Embracing Rest

Hello from outside on the patio of my in-law’s home in South Florida. It’s 79, partly cloudy, and I’m looking out at the river as the sounds of wind and gently moving water make this a completely relaxing experience. I know I’m on break from content creation, especially video, but I felt compelled to write today, mainly because I don’t have much else to do at the moment.

You see, 2 days ago I tested positive for COVID. After 2 years of an abundance of caution… such is life. I caught it from my husband who caught it from somewhere else. We think it was the first hockey game we went to, but his symptom turnaround was only 48 hours so we aren’t exactly sure. He took a test Thursday and was negative despite symptoms, so I figured it was just a cold and foolishly didn’t put any effort into keeping my distance. He tested again Saturday and was positve. I knew then that I was doomed, despite my testing negative on Saturday. Pro tip: take your test at least 5 days post-presumed exposure. That’s when you’ll test positive if you have it.

Anyway, thankfully I was totally asymptomatic the day of my positive test. 24 hours later I had body aches that required ibuprofen, but they were the kind of body aches that could have been a COVID symptom, could have been a CMT symptom, or could have been because I haven’t done much by the way of activity the last 3 days. Today, 48 hours post-positive, I feel like I have a cold. No cough, no breathing issues, but without the help of Sudafed (the stuff you have to buy at the pharmacy. It’s the only way to go, trust me) my nose is running like a faucet. Given I know people personally who have come very close to death from this illness, I count myself beyond lucky to have such a mild case. Shoutout to my vaccines. For reference, I’m vaxxed and boosted, and was going to plan to get a second booster, but I guess that has to wait now.

Why am I telling you this? Isn’t this post supposed to be about rest?

Rest, and lots of it has basically been forced on me over the last 48 hours. By some miracle, neither of my in-laws has tested positive, so we COVID patients have been secluded to 2 specific areas of the house. My husband is already 5 days out from the onset of symptoms, so he’s allowed around more of the house than I am (masked of course), but what once was his quarantine area is now mine. I did spend some time pacing around the room to get steps in, but overall I’ve been laying low, and I am finding it to be both incredibly frustrating and very valuable at the same time.

For those of us that don’t take long rests easily, it can be a really hard thing to embrace. All I want to do is something that feels productive, despite the fact I am off of work. I want to work out, I want to be able to cook meals or make banana bread out of those rotting bananas in the kitchen. I want to have the power to go somewhere, or even sit in the same room as my MIL and watch TV together. Instead, it’s me and miss Gracie in our little spot.

It’s frustrating.

But as I sit out here in the calm of this Florida day, I also am very thankful for the opportunity to embrace rest in a way I haven’t embraced it in a long time. To be honest with you, I can’t exactly remember how long it’s been since I have had a sickness that has taken me down enough to warrant any days of just resting, which is a blessing and I praise God for my good health, but also…wow…I don’t remember the last time I slowed down.

This has turned into the opportunity to do just that. I’ve spent time reading. I’ve listened to several modules of a course I’m in. I started a watercolor course in Procreate. Yes, I’ve spent a little too much time scrolling my phone and getting lost in Harry Potter themed YouTube content, but hey, it’s relaxing to me. I’ve also allowed myself to sleep in as long as I wanted. My husband and I finished our Harry Potter audiobook journey and watched 2 Harry Potter movies (while he was + and I wasn’t yet). Heck, I’m writing a blog post entirely because I want to! It has been a true break.

We had plans to go to all the places, and do a lot of things, and while it would have been experiences and adventures, it would not have been REST. Don’t get me wrong, we still have plans to go do a few things once we are allowed to integrate back into society (I’m looking at you, Harry Potter World), but I was given the gift of rest before an adventure. Of calm before energy-zapping chaos.

