Hannah Drake

Twenty Nine

LifeHannah Drake2 Comments

I turned 29 yesterday, yet somehow I’ve been thinking I’m nearly 30 for the last few months. I don’t know why in a society that prioritises youth above almost all else, I’m so excited to turn 30 and I’m relatively bored with my late 20’s. Of course I’m not saying 30 is old, but there’s no arguing there’s a sort of youthful allure to still being a twenty-something.

I feel like the last year of my life is almost split exactly in half with two different chapters. The first part of my year was dark. I finally realised that I have anxiety and it was exacerbated by the 2018 mid-term elections in the States and a feeling of helplessness being so far away and in a foreign country. The second part of the year feels lighter and I credit much of that to the fact that I took some big steps to take care of myself. This spring, I went to counselling once a week. And over the last few months, I’ve been more proactive in taking care of myself and giving myself some sort of structure to work within.

In terms of “where I’m at in life”, from the outside, things look a lot like they did a year ago. I’m at the same job I was at last year. We live in the same house as we did last year. We still don’t have any pets. Things are changing though. And soon! Over the last year, we didn’t exactly explore as much as I hoped we would, but we visited Italy for two weeks and I’ve been back to the States twice. On the inside, however, I have noticed big changes in my heart, in my mind, and in my soul. I absolutely want to take the foundation that I already have and continue to build upon it, by focusing on nine intentions for my next year of life.

PRACTICE MINDFUL CONSUMERISM

Ethical and sustainable. They’re total buzzwords right now, but they have been on my mind quite a bit over the last few months. I’ve tried to trade in my jaunts to H&M for more mindful consumerism, but it’s not an easy process and it’s difficult to overhaul overnight. It’s important to me to support businesses who understand the impact they can have on the world and choose to use it for the betterment of our environment and the communities where they operate. I’m really drawn to companies that offer transparency in their practices and understand that things need to change in terms of environmentalism and how employees—particularly labourers—are treated. And I don’t just mean for things like clothes. I want to practice mindful consumerism throughout all types of my consumerism and really focus on supporting companies who are committed to building a brighter future.

SPEAK UP MORE

I don’t suppose I ever heard any direct messages telling me that my voice wasn’t welcome or that I shouldn’t speak up about things that bother me or make me uncomfortable. But as a woman in this world, there have certainly been a few indirect messages along the way. I’m really trying to step out of my comfort zone and speak up for myself and others. I believe it’s important to call out inappropriate behaviour or comments and I believe it’s important that everyone feels safe and comfortable in their environment, especially at work, which is probably the only place in our adult lives where we don’t get to choose who is around us, and yet is where most of us spend the majority of our waking hours.

TURN “I’M SORRY” INTO “THANK YOU”

When applicable, of course. I’ve noticed, ever since moving to England that I tend to say “sorry” exponentially more often than I did living in the States. I don’t mean just trading in a polite British “sorry?” for the abrasive American “what?!” I mean like I apologise to someone who holds the door for me. What the what?! The best example of this exercise is instead of apologising for being late, thank the person for their patience. It’s a very mindful exercise and I suspect I’ll often end up kicking myself after the fact, since “sorry” seems to just fall out of my mouth these days, but I’m committed to the habit change.

BE CREATIVE EVERY DAY

Last year I wanted to focus on photography every day (and I didn’t), but this year I want to expand that to be more inclusive of my creative desires. There are so many things that interest me, like watercolours, calligraphy, photography, baking, blogging, etc. and I want to do at least something every day. I really wish that I hadn’t convinced my mom to let me quit piano and dance because it would be great to have those skills and that creative outlet now, all these years later. But 10 or 20 years from now, I don’t want to wish that I had been better about practising my creative endeavours so I would be better then.

FOCUS ON PRESENCE

This one is ripped right from the headlines of 28. I’m repurposing it from last year, even though I’ve noticed a tremendous amount of progress. I feel that I do spend less time on Instagram and Facebook, especially the former, but some of that time has been replaced with Twitter. This year, I’d really like to focus more on setting boundaries for myself around my phone. I’ve moved my social media apps off my “home page” and it’s made a huge difference, but I’d like to be better about putting my phone completely away, like at dinner or after a certain time in the evenings. I want to be better about having dinner at our table instead of on our couch. I’d like to make our weekly date nights phone-free evenings (and actually stick to it).

