At this stage it is around three weeks into 2019, and to be completely honest I couldn't be bothered with making new year's resolutions at all. I felt great with this decision because I thought to myself 'Hey, I'm going against the grain. That is a good thing right?'.

Soon I began to realise why people make resolutions in the first place. Weeks have passed and I still haven't changed a single thing about myself. I'm still reading the same book I started around May 2018 and I still haven't gotten back into my work-out streak I abruptly ended in November.

My excuse? Well to be honest, my life has been flipped upside down. I've had family members pass away as well as my dog and cat all within the span of a few months. And I even had to deal with my first ever breakup. It actually does seem like a pretty valid excuse now that I think about it. But you can only go for so long until you realise your life has fallen off the tracks.

So anyway, here are some goals I want to reach before the end of 2019:

1. Look after myself

My daily morning ritual consists of me waking up in a cold sweat for sleeping in for far too long (I'm talking 9-11 hours sprinkled with numerous naps), getting up and making instant coffee with full cream milk (despite my lactose intolerance) and lying back in my bed and watching TV until I get bored.

I do this every single day. No joke. Ideally, I would want to change it to the following:

Wake up at an ideal time according to a sleeping schedule (already this seems far too ambitious), make lemon water to get rid of toxins (I used to do this all the time and I loved it), also make tea (try to minimise my coffee intake as it makes me far too jittery) and walk the dogs in the morning when it is still cool outside.

I feel like by going for a walk in the morning not only does it get all the cardio out of the way, but it also increases my mood drastically and makes me sleep better at night.

There are also other rituals I need to get into the habit of like:
- meditating
- looking after my skin
- cleaning my room more often (and minimising my spending)

It just feels nice once you get into the habit of something. But I also need to remember to start with one ritual at a time so that I'm not overwhelmed.

2. Get my gosh darned license

At this stage I am 19 which is still young, but then again it means that I should already be on my green P's. I have my test in 4 days (omg holy balls) and I am low key extremely nervous. I also hate 18 year old Amanda for not driving enough with my dad and leaving it on the back burner for so long.

I kind of have my doubts to be completely honest. The driving test only goes for 30 mins but I usually do not cope well under test conditions, and I already know that I won't be able to sleep sufficiently the night before.

I've spoken to all my friends for tips on the test, read a million forums of people's experiences with it to the point where I've gone completely crazy and have had a nightmare almost every night about it. I've gotten to the point where I'm just like 'Shutup and drive' (Rihanna if you didn't get the reference).

The pros of being able to drive by myself are through the roof so let me just emphasise how good it'll be by making a list:

- I'll be able to take myself to and from work (no longer having to ask my family, catch an Uber or walk)
- I'll be able to work more because I don't have to disturb my parents
- I could get a new and better job that are a little further away because now I can drive
- If I felt like going to the beach by myself I could totally just do it
- I'd be able to see my friends more often
- Goodbye dreaded public transport!
- I get to play my music in the car
- I'd go to uni more often because I can drive to the station

Those are just a few pros. I hope I pass my license first go and if not, I plan to get it before February ends if I'm not cursed with the long wait times for the bookings. Wish me luck!

3. Try to be more happy

It is not a simple task to be honest. I suffer from depression and anxiety so being genuinely happy is harder than it should be. There are things that make me happy like watching a good movie, listening to music, reading a book but I feel that they only make me temporarily happy.

I want to find something that'll make me more happy. Like maybe trying a new hobby or picking up a sport so that I can make new friends. Just something new honestly. I mean I've always wanted to start swimming again. There is nothing stopping me from doing so except for myself. But it would be nice to find a friend to do with it so I'm not alone.

I'm going to end this post here. My brain is on fire as it is currently 45 degrees celsius! I know this was a very personal post but I thought it may help some people out.

Thanks for reading!

- A.S

Spring Cleaning

Hey guys!

It has honestly been way too long since I have posted on this blog and honestly, I don't have a valid excuse other than being bombarded with laziness and uni. And it is exactly that attitude that makes me want to change this spring. Some people wait until New Years to create resolutions, but I personally think you can change yourself at the drop of a hat.

Although Spring has technically sprung over a month ago, it has only been until recently that the weather has been warming in Melbourne. I, for one, prefer cold weather because not only do I love to hibernate but I also have chronic hay fever. My hay fever is so bad that I have not been to uni in weeks due to the hassle of carrying dozens of tissues in my bag, and making everyone on my train think I am contaminated. So what have I changed to help this?

Well, thanks to my mum I now own a salt lamp that is supposed to help alleviate hay fever symptoms. May I also add that my lamp is in the shape of a crystal ball. Very snazzy. I must be a bit honest, I'm not sure as of yet if this lamp has been working however, I recently walked my dogs past a guy mowing his lawn and I didn't even have the urge to sneeze.

Whether this salt lamp has worked already or not I'm not sure, but I think my sneezing is mainly due to changes in temperature and DUST. It is a very vicious cycle of me not wanting to dust my room because it triggers my sneezing and my sneezing because I haven't dusted my room. Solution? Spray a rag heavily and then wipe the dust so it doesn't float around everywhere.

