The Monday Effect 

Happy Monday!

The past three weeks have been a whirlwind of new experiences, adventures, and living life as the summer draws to a close. I traveled to California; a place I had always dreamed of visiting. There, I got to sample new foods and drinks, surf, and go on a ferris wheel whose carts swayed back and forth at a high velocity. I also traveled to Mexico, where I zip lined, repelled down rocks, and climbed up rocks. I got to learn about Mexican history, and drink coconut water straight from the coconut. While I had done a few of these things before, never exactly like I did this time. 

While living these new experiences, there were times I was scared. In order to continue on, I had to push through my comfort zone. Although this was difficult to do, I made it through, feeling accomplished and with fond memories. 

“Life begins at the end of your comfort zone”

-Neale Donald Walsch

Although I had heard this quote before, it was not driven home as a lesson until now. If you only stay with what you know, how can you grow, and how can you learn about yourself?

If there’s something you want to do, do it. If it’s completely out of the ordinary for you, especially do it. You may fail, you may excel: you never know unless you try. Even if you do fail: you will have learned about yourself, learnt other valuable lessons, and possibly even introduced new people into your life, resulting in a worthwhile experience no matter what. We all experience everything for a reason, and although you may not know the reason right now, you will someday, and be eternally grateful. 

Climb the rocks and see the view. Even if you stumble, you’ll go for an incredible ride.

The Monday Effect

Happy Monday!

Last week, I focused much of my time organizing my belongings. I put things in their proper places, and introduced containers into my space to make my things more tidy and accessible. By doing so, I eliminated a large amount of clutter. Once I had completed organizing, I noticed a change within me: I felt calm, like I could fully breathe again. I felt happy and productive, and inspired to take on new challenges. The symptoms of my anxiety have drastically reduced in frequency and intensity. This makes sense to me, as the most prominent symptom of my anxiety is sensory overload. If there is a lot of noise, or just too many things happening at once, I become overwhelmed and it is impossible for me to think clearly. My breaths become laboured, and often I feel as though I am burning from the inside. By decluttering my space and installing order, my mind has less to register and deal with, allowing me to feel calmer. I discovered a quote which hit home for me:

“Anxiety is caused by a lack of control, organization, preparation, and action.”

-David Kekich

Reflecting on my past experience, if I create a plan of what I will do when, I am not anxious, because I can clearly see that I will be able to do what I need to in a timely fashion. However, if I fail to plan and am scrambling to accomplish things, I am anxious because I have to make sure I don’t forget about anything, and I have to make sure that I have enough time to do what is needed. Should anything not go according to plan, I become even more anxious, as I do not have a plan for when it can be completed.

Additionally, not planning my activities makes me much more susceptible to burnout, since I needed to use much more energy to think fast. When my body is under that much stress, I become depressed, which further inhibits my ability to be productive. Then, because I am not accomplishing tasks, I become anxious, and the result is a vicious cycle.

Even if you do not have an anxiety disorder, feeling anxious and stressed is not a good feeling, and it will only hurt you later on. Take 10 minutes every evening to jot down what needs to be accomplished in the near future. Then, select the tasks that are most important and what you can realistically complete the next day, and create a schedule of your day. Finally, get a good nights sleep, and conquer your day with a clear head and specific objectives. Rinse and repeat. Also, note what worked well for you and what did not, so that each days plan is better than the previous. 

Perhaps in your daily plan you can set aside time to clean up your home. Eliminate as much clutter as possible, and make your items easy to find. That way, your day can go even more efficiently, and your space will not be chaotic to look at: instead, it will be pleasant to enjoy. An article that further discusses this topic can be found here.

Make your life like a tree in fall: vibrant, beautiful, full, and tall. Make it strong by fuelling it with organization, and no obstacle can cut you down.

The Monday Effect 

Happy Monday!

Last week was my boyfriends birthday. He allowed me to surprise him with a day of doing whatever I wished to plan, and he would attend. 

When I am given an opportunity to create without bounds, my mind goes wild. I think of many ideas, often times elaborate ones. The end result is something very extravagant, and it gives me immense joy to watch my creation unfold. 

My idea for the celebration involved a day of several activities all around my region. Since the day would be filled with travel, I decided to decorate the vehicle we would be taking. The night before my boyfriends birthday, my best friend and I got to work decorating, and in the process his mother came by and saw what we were up to. It was clear she felt that what we were doing was odd. Anyone I told my plan to expressed that they felt it was lavish and wondered how I would come up with another celebration of equal magnitude next year. Although I know no one was intending to be rude in their remarks, it made me realize something that I feel strongly about:

“Don’t ever save anything for a special occasion. Being alive is the special occasion.”

