Thursday, March 31, 2016

32 Lessons from Gifts of Imperfection

In the Fall I had to order a few books online for class when I saw "Gifts of Imperfection" by Brene Brown in the suggested reading section. The title spoke to me since, I am indeed a bit of a perfectionist. Ever since I started reading, I've been absolutely in awe of this book. I can easily read several chapters at a time and find myself pausing and rereading sections because they seem to be exactly what my thought process is or describe me to a T. 

A basic summary would be the book explores what makes some men and women live more "whole-hearted," authentic lives. According to Brene Brown, "Wholehearted living is about engaging in our lives from a place of worthiness. It means cultivating the courage, compassion, and connection to wake up in the morning and think, No matter what gets done and how much is left undone. I am enough. It's going to be at night thinking, Yes I am imperfect and vulnerable and sometimes afraid, but that doesn't change the truth that I am also brave and worthy of love and belonging.I learned so many lessons from this book, and thought I would share a few of them with you all.

Lessons Learned from Gifts of Imperfection from Courtney's Little Things

1.   "Owning our story and loving ourselves through that process is the bravest thing that we will ever do."

2.   "You are challenged by the universe to let go of who you think you are supposed to be and to embrace who you are."

3.   Creating a Wholehearted life isn't about reaching a destination. It's a lifetime journey, it is about heading in the right direction.

4.   "Everyone wants to be brave."

5.   "Courage originally meant 'To speak one's mind by telling all one's heart.' ...we've lost touch with the idea that speaking honestly and openly about who we are, about what we're feeling, and about our experiences (good and bad) is the definition of courage."

6.   "...asking for what you need is one of the bravest things that you'll ever do."

7.   "...playing down the exciting stuff doesn't take the pain away when it doesn't happen. It does, however, minimize the joy when it does happen. It also creates a lot of isolation."

Lessons Learned from Gifts of Imperfection from Courtney's Little Things

9.   "Somehow we've come to equate success with not needing anyone. Many of us are willing to extend a helping hand, but we're very reluctant to reach out for help when we need it ourselves. It's as if we've divided the world into 'those who offer help' and 'those who need help.' The truth is that we are both."

10.  "It's as simple and complicated as this: If we want to fully experience love and belonging, we must believe that we are worthy of love and belonging."

11.  "...true belonging only happens when we present our authentic, imperfect selves to the world..."

12.  "In a society that says, 'Put yourself last," self-love and self-acceptance are almost revolutionary."

13.  "Shame is basically the fear of being unlovable."

14.  "Authenticity is not something we have or don't have. It's a practice - a conscious choice of how we want to live."

15.  "The problem is that when we don't care at all what people think and we're immune to hurt, we're also ineffective at connecting. Courage is telling our story, not being immune to criticism. Staying vulnerable is a risk we have to take if we want to experience connection."

Lessons Learned from Gifts of Imperfection from Courtney's Little Things

17.  "There's risk involved in putting your true self out in the world. But I believe there's even more risk in hiding yourself and your gifts from the world."

18.  "...being true to ourselves is the best  gift we can give the people we love."

19.  "The problem is that when we don't claim shame, it claims us. And one of the ways it sneaks into our lives is through perfectionism."

20.  "Healthy striving is self-focused - How can I improve? Perfectionism is other focused - What will they think?"

21.  "Perfectionism is addictive because when we invariably do experience shame, judgment, and blame, we often believe it's because we weren't perfect enough. So rather than questioning the faulty logic of perfectionism, we become even more entrenched in our quest to live, look, and do everything just right."

22.  "Self-compassion has three elements: self-kindness, common humanity, and mindfulness."

23.  "Common humanity recognizes that suffering and feelings of personal inadequacy are part of the shared human experience."

Lessons Learned from Gifts of Imperfection from Courtney's Little Things

25.  "Hope is not an emotion; it's a way of thinking or a cognitive process."

26.  "Hope is a combination of setting goals, having the tenacity and perseverance to pursue them, and believing in our own abilities."

27.  "...happiness and joy are different experiences...Happiness is tied to circumstances and joyfulness is tied to spirit and gratitude."

28.  "...neither joy nor happiness is constant; no one feels happy all of the time or joyful all of the time. Both experiences come and go."

29.  "Joy and gratitude can be very vulnerable and intense experiences. We think to ourselves: I'm not going to allow myself to feel this joy because I know it won't last. Acknowledging how grateful I am is an invitation for disaster."