I haven’t worked out in days. As it currently stands, it’s 2:30 pm and I have 1700 steps today, and you know what? The world has not ended, I haven’t gained 5 lbs, and I haven’t taken giant steps backward in my goals. Actually, I woke up this morning 1 pound lighter than I was yesterday, which tells me that this rest might be exactly what my body has been craving.

Nothing horrible has happened because I have been forced to rest for a week. Nothing.

I can’t tell you how freeing that is to me.

I just felt the need to share that with you today. I will be continuing to take this opportunity for some deep rest. My goal is to return to you in June energized, fired up, and truly ready to rock and roll, with burnout being far, far away because I finally gave it what it was telling me I needed months ago. It took catching COVID to get it done, but at least it’s happening.

Take care, stay healthy, and I’ll see you soon!

Operation: Back To Brianna

Oh hey there! It has been a minute!

I have been thinking about this little website of mine for quite some time now, and I have felt called to bring it back. I don’t think it’s an accident that the word “resurrection” has been on my mind seeing how it is almost Easter, and resurrecting this blog is exactly what I want to do.

It takes me back to my roots. The place I started creating content online in the first place. I feel called now more than ever to look back on things I used to do in an effort to spark something in me that I feel hasn’t quite been there lately.

Don’t get me wrong, I’ve been trying. For the last 2 years, heck, maybe even since I moved to Minnesota I’ve been trying. No matter what I try, I find myself burnt out and not finding what I’m clearly searching for, and the more I try, the quicker it happens.

I honestly believe that I’m languishing. Have you seen that article? The one that came out at the end of 2021 after we’ve been knee-deep in this pandemic for longer than we anticipated? Here’s an excerpt that pretty much sums it up.

At first, I didn’t recognize the symptoms that we all had in common. Friends mentioned that they were having trouble concentrating. Colleagues reported that even with vaccines on the horizon, they weren’t excited about 2021. A family member was staying up late to watch “National Treasure again even though she knows the movie by heart. And instead of bouncing out of bed at 6 a.m., I was lying there until 7, playing Words with Friends.

It wasn’t burnout — we still had energy. It wasn’t depression — we didn’t feel hopeless. We just felt somewhat joyless and aimless. It turns out there’s a name for that: languishing.

Languishing is a sense of stagnation and emptiness. It feels as if you’re muddling through your days, looking at your life through a foggy windshield. And it might be the dominant emotion of 2021.

NY Times Article

This pretty much sums up what I’ve been dealing with perfectly. It’s not depression, but it certainly isn’t good. The more time passes, the longer uncertainty and craziness goes on all around the world, the more I feel called to figure out how to pull myself out of it. The Instagram post I wrote the other day sums up where my head is at.

So…what now?

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I Tried Weight Watchers Personal Points

Wow… it has been over a YEAR since I last posted on this little blog! 😬 Today feels like a great day to post something special:

In case you missed it, I am now 1 exam away from having 4 different nutrition certifications. I’ve spent the last year learning all about calories, nutrition, macros, and the healthy, sustainable way to lose fat and keep it off!

I tried the new WW Personal Points plan just as an experiment. I wanted to see if, using the knowledge I have now, could I stay on track on this new WW plan and still hit what would be healthy sustainable fat loss macros.

The experiment was technically a success, but going back to a WW plan after all of this time definitely brought up some feelings as well. I filmed a whole video of my experiment.

Since this blog was a place of WW content for so long, it felt right to share it here.

If you somehow still manage to find this little place on the internet, thank you so much for being here. Spoiler alert: I want to resurrect this blog in the new year, so hang tight.



October 2020 Goals

It is the final quarter of 2020! Can I get a HALLELUJAH??

Anyway, welcome to October! A new month means new goals, but a new quarter in my Cultivate What Matters Powersheets means it’s also time to refresh my big picture goals for the year. So here’s the thing, I didn’t so much as refresh them as I did scrap them and start fresh.