-Unknown 

Although dreary to consider, what if next year I don’t have the ability to create a wonderful celebration for my boyfriend? Perhaps one of us will pass, or I may not have the funds to have an elaborate celebration. I do not know what the future will hold, therefore I should do what I can while I have the opportunity to. Even though my plans this year sparked opinions that were not fully supportive, I did not let them stop me. Why would I risk missing out on the experience, and it not being available next year? A wise person once said “it is better to die with memories, not dreams”, and I completely agree.
A possible rebuttal to my view is that you cannot always live every day like it’s your last, because then you will not have anything should you live another day. I understand this view, and feel it’s important to strike a balance of both living for today, but also preparing for tomorrow. Perhaps you live everyday to the maximum, but also make sure to save a percentage of your money for the future. However works for you is the best method, because you will be more likely to continue it. 

Enjoy the greenery surrounding you, just don’t stop moving forward. 

The Monday Effect 

Happy Monday!

As you may have noticed, I did not contribute to my “The Monday Effect” series last Monday. This is because I was not in a positive mental space, and needed to focus on resting. Additionally, I did not have a message that I felt needed to be stated, so were I to try and write a post, it would not be quality material. 

However, I believe everything happens for a reason, and the events of last week taught me a lesson that I wish to share today: the importance of self care, and I’ll also touch on inspiration. 

As a person who is still on the road to controlling their mental illness, it is important for me to discover exactly what limitations my illness puts on me, and to accept them. Eventually I will work on overcoming these limits (I already am working on overcoming small limits), but I must tackle this one step at a time. I need to accept that my illness makes me feel very powerful, frightening emotions, and that there will be days when it’s best to not fight it and allow myself to relax. All my life I have been at war with myself, and only now am I beginning to change that mindset. I’m learning to accept that I can’t do everything at once, and that I can’t always excel at something the first time I try it. 

Last week, I had days where I was in a lot of pain. I would have stomach aches and feel as though I burned from the inside. I would feel as though everything was surreal, and that I needed to cry nonstop. I could have held these emotions in and just continued about my day, suppressing them further and further into me. But I chose not to. Instead, I did what I could, but allowed myself to have lots of breaks that I knew my body needed. I let myself cry and breakdown, and I noticed I felt much better after. I talked to people about what I was feeling, and took their suggestions to improve my mood. I made myself happy, like browsing in my favourite store, spending a day with my boyfriend, and watching funny videos online. I also got out and exercised. All of these things are what helped me get through the week. I was, and still am, in a hard situation that I will be in for awhile to come. I know I need to fight back, and I certainly will. However, on my journey to winning the war I’m fighting, I need to take my time and take care of myself. I need to accept that I am in this situation, and so I can’t live as though I’m not. If I need to rest, I will rest. If I need to cry, I will cry. 

“We can’t just choose to be happy, but we can choose to be kind to ourselves when we’re sad. Pain passes more quickly when we don’t berate ourselves for feeling it.”

-Lori Deschene

I love the above quote. It inspires me to keep on track with how I want to treat myself, even when my mind is telling me otherwise.

I feel that inspiration is incredibly important, no matter what you are trying to achieve. Perhaps you wish to be more organized, but you never remember to write in your planner. A solution would be to make writing in your planner a positive experience. For me, I do this by identifying the fact that when I plan things out, I feel much calmer. That way, if I ever don’t want to write in my planner, I remind myself that I will feel better when I do. Also, I make sure to buy myself stationary that I find visually pleasing, so that I will want to use it. This inspires me to plan everything I need to, and ultimately allows me to reach my goal of being organized. 

Whatever you are trying to achieve, be kind  to yourself along the way. Remember that everyone is different, so don’t be ashamed in doing what you need to in order to reach your goal. Take one step at a time, and reward yourself for putting in the effort. Look for people who have conquered what you hope to, and learn from them. Remind yourself why you began your journey, so when times get rough, you can keep going. Give yourself the sun emerging through the clouds, and you’ll bloom. 

The Monday Effect 

Happy Monday!

I couldn’t pick just one quote to feature this week, so here they are. I feel they go hand in hand:
“Forget all the reasons it won’t work and believe the one reason that it will”

-Unknown 

“Life’s not about expecting, hoping, and wishing, it’s about doing, being, and becoming”

-Mike Dooley

Everyone has goals and dreams of who they want to be and what they want their life to look like. However, sometimes the road to achieving these goals is a dark, winding road, and it can be very difficult to persevere. Last week taught me a lesson about believing in myself, and how I need to just try.