30.  "There's no such thing as creative people and non-creative people. There are only people who use their creativity and people who don't."

31.  "Sharing our gifts and talents with the world  is the most powerful source of connection."

32.  "However afraid we are of change , the question that we must ultimately answer is this: What's the greater risk? Letting go of what people think or letting go of how I feel, what I believe, and who I am?"

If you are a bit of a perfectionist like me, are wanting to live a more authentic, whole-hearted life, or found any of these lessons spoke to you, I'd definitely recommend picking up this book. This is just a sampling of all the wonderful lessons this book holds and I know you'll learn lots from it, too!

Have you ever read Gifts of Imperfection? Which one of these lessons speaks to you?

Wednesday, March 30, 2016

12 Reasons to Enjoy Living on Your Own

After living with other people for the past 22 years of my life, I will be moving into an apartment by myself this summer. I've been a little nervous about it, just because I've never had it where I walk in the door and no one's home or coming home later. The longest time alone in my apartment I've spent is on weekends, and even then I can get a little antsy for my flatmate to get back on Sunday. Lately though, I've been thinking of some of the more positive aspects of living alone. So here are 12 reasons to enjoy living on your own.

Reasons to Enjoy Living by Yourself from Courtney's Little Things

1.   You can order pizza three days in a row and now one can say anything to you...except the pizza delivery person.

2.   Pants are optional.

3.   You have full control over the TV.

4.   You can play music whenever you want and however loud you want.

5.   You can go to bed at 8:00 and no one can judge you.

6.   No one cares if you have shoes and clothes laying all over the floor.

7.   You can decorate your apartment however you want to.

8.   You get to eat straight out of the ice cream container.

9.   You don't have to feel bad for taking long showers in the morning or using up all the hot water.

10.  You don't have to plan laundry days because there's no one to share the laundry machine with.

11.  You have full control of the thermostat and the temperature in your home.

12.  So. Much. Space. And it's all yours!

Do you live on your own? What do you enjoy about living alone?

Monday, March 28, 2016

Weekend Wrap Up No. 35

This week has been so wonderful. It's my Spring Break so I got to spend the week at home with my family. Monday I met the teachers I'll be working with in the fall when I student teach and spent the day at the school. I visited my grandma, got some homework done, and saw my brother's first high school soccer game of the season. It's so nice to be able to be a part of all that and not feel rushed to get back to my apartment or worry about classes the next day. This was a much needed break and I really enjoyed it!

Weekend Wrap Up No. 35 from Courtney's Little Things

Friday I finished my second book of the year, I Am Malala! This is super exciting considering last year I didn't finish reading any books for fun. 

My 20 year old brother also came home on Friday which is pretty special since he goes to college 6 hours away. He also brought his first serious girlfriend home which was kind of scary to me - my little brother is growing up! She seems nice and my parents loved her. My sister and I made a Nebraska state trivia game online which involved my family giving the weirdest hints ever to try to help both my brother and his girlfriend get the answers. It was interesting to say the least.

Saturday morning I woke up early since I couldn't sleep very well. When I woke up I got onto blogger to work on writing a few posts and saw that I had reached 56,000 pageviews on my blog!! It was the best, most exciting news ever. So, thank you to all of you lovely people who take time out of your day to read Courtney's Little Things. I love creating all these posts from the idea stage to writing to photography and everything else that comes with blogging and I am so happy I get to share it with other people like you!

I went out for lunch with my siblings and my brother's girlfriend at our favorite local restaurant. In the afternoon I watched a movie with my mom, wrote up a book review of I Am Malala (I'll publish it in April!) and did some other blog work.  My mom made runzas for dinner which are a favorite.

Sunday my grandpa came over for an Easter brunch complete with dyed Easter Eggs, muffins, and breakfast casserole. After our little Easter celebration, it was time for me to head back to my apartment. I wasn't ready for my week long break to end, but it was fine once I got back. I did some unpacking, bought groceries, and settled in for some homework time so I'll be ready for classes bright and early Monday morning. I'm not quite ready for class work all day, but it will be good to be back into a routine.

As always, here's some photos of the weekend:

Weekend Wrap Up No. 35 from Courtney's Little Things
Weekend Wrap Up No. 35 from Courtney's Little Things
Weekend Wrap Up No. 35 from Courtney's Little Things

Have you hit any exciting milestones this week? How did you spend your weekend? Let me know in the comments!