Don’t judge me. It’s 2020…

Here are my 8 refreshed goals for the last quarter:

  • Complete my nutrition certification course
  • Marriage goals: Have 2 outings for dates (apple picking, etc) as 2020 turned most of our date nights into ordering in and doing things at home. This is fine and dandy, but a little bit of change would be nice.
  • Health goals: Complete a cut (period of being in a calorie defict for fat loss) and reverse diet into maintenance mode. End 2020 in maintenance.
  • Diva and the Divine: Upload 2 videos & 1 blog post each week from now until the end of the year. Set up my 2021 content planner. Learn how to implement a Batch Week for content creation.
  • Home: Declutter my office and do a kitchen/pantry audit.
  • Music: Become proficient at 2 songs on the piano and actually read through 2 theater books on my theater shelf
  • Personal Development: Reading, become a “finisher” (use up my skincare, things in the pantry, etc)
  • Spirituality: Daily devotionals and prayer time.

I’ve simplified, but accomplishing these goals would be huge for ending 2020 on a high note. Now let’s take a look at my action items for the month of October specifically.

Monthly Action Items

  • Complete chapters 9-13 of my nutrition course
  • Deep clean the office
  • Create my Powersheets content for the 2021 release (coming 10/14! Stay tuned!)
  • Finish my CMT day in the life video
  • Make an eye doctor and PCP appointment
  • Go apple picking
  • Read Girl on Fire
  • Read The Slight Edge
  • Read half of Harry Potter and the Order of the Pheonix

Weekly Action Items

  • Meal plan/meal prep
  • Upload 2 videos
  • Publish 1 blog post
  • Spend time at the piano
  • Study time
  • Date night

Daily Action Items

  • Meet my macro target daily
  • Get up early and don’t hit snooze
  • Check of at least 80% of my habits on my tracker
  • She Reads Truth Bible study and 100 Days to Brave devotional
  • Read

I’ve kept things super straightforward and simple, and I even left some lines blank. I’m tired of having wild ambitions for my tending sheets and then getting so overwhelmed I don’t do any of it (which happens to me a lot). Instead, I decided to leave a few spaces blank in an effort to cut out overwhelm. I’m doing enough, and I will feel incredible if I can get all of these things accomplished this month.

I’m looking forward to working hard and actually leaving 2020 better than I came into it, despite all of the madness that 2020 brought.

New! Erin Condren Petite Planners For 2021

*Links in this post are affiliate links. Thanks for your support*

Did I really say “2021?” Why yes, yes I did.

I got my hands on some of the latest and greatest from EC and just in time for me to start my #Last90Days challenge. I am a big fan of having a clean slate when a new challenge or start date for something happens, so this launch is perfect.

The Petite Planner folio system is a way for you to easily customize your own gorgeous folio with 4 books that best suit your needs. The three that I have to share are the meal planner, goals planner, and the 2021 daily planner set.

Before we dive into the books themselves, I just need to take a second to acknowledge just how stunning this icy blue folio is. The photo does NOT do it proper justice.

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August 2020 Goals

Well hello there, blog. Give me a minute to pick you up and dust you off, why don’t you?

Today I’m here to discuss my goals for the month of August. As you probably know by now, I use the Cultivate What Matters Powersheets as my goal planner which helps me come up with monthly goals that are divided into 3 categories: monthly action items, weekly action items, and daily action items.

August always makes me think of back to school season and that fresh start feeling I always had with the new school year. While school looks very different for a lot of people this year, I’m trying to keep the momentum that I usually get from back to school flowing, even if I haven’t been in school since 2009. With that said, here are the goals I plan to schedule and achieve this month.

Monthly Action Items

• Use the Clean Mama Planner

I purchased the Clean Mamma Homekeeping planner at the end of last month because it was the perfect marriage of two of my favorite things: planners & homemaking. I am making it a goal to actively use it because it is very easy for me to set up planners and then not use them. Call it planner overwhelm or just my rebel-obliger tendency, but that’s how it is, so my goal is simply to use the thing. If you want to see a walkthrough of the planner, here’s the video I put out when I first got it.

