My BuJo version, or how I stay organized

A few weeks ago, I launched my planner, the LEAFY planner. I love this planner because it’s beautiful and includes all the organization tools that I need as well as mindfulness and well-being practices. However, before I made this planner, I used notebooks as my daily organizers.

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I loved using notebooks because it is creative and customizable to whatever you might need. I was inspired by bullet journaling, but I tried to keep things simple and manageable. Here are the basic parts I always included.

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1. Trackers: After deciding on my goals and priorities at the beginning of the year, I made some tracking grids that I used all year long. Those grids helped me stay accountable and on track.

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2. Weekly spreads: I used this on a day-to-day basis to keep track of appointments and things to do. At first, I used an hourly to-do list to help me stay productive while working from home. When I got the beat of this, I then switched to a daily to-do list which was more flexible.

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3. Creative space: I always made sure to keep some space to take notes, doodle, draft out posts or work on my projects. I liked having that room to be creative because it meant that I always could write down ideas or draw, even on the go.

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4. Interior pockets: I love adding pockets onto the interior flaps of the notebook’s cover to put some business cards or important papers. This made the notebook a lot more practical.

5. Tabs: I used tabs to have the current week’s spread easily accessible. This also meant that I didn’t have to flip through the entire notebook when I needed to take an appointment or something. It also meant that other people didn’t have a look through my creative notes but only my weekly spread, which I liked.

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I really hope this was helpful to you. I really enjoyed using a notebook as I was able to create my own system and make it really practical and relevant to my own needs. I strongly encourage you to try it out and to create your own system!

Book Review: The Little Book of Hygge

I had my eyes on this book for a while, and, so, when I saw The Little Book of Hygge, by Meik Wiking at my local bookstore, I just had to bring it home. Hygge was all the rage last year with our European neighbors. I have to say, the hygge craze is yet to catch in Canada, or at least where I live. Most people I talk to have no idea what hygge is. This is really too bad as it is such an amazing concept: cosying up and enjoying time with people you love… hum, yes, please!

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As I learned in the book, Hygge is a Danish word that can be roughly translated as comfort, warmth and togetherness. Hygge is also about contrast: a warm cup of tea and your favourite book vs. a raging snowstorm outside. Sounds familiar anyone? That’s because the Danish people have a rough climate just like we, Canadians, do! That’s why I think Hygge should be completely adopted by Canadians and other cold climate inhabitants.  I mean, I don’t need any excuses to stay in bed when the weather is miserable, but hygge brings this idea to a whole new level.

As you have gathered by now, I really enjoyed feeling backed up by an entire country in my cosying up. Seriously, a book that allows, supports and encourages staying warm and comfortable? Yasss, please! But, if you are not completely sold on the idea of a warm blanket with your favourite movie playing, well the book has a lot more to offer than cosy-up ideas.

The book itself is beautiful. The editing on this is great: beautiful paper, inspiring pictures and easy to read chapters. Plus, it’s the perfect size to read in bed: it’s not too big, not too small, just perfect! The author’s voice is also very friendly and relatable. While reading this book, I had the feeling of exchanging with a friend. I loved the personal anecdotes that make Hygge so much more understandable and the read enjoyable.

The content of the book is also very practical and really makes Hygge accessible now. With a clear emphasis on experiences and simple changes in your house, this book is perfect if you are into the minimalist wave and don’t feel like buying a whole lot of new things to get a Hygge vibe. It includes everything from activity ideas, to crafts and recipes. Yum!

I also really enjoyed being plunged into the Danish culture. Growing up I have always been fascinated by Scandinavia, and when I recently learned that I had Danish and Norwegian ancestry (DNA test, anyone?), it just felt natural to want to learn more about these cultures. The book is filled with anecdotes illustrating the Danish culture and way of living. It’s the perfect preamble to a trip to Copenhagen (totally on my bucket list, btw).

Finally, with world seeming to be completely out of control these days, this book was the perfect relaxing read before going to bed. I really enjoyed reading it every night, and really felt sad to finish it. Luckily, Sweden has Fika and Lagom, and Denmark also has Lykke, so there are other words to explore and adopt. Wishing you a very Hyggelig rest of the week!

 

Going sugar-free for 2 months

Last fall, I tried going sugar-free for 2 months. I had difficulties with my digestion, hormones and sleep. I decided to go on a sugar detox for 2 months to see if it could help me balance out whatever was going on on the inside. So for 2 months, I cut out refined sugars, dates, syrups and even fruits from my diet. This is what I learned from this experience.

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1. Withdrawal is a pain. I know some doctors say that sugar cannot be considered a drug, but the withdrawal was something: headaches, intense cravings and major crabbiness. This lasted for about 10 days for me. Seriously, all I could think of was chocolate for 10 straight days.

2. Vanilla powder and almond butter rock. Vanilla bean powder is your ally! Because we are so used to adding vanilla to sweet treats, adding vanilla to unsweetened beverages and yoghurt tricks your brain into thinking you are eating something sweet. This seriously helped me so much! Almond butter is also a great snack because it is slightly sweet. Best snack: rice cracker with some almond butter and a sprinkle of vanilla powder and cinnamon. Yum!

3. Veggies are the best! Removing fruits from my diet was super hard because they were a big part of it. I compensated by adding a lot more vegetables. I realized that I was actually not hitting my vegetable requirements because I was eating so much fruit.