Saturday, March 26, 2016

Favorite Comedies

Laughing is good for the soul. And it's something I love to do. If there's no one around to talk to and laugh with, I'll usually choose to watch a comedy show. These are a few of my favorite comedy shows to watch, and hopefully you'll enjoy them too!

Favorite Comedy Shows from Courtney's Little Things

Bob's Burgers

The Belchers have got to be my favorite family! Bob is a small business owner just trying to make ends meet and come up with clever ideas for his burger of the day. His wife Linda is always singing while Gene is making music. Louise is a little on the manipulative/mischievous side of things and Tina is going through puberty and discovering her feelings for butts and zombies. Basically, it's a great combo of personalities!

American Dad

Seth MacFarlane is probably best known for his first sitcom, Family Guy, but I prefer American Dad. Roger, the alcoholic alien, is probably my favorite character since he's always doing something crazy.

Parks and Recreation

Leslie Knope's undeterable enthusiasm and love for her best friend Anne are enough reason for me to watch this comedy. Being from a small town and somewhat enjoying politics, this show makes sense to me on every level and I love all the jokes. Then you add in all the other great characters like the Libertarian ultra-masculine Ron Swanson, the slightly narcissistic Tom Haverford, and the always straight-faced April Ludgate and you've got a great crew.

30 Rock

This comedy is in the same spirit as Parks and Rec, but this is the baby of Amy Poehler's BFF Tina Fey. Liz Lemon might be me in the future - single, constantly taking care of people at work, and talking to some food about all her problems. I love watching all the craziness that ensues with the larger-than-life characters and watching Liz constantly try to please her main actors, writers, and boss.

Favorite Comedy Shows from Courtney's Little Things


Scrubs is the only hospital show I can watch. I love J.D. and Turk's bromance, Turk and Carla's relationship, and generally rude Dr. Cox.


Some people romanticize the friend group that is Friends, but I am all about these sarcastic, rather pessimistic friends on Seinfeld. The infamous "show about nothing" takes on all of those mundane and ridiculous parts of life and turn it into an absolutely hilarious situation.

Golden Girls

A show from the 80s about a bunch of old ladies must be boring, right? Wrong! These ladies are always cracking me up and making me look forward to growing old with a good group of friends (and my mom). If you need another reason, Betty White is in it as the ditzy Rose. There's also Blanche who proves you can still have a sex life in your 60s and the wise-cracking mother-daughter duo Dorothy and Sophia.

So those are my favorite comedy shows to watch! Do you watch any of these? What's your favorite comedy show?

Related Posts: Movie Night Ideas,  DIY Popcorn Bar

Thursday, March 24, 2016

Easters Past

I love looking at old photo albums. I thought I'd share the fun of looking back at my childhood with you all since I always enjoy seeing old family photos of my favorite bloggers.

We'll begin with a 2 year old me. First we have my beautiful at-home photo shoot with all my Spring/Easter stuffed animals. 

Easters Past from Courtney's Little Things

Then we have me at my Grandma's house for a family Easter Egg Hunt sporting pink overalls and a sunhat. Definitely a good outfit choice for running around looking for candy-filled eggs!

Easters Past from Courtney's Little Things

Once I had found my eggs and had my picture taken, I was ready to go. So I hopped in that wagon and was like "Let's hit the road!" Or at least that's how I interpret this series of photos.

Easters Past from Courtney's Little Things

Flash forward a few years to 2003 and a 9 year old Courtney. I received this super cute stuffed animal. 

Easters Past from Courtney's Little Things

Obviously 9 is just too old for participating in Easter Egg Hunts, so instead I just helped my younger siblings collect the eggs hidden around our yard. 

Easters Past from Courtney's Little Things
Easters Past from Courtney's Little Things

Do you love looking back at old photos? Tell me about your favorite Easter in the comments!

Related Posts: Homestead Trip, Summer Vacation 2015: Estes Park


Wednesday, March 23, 2016

What I'm Looking for in a Friend

This year holds a few changes for me. My friends are graduating at the end of April and we're all parting ways to go on to student teaching (me), grad school, and working. Since I'll be moving to a new town, I'll be needing to make some new friends which is kind of scary since I haven't had to make all new friends in a while. I've been thinking about a few qualities I'm looking for in a friend, and thought I'd share the list with you!

