growing through it: reflections on my new book


GTI_Preorder_Launch

 

It's hard to believe it's been months since I've written a post! This year, for all of us, has been such a strange one. For some, it's been heartbreaking. For others, merely unusual. But, regardless of what's happened in your life, 2020 has been a year of change. Like it or not, 2020's smacked us all over the head with one of life's universal truths: things change and, as a result, we change. 

Change isn't my favorite thing. I love a good routine, a safe space, the comfort of the known. It's that love of sameness that prompted me to write my soon-to-be-released book, Grow Through It: Inspiration for Weathering Life's Seasons. When, like me, you're not a fan of change, you realize just how often it occurs, and that's what prompted me to pen these pages. Rather than resist life's inevitable changes, I wanted to learn to accept (and even embrace!) them. And that's just what I did while creating this book.

Traveling from Spring to Summer, through Autumn and Winter, Grow Through It explores the metaphorical highs and lows of each season. The book is arriving at what I believe is the perfect time for me -- and for all of us. It's been a year of tremendous transformation (even if, like me, your daily life hasn't changed all that much!), and Grow Through It looks at the many ways we can learn and grow through life's changes. 

This year has been... a lot. But if there's one good thing to come from it, it's this book. I've written many books, but this one is just different. It's the most me in book form that I've ever created and I'm incredibly proud of it. Grow Through It is something special. Maybe it will only be special to me (feel free to pre-order a copy to see what you think!), but even if that's the case, I'm fine with that. To hold something in my hands that I worked so hard on and to feel like it really represents how I felt when creating it, how it felt to be moving through all four seasons as I drew and wrote and edited, is nothing short of magic. 

It's my hope that you, too, will feel the magic in this book, that this little tome of transformation will help you cope in some way with the chaos of 2020. The book is so different from what I've done before, which feels fitting in this different-than-ever-before year. It's different, yet it's somehow the most me

So, you know that feeling when you put on an outfit you know looks good but something feels off so then you put on another outfit that's just so "you" and you suddenly feel more relaxed and confident? That's how Grow Through It makes me feel. And it's how I hope you feel when you read it. I hope it reminds you that, amidst all of this change, you are still you. You will survive whatever you go through, and you will continue to grow and change even when it feels like growth is impossible.

This year has been a year of change, which means a year of growth. (Yes, I know the year's not over, but, as it's my birthday,  the end of August always feels like a new year and a fresh start!) Growth is hard. Growth is often messy and uncomfortable and challenging. But's it's always where the magic happens. And I hope that's what I've harnessed in Grow Through It -- the messiness and the magic of growth. 

2020's not over yet, and I know there's a lot of change to come, but it's up to us to make the most of whatever the coming seasons bring. I know I'll be flipping through the pages of Grow Through It for the next few months to remind myself of all the ways change is possible. I hate to toot my own horn, but this book really is something special. I hope you'll love it as much as I do, and I hope it'll help you in some small way as we make our way through the rest of the year. 

Learn more about Grow Through It: Inspiration for Weathering Life's Seasons here (with links to all of the booksellers you can order from, as well as details on how to get your exclusive 2021 Coloring Calendar!).

 


opening your mind : a workbook for self-discovery

Open Mind Cover  

Throughout the years of working on Positively Present, I've discovered that one of the most essential aspects of living a positive and present life is this: keeping an open mind. This sounds much easier than it is, so I created a digital workbook to explore what I believe are the necessary steps needed to truly view the world from an open-minded perspective. The workbook is thoughtfully divided into four key sections: 

  • Defining Open-Mindedness: the term "open-minded" is much more than a dictionary definition; this section explores what it truly means to be open-minded in practice

  • The Benefits of Open-Mindedness: there are many benefits to being open-minded (some less obvious than others!), and this section explores some of them in detail

  • The Challenges of Open-Mindedness: unfortunately, there are many challenges to keeping an open mind, so this section explores them (with advice on how to combat them)

  • Practicing Open-Mindedness: the final section looks at how open-mindedness can be applied in real work and provides actionable practice tips to encourage day-to-day open-minded thinking


The topic of open-mindedness is so important, but it's often discussed at high levels of academia using scientific and psychological terms that make it feel abstract and difficult to practice. In the workbook, I strive to break down the basics of what it means to live with an open-mind and explore how to practice the skill of open-mindedness in an accessible way. 

This 35-page workbook is by no means a full course on what it means to be open-minded, but it's a great place to start exploring what having an open-mind truly means. An open mind isn't something you just have; you have to actively work on it -- and this workbook aims to show you how. 

Open Mind Workbook ImageABOUT THE WORKBOOK

Opening Your Mind is a empowering workbook designed to teach, inspire, and increase open-mindedness. The digital, downloadable PDF is a starting point for anyone who longs to cultivate a more open mind, as well as a thought-provoking exploration for anyone who already identifies with open-minded thinking.

Through the workbook's four sections, you'll learn precisely what an open mind means, as well as the benefits and challenges of keeping an open mind. You'll also find innovative activities following each section that will inspire you to think outside the box and practice open-mindedness in real time. In addition to the workbook's four sections, in the download you'll find: 

  • 4 Mind-Opening Activities
  • The exclusive A.W.A.R.E. Method
  • Inspiring open-mindedness quotes
  • Recommendations for further reading and learning

If you've been struggling with opening your mind (or just want to reinforce your current open-mindedness), this workbook is exactly what you need. We are in the midst of a time of great change, and it's during such times that we need open-mindedness the most. Not only does it benefit the world to have more open-minded people, but, as you read through the Benefits section, you'll be shocked by how much your own life can be transformed simply by aiming for a more open mind. 