CREATE BOUNDARIES FOR THE NEWS

Speaking of Twitter, I definitely spend too much time reading about politics and the news. I’d say about 75% of my Twitter feed is about politics or current events, though in recent weeks I’ve had more of a push to expand who I follow to include other interests (and to some extent, other points of view). But I’m also subscribed to two daily newsletters (The Skimm and What a Day from Crooked Media), listen to a handful of politics podcasts (Pod Save America, the NPR Politics Podcast, The Skimm), and Luke and I watch Stephen Colbert in the evenings. I’ve all but given up on John Oliver because his show dives too deep on smaller stories that it just adds more anxiety to my already anxious plate. I need to be better about taking a step back. If I need a break, that doesn’t mean when I come back I need to binge all the podcasts I let pile up in my library while I was away. I need to be better about not jumping on Twitter first thing in the morning or scrolling through it in bed in the evenings. I want to stay informed with what’s happening in the world and in my country—or countries, rather. But I don’t need to do that to the detriment of my mental health.

PRIORITISE GOOD SLEEP HABITS

I’ve had some really terrible sleep habits for a near decade now. I’ve mentioned before my habit of falling asleep to the same handful of sitcoms on Netflix and it’s simply not good for me. Even with the brightness all the way down, the noise still wakes me up later in the night sometimes. And I’m fairly certain it’s destroying my antique of a MacBook. (Meaning it’s from 2012/2013.) I’ve been working on my bedtime routine for a while now and most of the changes I’ve implemented have had a really positive impact. I like that Luke and I have a “bedtime” that works for us since we wake up so early for work. But I also want to be better about not using my phone in bed, about waking up at a more uniform time even on my days off, and definitely avoiding TV in bed. I absolutely want to be one of those people who reads in bed every night and, but I’m not going to get there unless I just start reading in bed in the evenings.

SPEND AN HOUR A WEEK ON PERSONAL GROWTH

I mentioned above that I went to therapy once a week earlier this year. At the end of our time together, my counsellor encouraged me to continue to spend that time each week on myself, doing something that made me feel happy or encouraged me to grow. I’ve truly been shit at it, as I haven’t done it once, but this year I really want to prioritise that. I’m not sure what it will look like, but it could be things like taking a course, reading a “self help” book, moving my body, spending time with God, or maybe some of that creative time I mentioned.

CHERISH WHAT I HAVE

Is it a Freudian slip that I actually typed “embrace what I hate” first? Whoops! What I actually mean is that I’ve become quite restless with our house in recent months. We didn’t initially intend to stay in this rental for two years. We were overly optimistic that we would buy a house in 2018. But as we get closer to owning a house, I’ve started to resent a house I once loved. I want to make things the way we want them, but you’re so limited in that in a rental. I’m really excited to own a house, but if I don’t start appreciating what we have already, that’s not going to feel that great either. It’s going to be a long process transforming our home into exactly what we want. It’s not like we have unlimited funds for new furniture or renovations. I want to build into my daily routine a way to actively appreciate what we physically own, where we live, and the life we’ve built together over the last two years.

The Best of July 2019

LifeHannah DrakeComment

Let’s get after it with eight of my favourite things from the last month! I love the opportunity to reflect back on the last four weeks in regards to what I’m blogging, what I’m buying, what I’m reading, what I’m listening to, and more. But I’ve also found that it makes me more mindful of what’s bringing me joy as I go through the month.

The 10 Most Used Items from Our Wedding Registry + 4 Tips on Creating a Registry When You Already Live Together

What a pleasant surprise that the most popular post this month was also my favourite! I’m probably unhealthily obsessed with kitchen stuff, so I really enjoyed sitting down to consider what actually were the 10 most used items over the last year. (That’s separate, of course, from some of our favourites.)

Lion Recovery Fund

Disney partnered with Lion Recovery Fund ahead of the premiere of The Lion King. It was “[c]reated by the Wildlife Conservation Network in partnership with the Leonardo DiCaprio Foundation, the Lion Recovery Fund funds game-changing conservation actions by the most effective, vetted partners who work collaboratively to bring lions back. Through strategic investments and collaboration with other public and private donors, the Lion Recovery Fund aspires to double the number of lions in Africa, regaining those lions lost over the past 25 years. We are committed to seeing thriving savannah landscapes where Africa’s people, its economic development and its lions all co-exist.”

Harry Potter and the Philosopher's Stone Illustrated Edition

I took a stroll down memory lane this month and started re-reading Harry Potter. I used to read the whole series (or whatever had been released) every summer as a kid so it seriously takes me back. As a proud member of the Harry Potter generation, I’ve been collecting the illustrated versions as they come out and I’m so excited that Goblet of Fire comes out in October! I bought Sorcerer’s Stone and Chamber of Secrets in the States but Prisoner of Azkaban in the UK and I’m slightly annoyed the covers and bindings are formatted differently (not to mention the title change for the first book). One of these days I’ll replace the first two so my whole set is uniform. The whole series just brings me so much joy, but I’ve always been especially fond of the time Harry spends in London at the beginning of the third book, eating ice cream and doing his homework in Diagon Alley.