What I'm Looking for in a Friend from Courtney's Little Things

Someone who's nice and I can easily talk to.

Obviously I don't want to be friends with someone's who mean or rude, so nice is something I'm looking for in a friend. I also can be a bit quiet and hold back when I first meet someone/am getting to know them, so having someone who is easy to talk to and I feel comfortable with is important.

Someone I have something in common with.

Having a friend who I have more in common with than just a job or favorite TV show is something I'm looking for. I'd love to have a friend who likes crafting or painting so we can have craft nights and go to all the craft stores and feel no judgement for the ridiculous amount of supplies we buy.

Someone I can do fun things with.

As much as I love cozy nights in just talking and watching a movie with a friend, I'd love to have a friend that I can do some fun things with. Maybe someone who'd want to go to the park to hang out on nice days, visit a museum or two, or try some new restaurants with.

Someone I can be myself with.

Having a friend who you can be your true self with is so important. I need someone who I can be honest with when things aren't going well, and when they are. I need someone who I can be silly and goofy with sometimes and just chill in silence with at other times.

Someone who supports me.

If you've ever had a friend who puts you down, you know this is something you just can't compromise on. I need to have some friends who will support me as I finish up my college career and start looking for a full-time job. To be honest, I hate going on job interviews and am scared of having to do 20+ before getting hired so having a friend who can support me will be key.

So that's what I'm looking for when making new friends. What do you look for in a friend? Tell me if you'd add anything to this list in the comments!

Related Posts: Changes and Possibilities, Lost Friendships

Monday, March 21, 2016

Weekend Wrap Up No. 34

This week the healthy eating continued this week...for the most part. It's hard work trying to eat right! All I wanted to do was get through the week since I knew the next week was Spring Break!! I desperately needed a nice break, or at least some time to relax and catch up on projects.

Weekend Wrap Up No. 34 from Courtney's Little Things

Friday I rearranged my room a bit. It took awhile to figure it out, but I have it arranged now. My mom made philly chicken sandwiches for dinner which were delicious. After her and I watched a movie called Brooklyn. I had never heard of it before, but it's pretty good! It's about an Irish girl who comes to the US in 1950 and falls for an Italian boy, but goes back to Ireland after her sister dies and has to choose between her life in the United States and her life in Ireland.

Saturday my mom and I drove up to the school I'll be student teaching at in the fall and will be spending some time at Monday and in April.  We stopped at Jimmy John's for lunch and I picked up a few things (i.e. candles) at Target. In the afternoon I took a little nap and spent the evening relaxing and reading a few articles online.

Sunday morning I read a bit of I Am Malala. I only have a few chapters left which is exciting since this will be the 2nd book I finish this year. In the afternoon my mom and I colored in our adult coloring books together. I also did a few chores (boring, I know) before getting to some fun blogging stuff.

Here's some photos of the weekend:

Weekend Wrap Up No. 34 from Courtney's Little Things
Weekend Wrap Up No. 34 from Courtney's Little Things
Weekend Wrap Up No. 34 from Courtney's Little Things
Weekend Wrap Up No. 34 from Courtney's Little Things
Weekend Wrap Up No. 34 from Courtney's Little Things
Weekend Wrap Up No. 34 from Courtney's Little Things

I'm excited for the week ahead since it will be a nice break and I get to meet the teachers and students I'll be spending my fall semester with!

Do you have anything exciting coming up this week? How did you spend your weekend? Let me know in the comments!

Saturday, March 19, 2016

Spring Blog Post Ideas

I don't know about you, but I am psyched for warmer weather, shorts, and spending time outside without freezing my butt off! Spring can't come soon enough as far as I'm concerned. While Winter might bring a few fun things to write about (like holiday posts and ways to spend cozy nights in), Spring brings it's own list of fun things to write posts about! Here's a few Spring blog post ideas to keep you busy this season!

Spring Blog Post Ideas from Courtney's Little Things

Photo diary. Share a recent walk in the park, your garden or new flowers. Basically, just stepping foot outside in Spring is an adventure worth sharing.

A spring craft. Basically anything seasonal or brightly colored counts as a Spring craft in my book.

Mother's Day gift ideas. When May rolls around, I have no idea what to get my mom. Help a girl out and give me some ideas!

