The world has changed so much in the last year. A year ago today, schools were going on lockdown, people were losing jobs, and our mental health either suffered or thrived. Some of us have had to learn how to survive in isolation, how to maintain our homes, and basically how to live again. As we continue to deal with the uncertainty of the times, don’t forget to practice self-care. I know, I know… you think your self-care options are limited and you just don’t have time.
But self-care is not a luxury, sis. It is a MUST.
If things like having a spa party with the girls or that fancy trip isn’t an option for you right now, I’m here to say that there are always options for self-care. And it doesn’t have to include luxury spa sessions and a flight to Bora Bora. Although, that sounds amazing right now.
Don’t get me wrong, sis – before the pandemic, my definition of self-care was laying in bed and shopping on Amazon. You know, just to see what kind of lightning deal I can get in the next two days. But lately, getting fast shipping is hit or miss, and I’m trying to stop stalking my postal worker for my packages. (Like… Seriously, where is it, Frank?)
All jokes aside; Practicing self-care during this time, while we are still trying to find a new normal, is the best thing you can do for yourself. Life has a way of just knocking us off balance and disrupting our systems. So, if you’re not listening to your mind & body cues to step back you’re doing yourself a disservice. Make a commitment to practice self-care this year, and create a daily ritual for your mental health. A few simple things that can help on your self-care journey are:
Wake up earlier so you have time for YOU – exercise, dance, whatever.
Write or doodle about things you’re grateful for.
Put some headphones on and listen to some soothing music.
Spend a little extra time unapologetically doing nothing.
Find a quiet place to reflect and meditate before you end your day.
It’s easy for us to forget to take care of ourselves in our busiest moments. But self-care is simply asking ourselves what we need and honestly just following through. It’s about building a deeper connection with yourself and remembering to make ourselves a priority. Recently, I’ve committed to using tools like the Shine app to help me put my mental health first this year.
The Shine app is a self-care app founded by two women of color on a mission to make taking care of your mental health easier, more representative, and more accessible. The app helps you create a daily self-care ritual with meditations, reflection and journaling, and community discussions.
No matter your career or business niche, you’re busy and don’t need any more distractions from your tasks at hand. So why are you allowing all the apps on your phone to cause distractions when your time can be better used? It’s time to digitally declutter your life, starting with removing apps that are too distracting and that take up a lot of space on your phone. (Yes, friend, I’m talking about Candy Crush too).
Honestly though, how many times do you actually open and use all those apps that are stored on your phone? If you have not used them in the past thirty days or more, then the reality is that they are not that important to your success and well-being and should be deleted. Protect your digital peace.
Protect Your Data and Online Security
You probably have forgotten about many of the services that you had signed up for with those apps. In fact, having so many apps that you are not using can even be a security risk to you.
In this day of the online world and identity theft, it is truly important for you to think of your security when you have so many apps. Most apps are probably okay, but you are still putting yourself at risk of a rogue hacker behind the development of an app. For example, a person may develop an app that seems helpful, fun and good. But the person may really have ulterior motives to steal your information. Or hackers can find their way into your data by hacking their way through a less secure app that you have installed on your phone. So, clean out those extra apps that you’re not using.
Delete the Accounts, Too
Uninstalling the app is one way to clear the clutter on your phone but most of these apps required you to create an account. So, before hitting that uninstall button, login to the account and delete that as well. If you can’t remember the logins, search for emails from those apps. Once the accounts are deleted, uninstall the app from your phone. Not only does this clear clutter from your phone but you’ll clear clutter from your inbox since deleting your account should put a stop to unwanted emails.
Delete Accounts Linked to Social Media
How many times have you created an account with your Facebook or Google logins? It’s so simple, right? This is yet another security issue that needs your attention.
Head to Facebook and other social media accounts to identify which apps you have connected to those accounts. Get rid of them if you are not using them, if they are too distracting, or are not beneficial to you.
Don’t Be Intimidated by Technology
Don’t let this blog post scare you away from using apps on your phone, sis. They are amazing technology, no doubt; just be more selective about which apps you download.