 

Open Mind Sample Pages

Open-mindedness is challenging -- much more than you might realize -- but it's also an amazing way to create a better life for yourself and others. After reading through this workbook and engaging with the exercises, you'll discover all the ways open-mindedness can improve your life. From creating stronger relationships to accessing more creativity to tackling stressful situations, open-mindedness is the key to making the most of what's happening to you, whatever the situation, wherever you are. If you're looking for more peace, acceptance, and meaning in your life, this workbook is for you. Click the box below to grab your copy and begin the amazing experience of opening your mind!
 

Click to Buy Opening Your Mind

 


9 Tips for Battling the Winter Blues

Positively Present - Winter Blues

 

As winter arrives, I'm taken back in my mind to last year... Last winter, I was really down and out at the start of 2019. I spent so much time in bed, engaging in unhealthy coping methods, and generally just feeling rotten about myself and my life. While I don't know for sure if this was general depression or Season Affective Disorder (S.A.D.) -- I should have sought professional help, but I didn't -- I do know that it was pretty terrible to feel that way. 

Though I feel very differently now than I did then (not gonna lie -- 2019 turned itself around and turned out to be one of the best years I've had in a long time!), when I think back on last winter, my mind starts racing and all I can think about is how to prevent myself from falling back into that darkness again this year. So, of course, I decided to do some research on S.A.D. and learn about how I could prevent it, or, if it happens to strike again this year, how I can cope with it. 

Even if you don't have S.A.D. or depression, you might find yourself facing the winter blues. With colder temps and darker, shorter days, it's not surprising that many people struggle during this season. You can't always avoid feeling sad (or S.A.D.) altogether, but here are some of the tips I've discovered that I think would really help if you're struggling. 

 

  1. GET A LIGHT BOX

    I've never tried one of these so I can't vouch for their effectiveness, but from what I've read, it sounds like they can really help people who are suffering with S.A.D. Apparently there are many different types (as well as something called a "dawn simulator" that's used to wake you up in the morning) so be sure to do your research and figure out which one would be best for you. 

  2. VENTURE OUTDOORS

    The lack of light and shorter days can make it tough to go outside (especially if, like me, you're not an outdoorsy type to begin with), but if you're feeling down, making the effort to spend time in the fresh air can really help. Even just a quick walk around the block can help! (Or get a pup so you're forced to take them out and get some outdoor time in every day!)

  3. TRY THERAPY (CBT)

    While I can't personally verify that Cognitive Behavioral Therapy works for S.A.D., I do know that it's worked for me in the past to deal with other mental health issues and it's the therapy type I saw recommended the most while looking up info on S.A.D. Seeking professional help is one of the best ways to find solutions for your specific needs, so I highly recommend it. 

  4. MAKE SOME ART

    Art therapy really does work, and I honestly don't know if I would have survived last winter without making art. I know art isn't everyone's thing, but if you're feeling down, give it a try. It doesn't have to be traditional art either -- try writing, pottery, drawing, painting, sewing. Anything creative that allows you to get in a flow for a bit can help. 

  5. CONSIDER MEDS

    To get through S.A.D. some people need the assistance of medication. If you're having a difficult time, talk to your doctor about what you're going through to see if there might be something that can work for you. (Whatever you do, don't attempt to self-medicate. It never works out and often makes things way worse than they were.)

  6. PRACTICE YOGA

    Yoga is another saving grace for me. I'm not particularly good at it and I generally do it for about 10-15 minutes every day, but even when I half-ass it and don't feel up for it, making the time to do it always makes me feel a bit better. (My favorite is Yoga with Adriene on YouTube but there are tons of yogis online!) Exercising also works wonders if yoga isn't your thing. 

  7. SEEK SUNLIGHT

    Open the blinds! Pull up the curtains! The lack of sunlight is one of the reasons for S.A.D. so the more of it you can allow into your home, the better. If you don't have a desk near a window, as your boss if there's somewhere else you can work temporarily to be near a sunny spot. Going outside isn't always an option, but take advantage of sunny days indoors by allowing the light in. 

  8. MAKE PLANS 

    When I'm feeling down, the last thing I want to do is be around people. But I've discovered that it's often what my mind needs when I'm sad. I don't enjoy going out in the cold, but I'm planning to make an effort to make lots of plans this winter so that I'm busy and socializing. It won't be easy, but I know it's helpful for me. 

  9. STICK TO A SCHEDULE

    With the lack of daylight, it's tempting to go to bed super early or sleep in (if you have the option), but I've read (and also believe) that sticking to a schedule is important for managing or preventing S.A.D. The body and mind love to be on schedules and it gives your life a sense of purpose that's important when you're feeling down. Your winter schedule can be different from your summer one, but just try to stick to it! 

 

Of course, there are many other options to explore and if you're really suffering during the winter, seeking professional help (whether in the form of therapy or from your doctor) is always a good idea. If you're feeling down (especially after the holiday season passes and it feels like a swift change in pace), know that you're not alone and that it's perfectly normal to experience down days in the winter. Try to remember that, even when it doesn't seem like it, the difficult darkness will pass. There will be a spring again (or something that makes it feel like spring to you). 

 

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