Hannah Drake

Self Care

2019 Autumn Bucket List

Self CareHannah DrakeComment

It's that time of year again when I become the most basic of all bitches. I'm sorry (not sorry) but I absolutely love autumn. I’m so glad the weather is participating in my long-held belief that autumn starts in September (and goes through November) because, even though it was quite warm at the end of August, the temperatures dropped right down and it’s been quite cool. I’m so looking forward to greyer skies and cozy evenings at home watching movies and eating soup!

So naturally, as I fully embrace my most basic persona, I've once again created a little autumn bucket list.

VISIT AN APPLE ORCHARD + BREW APPLE CIDER

We were able to find one relatively close to visit last year to pick apples, so we’ll probably just head back to the same one. Apple picking is definitely a September activity, so hopefully we’ll be heading there in the next couple of weeks. The orchard that we found last year also has a number of other fruits ripe for the picking, so maybe we’ll expand our fruit picking talents this year.

I was shocked to discover two years ago that "cider" here only means the alcohol kind. They don't even know what they're missing if you ask me! I guess the closest thing they have is “cloudy apple juice”, but it’s still not spiced with all the cinnamon-clove goodness! Over the last two years, Luke and I have perfected our homemade apple cider skills using this recipe and even turned it into a deliciously festive cocktail. We make it throughout the whole season so we always have some ready to go!

SEE THE FOLIAGE

Gone are the days of hopping in the car for a day trip up to the Rocky Mountains for a beautiful drive. Peak-to-Peak Highway and the Million Dollar Highway are some of the most gorgeous drives I’ve ever taken, even though I nearly died trying to get to the latter. Even though we’ll be in Colorado this autumn, we’ll likely miss the foliage, so we’ll have to find some around England or Wales.

GO TO OKTOBERFEST

I wasn’t much looking forward to going to Oktoberfest, but as our trip to Germany grows closer, I’m getting slightly more excited. A few months ago, my sister started trying to convince us to go to Germany with her for Oktoberfest and Luke was definitely more on board than I was. Regardless of how I feel about drunk people and crowds—and crowds of drunk people—I’m excited to go back to Germany because I spent most of our trip there in 2017 bed ridden with a terrible stomach bug. Hopefully it’ll go a bit better this time.

HOST A CHILI PARTY OF SORTS

Don’t you love how eloquent and succinct that is? I’ve been kicking around the idea of having some sort of chili gathering for months. Whether that’s a full on chili cook off or just an autumnal party with a fully loaded chili bar remains to be seen.

BUY A COSY NEW ETHICAL JUMPER

When I Marie Kondo’d my life earlier this year, I got rid of my cream cable knit jumper because it was stained and ratty. Thank you for your service, jumper, but it was time to say goodbye. I’ve been looking for an ethical version to take its place in my wardrobe ever since, but it was at the tail end of the fall/winter season anyway. Now that the seasons are turning over again in stores, I’m back on the lookout at some of my favourite ethical and sustainable retailers.

BAKE SEASONAL TREATS FOR OUR NEW NEIGHBOURS

I love baking and I love sharing our baking with other people, partly because it doesn’t mean I feel obligated to eat it all. Since we have new neighbours this year, I want to make a good impression by taking over some pumpkin bread (perfect since my recipe makes two loaves) or apple cider doughnuts made from our homemade cider. I love all the autumnal spices, so I bake with cinnamon, cloves, nutmeg, and ginger as much as I can.

VISIT THE PUMPKIN PATCH + CARVE PUMPKINS

Last year we visited a nearby pumpkin patch to pick out some bigger pumpkins for our front porch and two to carve. We decided on a Harry Potter theme, Luke carving a dementor and me carving Hogwarts, and took to Instagram to let my followers vote on the winner. I’m pretty sure Luke won in a landslide, which is fair. I voted for him too.

HAVE A HALLOWEEN MOVIE MARATHON + WATCH ALL OF HALLMARK’S FALL HARVEST MOVIES

I’ve never really cared much for Halloween until I started spending it with Luke. Our tradition has been to hide from trick-or-treaters (turning off the lights in the front of the house and hiding our pumpkins) and watch non-scary Halloween/autumnal movies, which always includes Practical Magic. We make chili and have some Halloween candy for dessert. I love it.