If you really want to go “cold turkey” on eliminating apps, delete everything except your contacts and your texting app. Now, when you feel the need to download an app, you can evaluate if it’s a necessity to run your business (or your personal life) or if it’s just a bright, shiny object that will cause distractions.
For example, managing your time at your business and in your personal life may seem like a challenge but it falls into the necessity category. Rescue Time is a highly valuable app, as it shows you a report of the things that are wasting your time. As a result, you will be more aware of how to manage your time more wisely. Another highly recommended app is Mint, because we all know that money can seem to escape all too easily. But Mint will help you with that, as it takes pictures of spending transactions and categorizes them for you. Thus, you will be empowered to be in better control of your money.
Start with these tips for clearing your apps and you’ll discover you have more time and increased productivity. When you’re not distracted, you have more energy to focus on the important things in your business and in life.
This pandemic had a lot of us bored out of our minds trying to find things to do at home. Trust me, I’ve seen ALL the TikTok videos (haha). But I’ve also noticed many of my friends asking about how to start a blog or online business. In the last few months, we’ve all been forced to get online to either work, stream, learn, or play. So, why not jump in and snag a piece of the ‘net.
Disclosure: This post contains affiliate links. If you click through and make a purchase, I’ll earn a commission, at no additional cost to you. Read my full disclosure here.
Also, if you haven’t heard – blogging is one of the best ways to get yourself or your brand visible online. So, whether you do it in the form of written posts, video, or audio posts (podcasts), you should definitely have all of that repurposed or hosted on your own website.
I watched so many people freak out when Facebook & Instagram went down for hours. OMG! People acted like their life was OVER!
Listen… I get it.
That’s why I firmly believe that nothing beats having your own website. In my opinion, purchasing a bit of online real estate in the form of your website is one of the first steps to being your own boss.
No, blogging isn’t dead. No, the internet isn’t too saturated with bloggers and influencers. There is room for you to start. There is enough internet out here for us all. And there are so many ways to get started blogging.
So, what are you waiting for? Grab your notes and follow along as I walk you through setting up your first blog site! Here’s 5 easy steps to start your own blog:
You want a website to display your business? Choose WordPress. You want a blog to display your posts & thoughts? Choose WordPress. My favorite way to set up a website, and what I recommend to my freelance clients, is on WordPress. WordPress is basically software that makes your blog readable.
Note that there is a difference between a wordpress.com blog and a wordpress.org site. One is a free platform and one is self-hosted on your paid hosting platform (which allows for many more customization options and the option to use plugins). They both can be used to manage the content on your blog but, in my opinion, self-hosted is the way to go. With that being said, let me walk you through (yes, with screenshots) how to set up your own self-hosted website on WordPress.
It’s FREE, it’s easy to learn and it’s the MOST popular website-building platform!
It’s SEO friendly, meaning search engines love it!
And it’s flexible – there are free and premium tools to add any feature or functionality you can think of to your website!
How to Get Started
1. Choose a domain name.
The domain name is the main URL for your blog (i.e., amazon.com or xochantelmarie.com). It’s what people type in to visit your site. When deciding on a domain name, you’ll want to try and keep it as simple as possible. I chose to use my personal name, because this is my brand. But you can also use something like “TashasCookingTips.com” if you’ll be sharing recipes and food blogs. That also helps with SEO.
Registering your domain name is pretty easy. You search for the name that you want and the domain registrar tells you if it’s available or not. I use Namecheap to purchase all of my domains. Try out their search option below.
Web hosting is what powers your WordPress blog, and makes it available online for anyone to visit. For your self-hosted blog site, I recommend choosing a Managed WordPress Hosting plan. A managed host handles many of the technical tasks for you, such as performing updates and monitoring for attacks, so you can just focus on your blog’s content.
Some of the most popular and reliable Managed WordPress Hosting providers are:
For this example, in the screenshot below, I am using BlueHost to register my sample site. Choose whichever plan suits you.