A spring haul. Spring comes and we want all the floral prints, pastel colors, and everything cute. If you buy some new pretties, might as well share and make a post out of it!

Share how you decorate for Spring. Maybe it's just a corner, but we're all interested in seeing how you dress up your space!

Things I love about Spring. Just start listing out all the reasons you're happy it's finally Spring.

Tales of Springs past. Get out those old family albums and show us some fun and cute photos from when you were playing outside in Spring as a little kid. It's fun for you to get a bit nostalgic and a great way for your readers to get to know you better!

Things to do outside. Maybe this is just me, but it seemed so much easier to spend time outside when I was a kid. I could spend hours playing at a park and doing outdoor games or sports. Now that I'm older it can be a struggle to come up with ways to spend time outside. So make a list of your favorite things to do outside and help us all disconnect from our electronics!

Spring bucket list. Make a list of all the things you want to do this Spring - plant a garden, go for a bike ride, try a new recipe, and whatever else may strike your fancy! You can always do a recap at the end of May so we can find out if you were able to do everything on your list.

Are you planning on writing any of these posts? Let me know in the comments if this was a helpful list!

Thursday, March 17, 2016

How I Set Goals

Since I started Courtney's Little Things, I've been writing about my goals whether they be yearly or monthly goals. It's pretty clear I like goals and think they're important. I even set goals for each day with my daily to-do lists and sometimes I get a bit more in-depth by taking time to re-evaluate what I want my life to be like and how I can make that happen.

So why do I think goals are so important? Because they give you some direction and help you to make stuff happen. My goals help me to be deliberate in my actions so I can get to where I want to be in life instead of just going through life on autopilot and hoping someday things happen for me. Since goals are so helpful for me, I thought I'd write a post all about setting goals to help you all to be more successful and happy in your life!

How I Set Goals from Courtney's Little Things

Identify your time frame.

What time frame are you giving yourself for these goals? Your goals that you want to have achieved in 10 years are going to be different than the goals you want to have achieved by the end of this week. So decide what time-frame you're giving yourself to accomplish these goals. Are you making lifetime goals, goals for this year, for this month, for next week, or today?

Answer these questions.

If you're new to setting goals, you might not know how to start even identifying what your goals are. There's a few questions I ask when I'm setting goals:
      1. What do I want my life to be like?
      2. What do I want more of in my life?
      3. What do I need to accomplish to get there?
You can make these questions work for your time frame by adding "in 10 years," "this year," "this month," "this week," or even "today" or "when I'm 90?"

You could also ask yourself questions for different areas of your life like health (mental and physical!), financial, relationships, education/career, and personal. So ask yourself "What do I want to do for my health this month?" or "What do I want to do to improve my relationships this month?"

Make it doable.

When it comes to goals, you want them to be doable. I'd definitely encourage you to dream as big and as crazy as you want when it comes to your life goals or bucket list, but when you're making goals for the next 10 years, this month, or this week, you want them to be goals you can actually complete. By making them doable, it keeps you more motivated and helps you achieve the big goals you have for your life.

So one of my life goals is "to be a master teacher." That's great! But how am I gonna get there? For me, a goal I want to achieve by the time I'm 30 is getting my master's degree. Continuing my education is one way to be a master teacher. But I'm not waiting to graduate with my bachelor's degree to start this goal either. I have goals for the semester to help me get there like working hard in my current classes to learn as much as I can, so I can be the best teacher I can be and creating a teaching binder dedicated to all the great ideas I hear in class, read in books and articles, and the lessons from my personal experiences. I take every opportunity I get to teach and work with students and do my best to learn and improve based on these experiences.

Or maybe you made a goal for 2016 like "lose 20 pounds." That's something you're going to have to work for! So maybe your monthly goal for the first few months is to lose 4 pounds at the end of each month. That's good, but you're going to have to break it down some more! So your weekly goal might be to hit the gym for an hour, 3 times a week and record your intake on an app. Then your daily goal is to go to the gym for an hour or do something active for 20 minutes on off days, eat fruits and vegetables with each meal that day, and drink 8 glasses of water. See how that makes your yearly goal doable on a monthly, weekly, and daily basis so you can accomplish it? Hopefully these examples show how you can break down a big life or yearly goal to a more doable, bite-size goal.

Write it down.