I’m completely obsessed with Hallmark’s Fall Harvest movies (and Countdown to Christmas, later) and love putting one on while I’m baking or before Luke gets home from work. One of my dream jobs would be to do set design for those movies—either fall or Christmastime. I’d make it my #1 goal to make it look more like fall instead of obviously summer with a few fake orange and yellow leaves. Since they put out fewer films for Fall Harvest than for Countdown to Christmas, it’ll be easy to watch them all.

HOST THANKSGIVING + TRY ONE NEW RECIPE

We’re already planning for our third annual Thanksgiving feast, which will be early this year. Last year I said it was unlikely we’d ever go back to the States for Thanksgiving and we’ll actually be there this year thanks to a friend’s wedding and the late holiday. I’m excited to be back home for such an American holiday, but I promised my sister who will not be home for Thanksgiving that we would host our third annual gathering before we leave. Last year I expanded our menu a bit. While I’m not sure I want to make more again this year, I definitely want to try something new.

GO TO A FOOTBALL GAME

While I love England in the autumn, one thing I really miss about being back in Colorado is the football. My dad has had season tickets to CU football games for as long as I can remember and I love going to the games. Since we’re back this year, we’ve got a chance to at least see one American football game in person. (It might be a bit trickier though since CU is playing away the weekend we’re back…)

What's on your list for this autumn?


Last year, I included a little game of bingo to play on Instagram Stories throughout the season, but this year I’m simplifying a bit with an autumn checklist with all the most basic things. Save the image below and play along over the new three months, checking off everything you do!

Self Care Is... Practising Worry Time

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.

Last fall, I was having a really tough time with anxiety. I wasn’t taking care of myself mentally. I was indulging in my stressors (like reading the news). I was constantly worried about things that probably wouldn’t happen (like Luke being in an accident or dying at work) and things I couldn’t control (like American politics). Luke, being the supportive husband he is, did some research and got me into a programme for free CBT (cognitive behavioural therapy). I started in November and carried on through the new year. Accounting for the holidays and our travel, it was only five or six sessions, but none of them were as transformative as the first.

The therapist recommended that I start practising “Worry Time”. I don’t do it exactly how he explained, but I have continued with the practice for over nine months now. When I find myself worrying about something, I write down the worry and then I write down the “truth”. Maybe the truth is that something is worth worrying about, but it also gives me the space to step back and look at something objectively and think about it more logically and less emotionally.

For example, if my worry is that Luke will be injured at work (which I actually don’t “worry” about as much any more these days compared to the almost daily basis before), the truth is that Luke is highly trained in health and safety and the nature of his job requires him to be responsible for his own safety as well as the people working under him. Luke is responsible and cautious and it’s simply highly unlikely he would put himself in danger of being hurt or killed.

With other things that maybe are worth worrying about, like perhaps the 2018 mid-term elections, it’s more about putting it into perspective. I cannot control the outcome of the election. I can only do my part in voting or encouraging others to vote and helping to spread factual information before people go to the polls.

I have a reminder set on my phone every day to sit down and do worry time. This was part of the explanation given by the therapist, but it was more so that I would have a set amount of time to worry about the things I’m worried about. However, I’ve found that when it’s more like a task to do throughout the day, I don’t need to spend time worrying about something, I just need to present a logical argument against the worry. I’ve noticed a dramatic drop in the irrational things I worry about and the amount of time I spend swimming in my anxiety every day.

I’m not cured by any means. My anxiety has not gone away. But now I feel like I have a better handle on it. The last few months have actually been quite low in anxiety for me, but I’ve continued to practice worry time because it’s a habit I want to build into my life so that when shit hits the fan down the road and I’m more anxious overall, I already have some sort of guardrail built in to hopefully protect myself from falling into a darker place than I can control.

I also don’t do it every day. Some days it would just be too forced. But anywhere from two to four days a week, I do sit down and consider if something is weighing on me and what the truth of it is.

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

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!