’s not making us truly happy and is actually contributing to our feelings of unease and anxiety (which this article does a good job of explaining).

So make a habit of asking yourself if there’s something you could be doing that would make you happier – and then go do that

For me, working out, going for a walk, calling a friend, talking with my mom, or doing a craft makes a HUGE (and almost instantaneous) difference in my mood!

Tips for implementation

1. Set reminders on your phone to ask yourself this question. You can even schedule it for every hour!

2. Put sticky notes and friendly reminders around your house/workplace/desk. You can even put them in your notebooks, pencil case, or anything that you use frequently throughout the day.

3. Start a morning routine. As soon as you get up, set an intention for the day of trying to be happier in the moment.

4. Try to make a habit of catching yourself in the act when you get emotional. Take a step back and reframe your mind. The more you do this, the more self aware you will become, and the more control you will have over your thoughts. Always remember that you are not your thoughts. You can choose which thoughts you listen to and which you don’t, so choose to listen to the positive ones.

5. Don’t be too hard on yourself. Try your best to ask yourself this question and get out of those bad moods, but don’t beat yourself up if you can’t. Being happier is an ongoing process that takes time and practice. Just be consistent and you’ll get there!

How to use stream of consciousness journaling: 7 tips to start clearing your mind

How to use stream of consciousness journaling: 7 tips to start clearing your mind

Picture this:

It’s Saturday morning.You wake up with a beam of sunlight pouring into your room and birds singing outside your window. It seems like the perfect morning. But something’s not quite right. Despite the sun, the birds, and the weekend vibes, something’s just…off.

You don’t feel relaxed. You feel overwhelmed. There are a gazillion things rushing through your mind – I have to buy groceries. When’s that assignment due? I really should clean the bathroom. The job application deadline is tomorrow. I need to get started on that. Will I have time practice guitar? I haven’t practiced in ages. Maybe I’m no good at guitar. Maybe I should quit. I can’t quit! When do I get paid? The more you think, the more anxious you get. No wonder you’re not feeling the Saturday morning vibes – your mind is going crazy!

When your thoughts are running a hundred miles an hour, it’s easy to feel confused. And when you feel confused, you lose sight of what really matters, and how you really feel. That’s where stream of consciousness journaling comes in.

What is “Stream of Consciousness Journaling”?

Stream of consciousness journaling is a method of journaling that involves writing down your thoughts as they come to you. No proofreading. No overthinking. Just transcribing every thought that pops into your head down on paper.

In stream of consciousness journaling, the magic happens in the messiness. When you stop censoring your thoughts and instead let them come to the page organically, what you’re really doing is allowing yourself to communicate with your inner voice, your intuition, your soul. The part of you that has all the answers. The part of you that’s unclouded by stress, anxiety, and ego.

It will Help You Understand Your Mind

Stream of consciousness journaling has a tendency to bring to the surface problematic thinking patterns, to uncover fears you didn’t know you had, and insights you didn’t know you needed. Thoughts that come from the depths tend to be the most profound, and the most necessary.

So if you’re ready to push past the distractions and delve deep to discover what’s really important to you, here are my 7 most helpful tips on stream of consciousness journaling:

1. Journal in the morning – Our thoughts tend to be the most chaotic and muddled when we first wake up. By writing in the morning, you’re sifting through all that chaos straight away, leaving you with a clear, focused mind for the rest of the day.

2. Don’t force anything – Be true to your thoughts. Stream of consciousness journaling should never feel contrived. It may not be enlightening, it may not be earth-shattering, it very well may be “I’m so tired, I don’t know what to write”. If that’s what you’re thinking, write it down.

3. Be patient – Don’t give up if you don’t get an ‘aha’ moment straight away. If you continue with it every day, your intuition will take you where you need to go. You know just as well as I know that all good things take time.

4. Forget the rules – Throw any concerns you have about spelling and grammar out the window. The point isn’t to create publish-worthy prose, the point is to let your soul take control (your soul doesn’t care about ‘you’re’ vs ‘your’).

5. Be specific – Your journal is no place for cautious generalities. Pin-point as much as you can – specific names, feelings, emotions, events. This is for your eyes only, so don’t shy away from writing precisely and explicitly.

6. Write by hand – Writing by hand in a physical journal rather than on your computer slows you down and keeps the intuitive part of your brain engaged. Your keyboard is far too linear for this type of writing.

7. Allow for jumps – Our thoughts can sometimes be quite sporadic, and that’s okay. If at one point you’re writing about your dog, which then reminds you about that movie you saw last night, which then reminds you about a dream you had one time – let yourself go there. No need for tidy transitions.

You have the tips, you have your journal, and you have your pencil. All that’s left for you to do?

Let it flow!

Natalie Burns-Holland

Natalie Burns-Holland

Content Creator at Mindaya

Natalie is a freelance writer living in Edinburgh, Scotland.
5 best strategies to fuel self-growth and unlock your fullest potential

5 best strategies to fuel self-growth and unlock your fullest potential

The most beautiful and most unifying thing about life is that we are all on this earth with the same (but individually unique) purpose – to grow and become the best version of ourselves. But in this rat race of an age we live in, it’s easy to fall into the trap of thinking that “self-growth” means “career-growth”.