For the past week, I've also been trying to become more active. Over the winter I have gained 5kgs and it seems to become a pattern every single year when it comes to winter time. I haven't become too strict with my diet as of yet, as I've found over the years that if I do so I'll just end up binge eating. And so far, it has been working. I'm stressing more on moving around and getting at least 30mins of cardio a day, which I'll soon have to balance with some strength training.

And trust me, I am an extremely lazy person so it is not easy for me to be active. But it is important to know that the hardest part of becoming more active is simply starting. Once you've started you become slightly addicted to it, trust me.

Lastly, I move my furniture around in my room so that I have more sunlight coming in. My bed used to block my window but now my room feels more airy. By moving my furniture around I also managed to find dust bunnies sitting behind my furniture, most likely the cause for my chronic sneezing.

I also thought to clean out some of my drawers too. I managed to throw out an entire trash bag of junk, not my proudest moment. I do donate all my clothes and ask my family and friends if they want my old stuff. Frankly, writing this now I can't remember what I threw out most likely because it was just junk that did not matter to me (such as dried out PVA glue).

I deeply recommend cleaning out your drawers. Although you can't visibly see the stuff hidden in your drawers ever since getting rid of some junk it feels like weight has been lifted from my shoulders.

Although I mentioned previously that I don't think you need an excuse to make a change, if you're reading this and find yourself guilty of any of my habits then I recommend that you just start with something! It could mean simply taking all the glasses from your room and putting them away in the dishwasher, or just going for a walk. With spring here too, it is likely it is a nice day.

Amanda.S :)

How to Push 'Play' on Your Minimalist Journey

Almost a year ago I started to blog about starting a minimalist lifestyle. Now, no-one is perfect however I need to admit that I have only barely made any progress because of the sheer amount of material possessions I've accumulated over my lifetime so far. I have drawers full of art supplies that I hold onto because they occasionally come in handy, I just counted 27 bottles of hair products in my bathroom (I share with 2 sisters which makes it more justifiable but still), I have enough makeup to last me a lifetime & my book collection has grown so out of hand that my shelves can't handle the weight. How did I get to this stage?

If I think about it, I used to share my room with my sister when we were younger. I could say that despite being an OCD clean freak when I was about 9 years old, around 60% of the stuff in my room are from 10+ years ago. I slowly come to realise just how long material possessions can last for. For example, I made a post last year counting all the perfumes I own and another post about the makeup products I own. I mentioned that I had 23 perfumes and a whopping 297 makeup products (which since then has probably grown a tiny bit more). I have been slightly motivated to use things up as I have posted several 'empties' posts. I can proudly say that I've since used up around 8 perfumes which honestly is quite a lot. This means I now own 15 perfumes which is still much, but an improvement from before. A lot of my perfumes didn't have much product left in the bottle but my hoarding tendencies made me latch onto the product to remember the memories attached to it. It made more sense in my head to be honest, and I can't even think of why I grow so attached to material possessions in the first place.

For those who are constantly working and are finding themselves to be stressed read this article from Mind Body Green (my favourite lifestyle blog) which comments on the small changes you can make to live a lifestyle with a smaller carbon footprint without too much effort. 

I think it is just the way I've been brought up. Both my parents grew up in Poland where they were taught to give material objects a second purpose (which I still admire, such as saving old jam jars to use as vases, pen holders, etc). However most things I own don't have a second purpose such as empty perfume bottles that can't store anything in them and just collect dust on the shelf. Therefore, it is important to draw the line of what to re-purpose and what to simply throw out. Throwing out stuff makes me sad too because I can't help but think of all the waste I'm producing. Which is why it is important to buy less which will lead to less waste. It's as simple as that. Everytime I shop for something I like to ask myself 'Do I really need this?' or more importantly 'Do I already have this?'. The second question is more important because it allows for me to run a mental image of what I already own at home.

If you want to begin your minimalism journey the first and most important step to take is to find one thing in your room that does not need to be there. If it doesn't bring you happiness, if there is dust on it & if you haven't thought about it for a long time are the 3 main signs of something that you need to get rid of (points that Fumio Sasaki has mentioned in his book 'Goodbye, Things'). And that doesn't necessarily mean you have to throw it straight in the bin. If it is a stuffed animal or a clothing item or anything that can have a second life you can donate it to the Salvation Army or a family member who will get better use and happiness out of it. It is important to consider the environment and the well-being of others when minimising your possessions. By doing this, you're maximising the potential for other people's happiness and it is important to not become solely wasteful.

I have learnt for almost a year now that it is definitely not an easy journey if you want to minimise your possessions. I know that I truly won't become a minimalist because I am a maximalist at heart, but there are things I want to collect and other things that I'd want to minimise. For example: I love my Simpsons DVD box set collection because I know that I will get use out of it at any time in the future. The same goes for the majority of my book collection, although I do see myself donating some titles that I dislike or never seem to read to Salvos. It is all about knowing what you personally need and don't need, what you like and dislike and putting those together to establish what you want to minimise. I know I want to minimise the amount of art & office supplies in my room because I seem to have hundreds of pens that last almost for years at a time and that aren't fully recyclable.

What do you own too much of? What would be the first thing you would donate or throw out? I'd love to know! I love to read comments when I get them so please don't be afraid and start a discussion.

Amanda. S