Now that you've got your time frame, what your goal is, and you've made sure it's doable it's time to write it down! I write down my goals in my bullet journal and have found I really like sharing them here on my blog as well (it also motivates me to get them done). Maybe you'd rather write your goals on a piece of paper and hang it on your wall so you can see it everyday, or write them on the notes app on your phone. Whichever way works for you, but as long as your goals are recorded!

Get going.

Once you've figured out your goals and written them down, don't let it stop there! Keep it going and start working towards accomplishing these goals! Start today with your goals and don't put it off until tomorrow or Monday.

Don't overwhelm yourself.

While you can do anything, you can't do everything. Choose 3-5 goals to focus on.

Don't feel bad.

This goes several ways. Don't feel bad about the goals you set for yourself or worry about them being "stupid" or "too boring" or whatever you might come up with. Maybe your goal is to walk 20 minutes a day while your friend is out running 40 minutes every morning. Don't feel bad about your goal being "too small." If you're used to just sitting most of the day and haven't been active in a while, setting a goal to walk 20 minutes a day is a great goal!!

After you've set your goal, don't feel bad if you don't accomplish it or don't get it done completely. Your goal is to walk 20 minutes a day, but you forgot to walk 20 minutes yesterday. Don't feel bad about missing yesterday or let that stop you from completing that goal for today! It can be easy to let one mess up cause you to just give up on the whole goal, but don't let that happen to you, You fell, but you can get back up and keep going.

So those are my tips for setting goals that help me. If you want to read more about setting goals, this is a great post about setting goals from Abby at Just a Girl and Her Blog.

Wednesday, March 16, 2016

10 Ways I Cope With Depression

If you have depression or have struggled with it in the past, you'll know that just when you think you have everything under control and you're doing well managing your depression, that's when a bout of depression will kick in. So I was feeling really good about life when suddenly a wave of depression seemed to hit me out of nowhere.

How did I get through it? By taking time to practice self-care and looking at what coping skills I'm using, if they're working for me, and what new coping skills I could adopt to better help me deal with my depression at the moment. I thought this list might help you guys out, even if you don't struggle specifically with depression. We could all use more ways of dealing with emotions in a healthy way, right?

10 Ways I Cope with Depression from Courtney's Little Things

Watch a funny movie or TV show. This is a great distraction for me when I'm depressed. Even on my worst day, a comedy can make me smile.

Clean or straighten up. Living in a messy apartment can stress me out, so tidying up just helps to alleviate some of those feelings. It also helps to get me up and doing something.

Do something creative. Painting, drawing, decorating my planner, and blogging are all creative things I love to do. For me this is part of self-care and taking time to do something I love.

5 Senses. I mentioned this in a previous post, and this really is something I like to do when I'm having a rough time. Sometimes I'll be walking to class and all of a sudden get this overwhelming feeling like "oh god, I can't do this. everyone's looking at me and they know something's wrong with me." When that happens it helps to take a deep breath, walk slowly, and take in all 5 senses. So I start listing what I see (the library, people walking to class...), what I hear (birds, people talking with friends...), what I feel (the breeze outside, the fabric of my shirt on my skin...), and so on. It really helps to get me "out of my head" and focused on the reality of what's going on around me.

Go to the gym or for a walk. I feel like most of us have heard before that exercising is super good for you physically and mentally and that it releases endorphins which lift your mood. As difficult as this can be, if I can convince myself to go outside and take a walk or head to the gym I usually come back feeling a tad bit better.

Take care of myself. Taking a shower, cooking a nice meal, putting on lotion, getting to bed on time and sleeping a healthy amount of time. All these things are good ways to take care of yourself when you're struggling with depression. You have to take care of yourself.

Journal. One day I wrote down all the signs that I was depressed and what that looks like and feels like for me. It can be super difficult to describe it to other people (like my mom) and I'm not all that comfortable talking to a therapist about everything, so writing it down in a journal is a good way for me to be able to get it all out and be able to look at these things and find solutions or challenge those thoughts. It's also good to journal about coping skills you can use, ways you can practice self-care, positive things, things you're grateful for, or just your thoughts in general.

Think of one positive thing. The mornings tend to be the hardest for me because I have no motivation to get out of bed and I'd rather stay in the safety of my bed, so if I can think of one positive thing that's going to happen that day - something I'm excited about or interested in doing or even a reward I'll give myself for going to classes - it helps me to get out of bed and start the day. It also can help keep me going since I know I'll get to watch my favorite show that night or whatever it may be.