The truth is, your career doesn’t necessarily dictate how much you’ve grown as a person. Often, we find the most self-growth outside of work and school. I know I certainly have. I truly believe that if we reframe our minds to focus on our own self-growth over career-growth, the world would be a very different place.

These are my five favourite strategies for fueling my own self-growth, and trust me, none of them require meeting strict deadlines at work or finishing any school assignments!

Travel somewhere new – ideally for longer than a month

If you’ve ever travelled anywhere for an extended period of time, you’re no stranger to the serious amount of growth that comes with it. Travelling forces you to start from zero in a completely new environment – whether that’s a new city, province, or country. And with that comes a ton of life lessons.

When I moved to Scotland, every single day brought new opportunities to expand, develop, and just learn about myself in ways that I never would have if I stayed back home in Ontario.

We’re extremely fortunate to be living in an era where travel has become so accessible. Taking a gap year (let’s be honest – gap years) is becoming the norm among our generation.

But if travelling for an extended period of time just isn’t financially possible for you (trust me, I get it), short-term is your next best option. Go on a week-long Contiki trip to Brazil…or Greece…or Vietnam! The world – and an undiscovered part of yourself – awaits!


Get outside of your comfort zone (and stop being self-conscious about it!)

If you love belly dancing, but you’re way too nervous to sign up for classes, sign up for them anyway. The fear of having people judge you is holding you back from being your authentic self.

My life opened up in so many extraordinary ways when I finally realized that strangers do not care.

I guarantee that when you’re on the dancefloor shimmying your stuff, everyone else is too busy worrying about how they look to care at all about you!

There are so many daily practices you can do to get your comfort zone walls tumbling down.

Go to a bar alone. Go to the movies alone. Strike up a conversation with that cute Italian barista. Get lost in a new (and perhaps a bit eclectic) neighbourhood. Go to a palm reader. Send a message to that boyfriend who broke your heart in grade 10.

When you start doing things that push you outside of your comfort zone, over time you’ll get more comfortable with it. And once you’re comfortable feeling a bit uncomfortable, a world of possibilities opens up to you!

Re-awaken your inner child

Many of us who have passed the threshold from childhood to adulthood are in a constant state of mourning for our inner child.

We may not realize it consciously, but deep down we all yearn for a missing part of ourselves – the part that was more free, more creative, more imaginative, more playful, and more open to life.

As we age, we often lose touch with our inner child. This may manifest in a number of ways, including (but not limited to):

  • Having a pessimistic outlook on life; never really feeling excited about things
  • Conforming to what everyone else is doing even when you really don’t want to (a wardrobe full of grey and black when your favourite colours are pink and green)
  • Feeling overly anxious and self-conscious around people (“What are they saying about me? What do they think of me?”)
  • A paintbox full of untouched paints
  • A bookshelf full of unread books
  • A forgotten hobby
  • A forgotten passion
  • A forgotten backyard

If any of this sounds like you, don’t worry. You can re-awaken your inner child by doing a bit of mental time-travelling and getting back in touch with the things that made you light up when you were young.

And once you do, you’ll discover a beautiful, long-forgotten side of yourself you didn’t realize how much you were missing.

Journal every day

When it comes to self-growth, journaling is the equivalent to breathing.

Every morning when you wake up, write as many pages as you can of stream of consciousness style writing.

When we write without thinking too much about it, what we’re really doing is getting in contact with our higher self (our soul).

The magical thing about stream of consciousness journaling is that all you have to do is show up on the page and your soul will do the rest. It may sound a little bit cheesy, but before you mock it, try it.

I promise you that through the physical act of writing, insights will begin to bubble up inside of you and flood out onto the page – insights into what you’re truly thinking and feeling.

After a few months, it’s amazing to look back at older entries to see how much you’ve grown through the pages.

Listen, listen, listen – to everyone and everything

Make a deal with yourself. Instead of thinking “I already know this”, instead ask “what can I learn from this?”.

This simple way of reframing your mind can have a radical impact on your personal growth.

Once you approach the world with an open mind and an open ear, you’re opening yourself up to the possibility of learning something new every day and exposing yourself to new perspectives that may change the way you think about life.

Listening to podcasts and reading books are two of my favourite tools for learning something new, so I always have a book in my bag and a couple good podcasts downloaded on my phone.

Ted Talks are another fantastic resource for expanding yourself and exploring new ways of thinking.

But sometimes, even just talking to a stranger at a bar, or a party, or even a bus stop can expose you to eye-opening new perspectives.

Everyone has their own story to share, and we can all learn from a good story. Try treating everyone you meet like your guru and see what unexpected insights you discover.


I continue to use these five strategies to grow and expand myself each and every day. I hope that you too will benefit from them as much as I do!

I wish you good luck on your journey – remember I’m right there with you.

Natalie Burns-Holland

Natalie Burns-Holland

Content Creator at Mindaya

Natalie is a freelance writer living in Edinburgh, Scotland.