4. Not all veggies are equal. Because I ate more veggies, I stumbled upon combinations that didn’t really work out. I realized that combining high in sugar vegetables like butternut squash and corn had the same effect as eating sugary desserts. Instead, I tried to focus on dark leafy greens and low in sugar vegetables like broccoli and cucumbers.

5. Craving veggies is a thing. After about 3 weeks on this detox, I started craving vegetables. Not chocolate, but broccoli. I know, right?

6. Fermented foods rock! In an effort to help my microbiome get healthier and to help my digestion, I started including a lot more fermented foods in my diet. I tried to have about 1 to 2 tablespoons of kimchi or sauerkraut to my meals. This added a lot of flavours and really helped me avoid the after lunch down I usually got after eating.

7. Legumes and beans are great! And so much easier to digest! No bloating or any other unpleasantness.

8. Sugar is everywhere! It was difficult to avoid sugar as it is included in store-bought sauces, bread, and even in some brands of plain yoghurt. This cure really made me realize that sugar really is everywhere.

9. Falling asleep is so much easier. No more long hours waiting to fall asleep, I actually really felt tired when it was time to sleep. It also became a bit easier to wake up in the morning.

10. It was possible for me not to crave chocolate every single moment of the day. Seriously.

I hope this will help any of you who are considering reducing sugar. Let me know how it goes!

It’s resolution time again!

I know some people think resolutions are cheesy and not realistic, but, when the first of January is a Monday, you just have to go with the urge to organize and plan, right?

I enjoy taking resolutions because it’s a time to reflect on my priorities and realign my every day habits with my objectives. It can be a bit intimidating at first, but I try to stick to concrete objectives that can easily be broken down into smaller goals. For example, one of my goals last year was to have a more active lifestyle. All year long I tracked how many times I went to the gym and how many times we went for hikes or walks. It’s nice to see how I progressed and how much more active I am now after a year. I usually keep a monthly tracker in my planner where I can check things off every day. That way I get to think about my priorities every day which keeps me accountable and on track.

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If you are not sure where to start, may I suggest looking at my planner (I know, shameless!). I’ve included detailed sections to help you figure out your priorities and create meaningful goals. You’ll also have everything you need to track your habits monthly and weekly. Plus you get a beautiful planner. Plus you get to download it, so you can print out the sections as you go. Really, you should check it out 😉

One other thing that is fun to do at the beginning of the year is a bucket list. This year is the first time I’m doing this, but I’m looking forward to adding and checking out things as I go, year after year. It’s also fun to have a bucket list because you get to include experiences that are not linked to practice or that are not processes. Writing down your list can also help you see what recuring patterns caracterize your wishes and that can help you see what your priorities should be. For example, I realized that many items on my bucket list were travels. As a New Year’s resolution, I’ve therefore decided to open up a savings account for future travels, something I’ve wanted to do for a while but hadn’t gotten to do yet.

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I really hope you’ll take some time to reflect on what you have accomplished so far and what you want to do this new year. Good luck and enjoy the process!

Feeling overwhelmed? You’ve got your back!

In difficult times, it is easy to feel overwhelmed, resourceless and alone. There is nothing great about this! If this is where you are right now, remember that you have all the tools you need to feel great again. The trick is just to think of these again! Here is a quick list of things that you can do to feel good again.

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  1. Pamper yourself. Mix your favorite ingredients and make a face mask, take a bath, burn some incense while you read, prepare yourself a colorful salad, or wear your favorite socks. Take a few minutes to take care of yourself. Be selfish for a few moments and you’ll soon feel better!
  2. Do something you enjoy. When we’re feeling low, it’s easy to feel sluggish and unmotivated to do anything. In those moments, I try to push myself to do things I normally enjoy like painting, reading or baking. These simple joys usually make me feel content and take my mind off of what is bothering me.
  3. Sit. There’s nothing more powerful when you are feeling low to recenter yourself on the present moment. Sit down straight and take deep breaths. Observe these breaths and relax your body. After only a few breaths you should feel refreshed and more ready to face your feelings.
  4. Connect. With billions of people in the world, it is quite impossible that you are truly alone at any given moment. I often find that when I feel overwhelmed, writing or talking to friends and family cheers me up. Other times, it’s good to be in the company of strangers at a workshop or to go people watching at a coffee shop. Whatever you do, remind yourself that you are not alone!

I hope these tips help you out. If you are feeling low, I’m sending you happy thoughts! Try out these few tricks and you’ll soon feel like yourself again. The truth is, everyone feels low sometimes, and there’s nothing wrong with that. Take your time, take care of yourself, and things will go just fine.

If you want more tricks and support on building wellbeing habits, I’ve launched a Kickstarter campaign for a planner I’ve written, the Leafy Planner. Take a look!

Morning walks

So as I mentioned in a previous post, I want to take advantage of out new place to change my habits. With the internships I just finished, I really did not have the time or energy to go work out.

One of the things I really missed were morning walks. I started doing this during the March break: every morning during that week I walked for an hour, just strolling and looking around. It really made me feel great, grounded and refreshed. After the walks, I would be ready to work and focus better.

So, as we are in a really nice neighborhood now, I reconnected with that habit this morning and started to explore around. I have to admit, I was really happy with the scenery:

Beautiful Montreal this morning!

Beautiful Montreal this morning!

The sun and birds were out and with a swift 12C, it was the perfect temperature to walk out.

I had a lot of fun, and I feel like this is a habit I absolutely want to keep up!