Last week, I had my road test which would allow me to drive on my own. I was very late in the game (compared to others my age) to take this test, and seeing everyone around me have this freedom made me crave it immensely. What made me wait this long? Fear. Anyone who had tried to teach me how to drive was very impatient, and this did not work with my anxiety at all. I grew to become very anxious at the thought of driving, and resented it. Thankfully, I was able to get an instructor who was extremely pleasant and patient with me. She would correct me in a kind, calm way, as opposed to the yelling I was used to. After a month of lessons with her, it was time to test my skills. I had learned a lot from her, and had become a good driver. But still, all my past failures at driving and my nerves made me wonder: could I ever pass this test? Although I was nervous, I realized that I wouldn’t pass if I convinced myself I couldn’t do it. I needed to acknowledge that I practiced a lot, and that yes, I might fail. But I could also pass. It’s been done countless times before: why couldn’t I do it? So last week, I drove that car and gave the test my all. Every turn and lane change I made, I reminded myself that I could do it. I needed to focus on my skills and apply them. In the end, I passed, and got my license. I believed it could happen, and went out and did it.

In that moment, I realized that this can apply to anything I want in life. I know I want to be a strong, independent woman who values herself. I want to be the woman who makes a difference, who has passions and hobbies she loves, who goes on adventures and lives life because she knows today might be her last. There are endless ways this could fail. But why couldn’t it become a reality? I’m determined to make the life I want for myself. That’s my reason why it will work.

I’m forcing myself to try new things, like running through bubbles or going down a 1000 ft slip and slide. I’m taking care of myself by having a daily routine, eating well, and exercising. I’m working hard to afford what I want, like flowers to brighten up my living space or scrapbooking materials so I can be creative while preserving memories. 

Whatever you want your life to look like, you can achieve it. Identify what you want, and then think of how to get there. Write it down. Then, you need to tell yourself that you’re smart enough and determined enough to get it. Lastly, take the plunge and do it. Like they say, if you believe you can then you’re already halfway there. If you want to be a runner, grab your shoes and just run. If you want to be apart of a community, join a local organization that supports a cause you support too. It will be scary and difficult, but it will be worth it. Have faith in your abilities. No need to rush, take it step by step. Find your tree, and start climbing to the top of your world. 

The Monday Effect

Happy Monday!

“When something bad happens you have three choices. You can let it define you, let it destroy you, or you can let it strengthen you”

-Unknown 

I’ve always enjoyed the above quote, but this past week it truly struck a cord with me. 

Last week was hard, no doubt about it. I worked 5 days that had me up at 5am or home at 3am, with only one day off in between. Combining that with training for my run, maintaining my side projects, and dealing with my mental illness (today’s post is not the post where I will go into detail about this, but in sum, I suffer from severe anxiety and depression and have a very difficult time controlling it), it took everything I had to keep going. 

It all came into perspective while running my race. It was a miserable early morning and I was still tired from the days prior. I could have just quit and slept longer. But I showed up. 

While running, my lungs felt like they were on fire and my body cramped like it never had before. I could have stopped and cut myself slack on the grounds that I had been through a lot the past while. But I kept running, and I finished that 5k in good time. 

My point is that I could have let these unfortunate circumstances; the early mornings, late nights, rain, cramps, mental breakdowns, etc. destroy me. I could have let my situation define me, and ran away from it all. I could have quit all I was doing and resorted to lying in my bed. But I didn’t. It was hard, but I held on. And now that I’ve made it to the other side, I can look back and see my strength, what I’m truly capable of. That has allowed me to see that I love running: I just need to keep at it so that I become better and better. I’ve realized that I can work ridiculous hours day after day, and that I should be grateful that I have work and can afford to give myself the things, experiences, and opportunities that I want. I’ve realized that I can make the life I want for myself, because I’m stronger than I was before, and will continue to gain strength by holding on and just keep going through the hard times. 

I encourage you to remember my beginning quote when you are going through a difficult time: it has certainly helped me. Remind yourself why you’re doing what you’re doing, and look forward to what awaits when you get to the other side. But also, don’t forget to relish in your journey to the other side. It is the journey that will strengthen you, that will teach you lessons you’ll remember forever. Don’t waste your week away looking forward to the weekend, or your month away while looking forward to payday. Take note of when you struggle, and celebrate when you can push through, even by a small amount. Maybe you were able to do one more push-up than you were last week, or maybe you stayed an hour past your shift even though you didn’t want to. Progress is progress, and every step gets you closer to where you want to be. Push through the rocks, and keep growing: you’ll make it and flourish.

The Monday Effect + an Exciting Announcement 

Happy Monday!

As mentioned last time, this past week I focused on relaxing and clearing my mind for this busy week ahead. While doing so, I was rewarded with a pleasant surprise and learned a useful lesson:

“If you believe it will work out, you’ll see opportunities. If you believe it won’t, you will see obstacles.”

-Wayne Dyer

I have always believed that things work out in the end, but never considered it from this angle. 