3. Setup a theme.
If you used one of the above hosting providers, then you’ll have access to their one-click installation options, which makes the process simple. Once you’ve installed WordPress you’ll be taken to the admin dashboard. It’s where you’ll customize your design, publish pages & posts and manage all aspects of your blog.
Then the fun stuff happens. You get to choose a theme!
Did you know that you can get a beautiful theme already designed for the type of blog you want? Here are a few of my favorite resources to find premium pre-designed blog themes:
Once you’ve selected a theme you like, you’ll add it by going to Appearance > Themes in the left sidebar and then select “Upload Theme.”
Tip: The point of choosing a pre-designed theme is so you don’t spend too much time tweaking your blog’s design at this stage. You should be focusing on content so Google can start seeing your blog. No one else is coming to your site yet, you can perfect it later.
4. Write an about me.
Don’t worry about writing your first blog post just yet. For now, you need to set up your “About Me” page and make sure your contact information is updated for inquiries. It doesn’t have to be a resume or a 3-page bio on what college you attended – but your about page should be your story. It explains who you are and how you can help your audience.
There are over 1.5 billion websites out there, but your story is what’s going to separate this blog from the rest.
Be clear, be confident and don’t overthink it.
To create a new page in WordPress, hit +New at the top of the screen. Select Page from the dropdown. Or, click Page > Add New in the left sidebar.
5. Start blogging & stay consistent.
Last but not least – start blogging! There is no right or wrong way to write your first blog post. Worried about what to write about? If you post on social media daily, then you can definitely write a few words for a blog.
The steps to publish a post in WordPress are similar to publishing a Page. Open a new post, hit +New at the top of the screen. Select Post from the dropdown.
And remember to ALWAYS share your blog posts to social media. The old “if you build it, they will come” saying does not apply to blogging. There are many social sharing plugins that you can use to integrate your WordPress blog with your social media accounts. The more you share your posts and your readers share it, the more your audience will grow.
Bonus: How to Get Traffic
Contrary to the fact that I have the most followers on my Instagram, I’ve received the most traffic from my Pinterest. I also share to other social networks via Buffer. My secret tip: I automate my content sharing by using Tailwind to add my blog posts to Pinterest and tribes with mutual interests. It has been a total game changer for me.
Let me know in the comments below, if this guide helped you or if you need any help with setting up your first blog site.
Remote work, remote learning, remote everything. With our lives changing because of this pandemic, our new normal is everything digital. It can be hard to find a balance between being online for work and leisure time when being online is the only option we have. And all of these notifications can get overwhelming if we don’t take time to manage them. It’s time to conduct a digital detox & get yo life, sis.
Despite this pandemic, we can create healthy boundaries with tech to avoid burnout. Do some digital decluttering with these 10 simple tips:
1. Stick to a schedule.
To wean yourself from the habit of checking your notifications and phone so much, make a schedule. You can start with fifteen- or thirty-minute increments for checking your email and social media. Once you become better at not getting sucked into time-wasting activities, increase that increment to every 45-minutes, then move up to every hour.
Also, set a 5-minute timer to check and respond to the most important things. If your inbox is full, allot an extra ten- to fifteen-minutes to respond to anything that requires your input. Also, it is a good idea to inform friends, family, and colleagues that you will not be answering their calls and messages as quickly as you did previously so that they do not worry or become anxious.
2. Decrease notification settings.
It’s already a challenge to put down our phones, but when it’s making sounds every few minutes, things can get pretty unproductive. You are not obligated to be bombarded with interruptions from your social media platforms or with messages that your favorite online podcast has just uploaded a new topic. Remember, your phone is for your convenience only, so limit the amount of the notifications you receive to stay focused on other things.
3. Back up your files and photos to an external drive.
Make room for new memories and back up your computer files, precious photos and important programs. Buy an inexpensive external drive from your local electronics store or sign up for a cloud account like Dropbox. You’ll free up a ton of hard drive space by deleting unnecessary applications, documents, movies, music and photos.
4. Unsubscribe from promotional emails.
If you’re like me, you probably receive a ton of emails from lists you don’t even remember subscribing to. In the long run, opening all of these messages burns precious time you could spend on doing the things you love. Click through your emails and unsubscribe from at least 10 lists.