Take things one step at a time. Again mornings are the hardest for me, so sometimes I just have to take them one step at a time. So first I'll tell myself that all I have to do, all I have to focus on is taking a shower. Then I'll just focus on getting my breakfast and eating it, and so on and so on throughout the day. It can feel a little pitiful at first, but it really helps to get some momentum going and make the day seem less overwhelming.

Challenge negative thoughts and replace them with positives. This can be a real challenge at first, but it helps so much when you're struggling. Maybe it's like the scenario I mentioned earlier where I'm walking to class and then all of a sudden get a bit panicky and overwhelmed. So I'll take the "oh god, I can't do this. everyone's looking at me and they know something's wrong with me" thought and start thinking about what I would tell a friend who said that. "No, that's not true. You can do this. All you have to do is go to class, sit there, and take a few notes. No one is looking at you. They're all just minding their own business, trying to get through the day, same as you." Going through that thought process can really help to take things down a few notches and helps improve your self-confidence.

So those are 10 ways I try to cope with and manage my depression when I'm having a rough time. I'm not a mental health expert or anything, but I hope that these give you some ideas so that you can better deal with bad days, too. If you are depressed, I would strongly suggest seeing a doctor or talking to a therapist in addition to these things and trying to manage it on your own.

Related Posts: Self Care Ideas, 7 Things that Help Calm Me

Monday, March 14, 2016

Weekend Wrap Up No. 33

This week has been really good! I've gotten to do a lot of teaching and teacher-like activities (i.e. lesson planning, writing about how I'd handle misbehaviors). It's really exciting to be so close to student teaching that most of my coursework involves teaching. Before this semester it's mostly been writing papers and reading textbooks.

I also started working on being healthier! With warmer weather out I have more of a desire to be active and, to be honest, I've been rather unhappy with my body lately. So I decided to do something about it and make the most of my extra energy. So I've been tracking what I eat (I use My Fitness Pal if you're interested) and trying to be more active each day either by walking more. I'm not an exercise lover, but walking is something I enjoy doing and I can do it outside which makes it even better.

So now that we're all caught up, let's get on to how the weekend went!

Weekend Wrap Up No. 33 from Courtney's Little Things

Friday started  a little later than I meant for it to, but it was still a good start to the weekend! I got home just in time to go out to dinner with my family at a local Mexican restaurant. I ordered fajitas rancheras and guacamole to go with the tortilla chips. Guacamole is seriously the best. When we got back home I turned in pretty early.

Weekend Wrap Up No. 33 from Courtney's Little Things

Saturday was a bit of a lazy day, but I enjoyed it thoroughly. I read a few blog posts and enjoyed some kitty cuddles and a good nap. In the late afternoon my family went to the store to pick up some flowers, birthday card, and cupcakes for my grandma's birthday! We spent an hour or so visiting with my grandparents and it was a nice way to celebrate my grandma's 75th birthday.

Weekend Wrap Up No. 33 from Courtney's Little Things
Weekend Wrap Up No. 33 from Courtney's Little Things

Sunday my family and I went for a walk in the morning (and the dogs got to come, too) before I left for my apartment. When I got back to my apartment I couldn't help ordering a pizza before getting started with some cleaning. I straightened up my room and the living room, and scrubbed down the kitchen counters. It feels so much better to have a clean apartment!

Weekend Wrap Up No. 33 from Courtney's Little Things

Later in the afternoon I ran to the store to get a few groceries and ended up buying this plant. I just couldn't say no!

Weekend Wrap Up No. 33 from Courtney's Little Things
Weekend Wrap Up No. 33 from Courtney's Little Things

How did you spend the weekend? Tell me all about it in the comments!

Saturday, March 12, 2016

13 Things I Love About Spring

I am so excited for Spring! I've been mentioning little things here and there as to why I'm so happy it's Spring, so I thought I'd write a whole post dedicated to a few of the things I love about Spring!

13 Things I Love About Spring from Courtney's Little Things

1. Sunshine and warmer weather. If it's sunny and above 50, you can bet I'll be enjoying the weather. Especially after vicious Winter winds and below freezing temps!

2. Green grass. It's so reassuring to look down and see beautiful, fresh, green grass instead of ugly, dried up, brown grass.