You see, I had been yearning to use my creativity, both in a work environment and for a personal project. Unfortunately, my work did not require much creativity lately, and I wasn’t inspired for a personal project. Additionally, I was concerned about how I would afford my expenses when I start school again, as my current work will end in August and not resume until December. Thanks to this past week, I now see new opportunity, and no longer perceive this as an issue.

While relaxing, I watched a YouTube video where a website called Society6 was mentioned. Society6 is a website where artists from around the world can upload their work, and Society6 will create a variety of products, such as tapestries, mugs, and tote bags, with the work. Whenever an artists product is ordered, they receive a commission from the sale. 

I was inspired. I have a large collection of nature photos that I have taken but just not had an application for. Plus, since I have gotten into running, I have seen some beautiful sights; so splendid I couldn’t resist taking a photo. With that, I created an online store with Society6, entitled Priroda. The word priroda means nature in Croatian, so it ties together the photography I love and my heritage. I will be uploading regularly, so feel free to have a look if you’re curious to see more of my photography work than what I use on this site.

I also visited a local antique shop with my family, which is owned and run by an elderly gentleman. We struck up conversation, and after I mentioned what I am studying, he asked me if I would be interested in helping him with technology. I then informed him of my photography and graphic design skills, and in the end I received part time work assisting with his promotion of the store.

To top it off, I was having a conversation with my boss, and he mentioned how there is a demand for custom intro videos for the Magic Mirror (a photo booth like concept that we use, you can check it out on Facebook @MagicMirrorEvents). I already make these for the company I work for, but other owners of the Magic Mirror lack a graphic designer. Realizing this requires a skill I have, and would help fill the creative void I have, I took it on. Due to these three new opportunities, I am now confident that I can afford my expenses come September. 

And in case you’re curious: I found a personal creative project to do as well. I’ll be sure to include pictures once it is complete. The idea came through allowing my mind to wander and seeing opportunity. I’ll keep it under wraps for now though. 

You never know what life will give you. But whether it is good or bad all depends on how you look at it. Try to find positive opportunities, no matter how small, in even the darkest times, and you’ll get through. Find your rainbow in the storm clouds.

The Monday Effect

Happy Monday! 

The past week has been extremely busy. Between work, training, and working on my venture, I’ve had almost no time to unwind. 

As this week has a much calmer forecast, and knowing that next week will be another hectic workweek, I’ve realized the importance of relaxation. Not only does it aid in releasing the stress and recovering from what has already passed, but it also assists in preparing you to be your best for what is to come. This lesson has been difficult for me to learn, as I am a type A person, and feel I should always be working. However, I’m teaching myself that this is unhealthy and unrealistic. The quote I use to remind myself to relax is as follows:

“Your calm mind is the ultimate weapon against your challenges. So relax.”

-Bryant McGill

If you go into your challenge tense and stressed, how could you possibly perform your best? Then when you don’t perform your best, you become stressed, and a vicious cycle is created.

One of my favourite ways to relax is to breathe deeply and take time to admire beautiful scenery. This photo was taken on  a hike (which was stress relieving in itself):


As I breathe slowly, I focus on the pure blue water complimenting the many hues of green. The deep brown trunks and sandy coloured rocks add contrast. Combined, they form a beautiful sight. 

However you choose to, stay calm, and you can do anything.

The Monday Effect 

Happy Monday!

It’s common to dread Monday: we’d all like our weekend of fun to never end. 

Understandable, but why begin your week, a whole new seven days of opportunity, on a negative note?

I’ve decided to post every Monday with a discussion about a way to view a particular concept in a different light. These discussions will be fuelled by experiences I’ve recently had and what I’ve learned along the way.

This week, I’ll be discussing perseverance. Over the years I have gradually become more athletic, but still have a fairly weak cardio endurance.

Recently, I decided I would try something I’ve wanted to attempt for quite awhile: running a race. 

I selected a local 5k, signed up, and then it was time to begin training. A good friend of mine decided he would join me in this endeavour, as he is in a similar position as me with regards to athleticism. 

As of now, we have met three times to go running. We do 30 minutes of intervals of walking and running, and then we run until our endurance stops us. The first time, we could only run for .06 km. Then, it was 1.2 km, and most recently, 1.3 km. 

At first, I was discouraged that our latest run was only slightly better than the previous. However, this quote sums up how I have decided to view it now:

“Don’t judge each day by the harvest you reap but by the seeds you plant”

-Robert Stevenson 

Instead of feeling down and possibly even quitting, I’ve realized that while perhaps I didn’t make as much progress as I had hoped to, at least I tried. I also see that I did make progress, which is still progress. By going out and trying, I’m planting the seeds to achieve my goal in the end. Every seed counts.