5. Delete those apps, sis.
Apps are fun, but also take up A LOT of memory on our phones. They are also very distracting. Much of your phone usage comes from unconscious habit. Without much thinking, people shift from Instagram to Facebook, then check the weather and texts before playing their favorite game or checking their news headlines. However, if you use only specific necessary apps, then this will reduce the amount of time that is wasted on your phone. Try deleting the apps for social media sites and only use the web browser of your phone or laptop to engage. You’ll reduce time on your phone as apps make it too easy to waste time, even after your finished engaging with your followers.
6. Clear your computer desktop.
Since it’s the first thing you see when you turn on your computer, a clear desktop means a clear mind. Create new folders to organize documents and delete the ones you no longer need.
7. Organize your cloud storage.
All it takes is a few minutes and a few named folders to get your cloud storage neat and tidy. Sure it may take some time, but you’ll make up for it with increased work productivity.
8. Clean up your social accounts.
This could include unfollowing accounts on Twitter, Instagram, Snapchat and Tumblr, creating Pinterest boards to organize your pins and unliking pages on Facebook you no longer want updates from.
9. Keep your device away from your bed.
Your phone does not have to be the last thing you see before going to sleep at night and the first thing you see in the morning. To avoid the trap of looking at your phone too much, try using an old-school alarm clock instead of your phone.
10. Use a smart speaker.
A smart speaker is valuable because it helps you live a life away from your phone screen. When you have a smart speaker attached to your network via Bluetooth technology, this will prevent you from having to use your phone to turn on podcasts or music; instead, just say your choices to the smart speaker and go about your day, listening and learning instead of being sucked into your phone.
The longer your phone is out of your hands, the more productive you’ll become, and these tips are just the beginning of your lessened dependence on technology. You may even discover that your days feel longer after a digital detox because you’re not distracted with your phone or notifications any longer.
Every single day is a balancing act for you; maintaining a busy household, looking after your kids, growing a business and taking care of your health are all major items on your agenda. You can’t afford to push any of these things to the side, so you need to learn to keep everything ticking along seamlessly. Everyone knows that raising children is time consuming enough, let alone working on the other areas of your life. Consider the following six healthy hacks for a busy working mom and you will soon feel much more energized and confident when it comes to balancing it all.
1. Simple Soul Food
Eating well is a vital part of balancing a healthy routine. If you neglect your health, every other aspect of your life is going to suffer. Make sure you prioritize simple soul food every day without fail; this authentic cuban picadillo recipe is the perfect way to nourish your body as a busy mom. Cooking healthy meals from scratch doesn’t need to be time consuming, you can make batch meals and freeze them for a later date.
2. Get Organized Ahead of Time
Don’t leave your organizational ideas until the last minute; this will definitely stress you out and bring chaos to your household. Getting organized is all about creating healthy habits that work for you, whether that’s a calming bedtime routine or an energizing morning ritual.
3. Keep Your Family Schedule Up to Date
Knowing where all of your kids need to be at any given time is so important. Keeping your family schedule up to date will save time and unnecessary stress. The most effective way to do this is to keep a calendar in your kitchen with all of their latest appointments and activities so you never forget a thing.
4. Don’t Forget Date Night
Time alone with your significant other is so important, so make sure you don’t forget date night. Even if you only manage it for once a month, you will definitely see the difference in your mood and energy levels if you make time for the person you love.
5. Manage Your Work Time
When you work from home and have children to look after, everything can seem a little overwhelming and hectic. Separate your work tasks into small, digestible chunks so that you don’t feel overwhelmed with your workload every day. Being able to prioritize will be a life saver when it comes to getting your business tasks done.
6. Be Smart With Self Care
Healthy food is a huge part of staying healthy and so it self care. If you don’t allow yourself time alone from time to time you are going to be zapped of energy pretty quickly. Schedule important appointments with yourself and make sure you stick to them!
Hopefully, these six healthy hacks will help you to maintain your energy levels as a busy working mom so that you can stay energized no matter what life throws your way.