Aziz Ansari Right Now

Aziz has long been one of my favourite comedians. I’ve seen his previous Netflix specials and both seasons of Master of None and was intrigued to hear about a new comedy special after he all but disappeared over the last year when an anonymous woman accused him of inappropriate behaviour on a date. Luke and I watched the special one night and I was pleasantly surprised. A lot of his comedy has been based around his dating life in the past, but this one was extremely heavy on the current political and cultural climate in the States. He addresses his scandal at the beginning of the series and again at the end. He has thoughtful and poignant jokes about race and the #MeToo movement and how we as a society are dealing with it. There was even one bit that made me laugh so hard I cried. It’s definitely worth a watch, especially if you have been an Aziz fan in the past or consider yourself particularly “woke”.

Buzzfeed

I don’t really read self-help books. I don’t have anything against them, they just don’t really make me enthusiastic about reading. But I really enjoyed this Buzzfeed article that included the best tips from various self-help books according to the Buzzfeed community. It almost makes me want to read some of these books!

Twenty Eight

My birthday is tomorrow so I’ve been reflecting back on the intentions I set for myself last year. Some of them, I did quite well with. Others, I didn’t move the needle much. Still, I can see progress from last year to this year in a lot of these areas and I suppose that’s something to be proud of.

Southwest Salad from How Sweet Eats

We’re going pretty strong in our quest to eat vegetarian or pescatarian at home at least four days a week. The best part is that it’s pushed us to find new recipes. I must have pinned this salad from How Sweet Eats ages ago, but I stumbled upon it last month when looking for new salad ideas. It has been a hit. We had it twice in as many weeks and it’s so simple to throw together, even though it involves a ton of chopping. Both times we’ve made it, we’ve actually left off the salmon. It’s been great because it’s a huge salad and incredibly filling anyway. We learned the hard way that we just need to divide it out into four portions from the outset because we definitely cannot finish half each of what it makes.

Headspace Sleepcasts

For years, I’ve had a terrible habit of watching Netflix to fall asleep. I’ll get into bed, open up my laptop, turn on a sitcom I’ve seen a thousand times, turn the brightness and volume right down and then “watch” until I fall asleep. Sometimes the show will wake me up later in the night and I’m 100% convinced it’s ruining my laptop. But this last month I discovered Sleepcasts on Headspace. Luke and I have successfully used the sleep meditation during stretches of good habits, but these are different. There’s an ambience. There’s an exercise. There’s a story. They’re about 45 minutes long, which is better for me as I only fall asleep during the 10 minute sleep meditation about 50% of the time. I've been using the Rainday Antiques and Snowville sleepcasts and they’re making a huge difference. (Rainday Antiques always reminds me of Toy Story 4, except not creepy.)

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Self Care Is... Knowing Your Love Languages

Self CareHannah DrakeComment

In the last year or so, I’ve been trying to focus on self care and what it looks like in my life. I’ve decided to start a new (semi) regular blog series called Self Care Is, but I’m not entirely sure what it’s going to look like yet. Self care means a lot of different things to a lot of different people, many of whom know a whole hell of a lot more about it than I do. But I view it as a journey and since I’m inclined to share my life in this space, I figured I’d invite you along in the journey as well.

A few months ago, my sister asked me “What’s your self care love language?” I told her that my love language is Words of Affirmation, but she explained that my self care love language might be different. Then she sent me this, from Blessing Manifesting:

After looking at the examples, I decided my self care love languages are Acts of Service and Receiving Gifts.

I feel that it’s important to understand both of your love languages: the love you want from others and the love you give yourself, especially if they’re different. But it’s also important to understand your partner’s love language if you’re in a relationship. We’re inclined to give love the way we want to receive it and their love language may be different from ours.

I also believe that throughout different phases of our lives, our love languages might shift. For instance, before I lived with Luke, Acts of Service was probably my fifth ranked love language, but now it’s probably my second. When Luke does things around the house, especially if they’re chores I’m typically responsible for, I definitely feel loved and cared for. I feel like we’re building a home together that we both value and I feel like my time is honoured in taking something off my to do list. I guess that’s just #adulting for ya, though.

You can take the love language quiz here.

If you’ve never considered your self care love language, I encourage you to take a moment to think about it. Are you a #treatyoself type or all about changing your inner dialogue with positive self-talk? Do you have a handful of solo hobbies or are you all about your therapy sessions? When I look at the diagram, I can definitely relate to something in every box. I love soft blankets and massages! I love scheduling/planning and I’m a big believer in therapy! I’m all about treating myself! I’m trying to meditate daily and I absolutely love going to the movies by myself! I’ve journaled for as long as I can remember! But I definitely relate to Acts of Service and Receiving Gifts the most.

Since discovering my self care love language, I’ve been able to better meet my own needs. I’ve been able to create time doing exactly what I know will leave me feeling refreshed and relaxed. It’s been a total game changer, just like discovering my relational love language was so many years ago.

What does self care look like to you? Let me know in the comments and remember there is no right or wrong answer!