3. Flowers! While I love seeing everything in nature come back to life from the buds on the trees to green grass, my favorite is to see the tulips and other flowers come up and start blooming! It's even better for me if they're yellow flowers.

4. Butterflies. I've been a sucker for butterflies ever since I was little. In elementary I used to catch butterflies at break time (and then release them!) and I could tell you what each butterfly in our area was. I still love watching butterflies fly from flower to flower, although I've totally forgotten their names.

5. Baby cows. This proves I'm from the country, but I really do love seeing the baby cows in Spring!! They're just so cute following their mama and playing in the pasture.

6. Birds, bunnies, and all the other little creatures. After barely seeing any life all Winter, I love spotting a rabbit or a robin outside in the Spring.

7. Going for afternoon walks. I just love going for a walk in the afternoon, and have already started enjoying afternoon walks on the nice days we've had already. It gets me off my butt, lets me enjoy the sunshine, and helps me burn a few extra calories. It's even better when I bring my camera (or just use my phone) to take photos while I'm out.

8. Bike rides. Bike rides seem like such a Spring-time activity to me.

9. Pastel colors. Going to the store and seeing pastel everything gives me joy and assures me it is indeed Spring. Pastel pink, purple, blue, green, yellow - I'll take one of each!

10. Thunderstorms. While I definitely appreciate the sunshine, there's also something I just love about a good thunderstorm. I love the sound of thunder and seeing flashes of lightning while the rain hits the window. It's so cozy, but then you (hopefully) get to go back to decent Spring weather the next day.

11. Spring break. If you're not in school or in education, you don't get to enjoy this wonderful part of Spring. I look forward every year to getting a week off to enjoy a bit of a break from essays, projects, and readings. It's a great refresher!

12. Trading in bulky sweaters and jeans for short sleeves, capris, and shorts. While I'm always excited to pull out my big, comfy sweaters in Autumn, I'm equally excited when I get to start leaving the house in short sleeves with no jacket.

13. Being able to open windows. There is nothing I love more than being able to open the windows. Not only does it save on energy, but it lets in some fresh air, and just brightens up my mood.

Those are a few of the things I love about Spring. Now tell me yours!

Thursday, March 10, 2016

10+ Things About Me

I haven't written an introduction post, so I thought now would be a good time. Of course there's my About Page, but there's a few other things I'd like you all to know so we can get to know each other better!

10+ Things About Me from Courtney's Little Things

If I could go anywhere right now, I'd want to go to Greece. I love the all white villages you see whenever you look up Greece. Plus the history is great, the food is the best, and the beaches look beautiful!

A few things I'm passionate about (besides blogging) are foreign languages, learning/education, equal rights (for women, minorities...), organization, and teaching.

My mom is my best friend. I'm really lucky to have such a great mom and even luckier to have a great mom that I get along with. I'm able to talk to her about nearly anything and we always have fun together. It's so great to have someone who's lived a bit to give you advice as you go through all the changes and challenges of young adulthood.

Some celebrities I look up to/admire are Demi Lovato, Beyonce, Oprah, and Taylor Swift.

I have a favorite scientist - Neil deGrasse Tyson. I'm always so impressed with how kind he is to others when I see videos of him speaking at panels (like this time he talked to a girl about being a scientist with a learning disability) and how he promotes science education through different TV programs. He also just has some great quotes and is super intelligent.

If I could get a furry pet right now, I would be getting a cat. Preferably a fluffy one. Sorry Burt, but I need someone to cuddle!

Some things I struggle with are math, managing my depression and stress levels, accepting change, and being outgoing.

Concerts I've been to recently (as in within the past few years) include Karmin, We The Kings, Idina Menzel, and Echosmith.

I love foreign languages. I've been studying Spanish for 8+ years. I studied French for 1 year in college. I know bits of Italian and tried learning some Russian over winter break. I'm really interested in learning Russian so I need to get back on that!

A quote I try to live by is "People will forget what you said, people will forget what you did, but people will never forget how you made them feel." - Maya Angelou

2 classes I didn't expect to like in college, but really enjoyed were General Biology and Macroeconomics. They're very different from what I normally would consider my interests, but they both were taught by excellent teachers who got me to care about their subject matters.

Now that I've told you more about me, let me know more about you! Tell me your answer to one of these topics or something else about yourself. Let me know if we have any similarities :)