• Complete Unit 1 of My Nutrition Course

Surprise! In case you missed the announcement, I’m in the beginning stages of getting a nutrition certification! The course is divided up into several units, and my goal is to complete the entire first book (unit 1) this month. I’m already 40% of the way done, so I’m optimistic.

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My Week of Workouts | 5/4-5/10

As you may or may not know, I am a firm believer in all things planning. The more you plan (and actually stick to the said plan) the more likely you are to succeed. That being said, I want to try something new and start planning my workouts to help me stick to it even more. I won’t lie, I’m actually doing a pretty stellar job of sticking to my workout routine as long as it’s already planned, but on the days I have no plan I find it is too easy for me to either half-heartedly sneak my movement in or make an excuse to not do it at all. Thus, “my week of workouts” was born.

Will I share it every week? No, probably not. That’s not because I’m not planning them out, but simply because if it’s the exact same week to week, do you really want to read about it again?

I’m realizing lately that I am starting to feel a bit..what’s the word? Anxious? Uneasy? Unsettled? Maybe unsettled! I’m feeling a bit unsettled about my movement as of late. It’s not that I don’t love my current workout plan, because I do! I just feel like quarantine has taken away a lot of the unintentional movement that I am used to. After Bodypump (or really during any visit to the gym) I get on an elliptical and just go for 30-45 minutes. It’s a great way for me to burn off that extra energy, break a sweat, and even burn some extra calories. I just don’t feel like my legs have bee doing everything they should be doing and it’s giving me a very dissatisfied feeling, despite reaching step goals and such. As I mentioned in my goals for this month, the theme of May is “Level Up” and I want that to include my movement.

This Week’s Workouts

Monday 5/4

Liift 4: Week 3 Day 1- Chest and triceps. This was half weight training, half HIIT training.

Tuesday 5/5

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May 2020 Goals

May is here and I am pretty pumped about it. This month the theme of my goals this month is “level up,” which means I really want to hit the ground running and make some serious progress towards my big picture goals. Last month’s theme of “refresh and renew was nice and necessary, but now it’s time to shake off this quarantine (even though we’re still in it) and really take big steps forward in achieving my goals.

Monthly Action Items

Single tasks that I need to accomplish only once this month.

Bust out of my current weight decade

I have been here for far too long, and it is time to see a new middle number in my weight. Now, I am well aware that this actual goal is centered around something I can’t control (the number on the scale) but the thing I am working on is my effort towards getting there. If I achieve nothing else this month but I see a new decade on that scale, the month will be deemed a success.

Get this blog up and running again

In case you haven’t noticed, I’ve actually posted a few things on here as of late! My goal is to take the deep dive into resurrecting this poor little blog of mine.

Stick to my content schedule

I have a super fun content planner and in the said planner, I put up the blank slate for a rather ambitious content posting schedule this month. My goal is to stick to it. Plain and (not so) simple.

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My “Get Pumped” Playlist

Music is a powerful thing. This is a fact I’ve known my entire life and a tool that I don’t use to my advantage nearly as often as I used to. It has the power to make me feel every single emotion, and there are days that if I start down the rabbit hole of listening to specific songs, you can consider me gone the rest of the day because I get wrapped up in all of the joy and wonder that music brings me.

Remind me again why it is so hard for me to sit down to find time to sing?… 🤔

Anyway, one of my favorite ways to use music is as a tool for energy and productivity. The way I do this is with my “get pumped” song or playlist. This list is songs that psych me up and give me the energy I need to conquer the day. Today I wanted to share that with you. These songs bring me joy and a motivational kick in the rear that I need. I use this in the morning to jazz myself up or as a mid-afternoon pickup to dance around for a few minutes to bring the energy back. Either way, it works.

What songs would go on your “get pumped” playlist?

How To Not Kill Your Spouse While In Quarantine

In my home, we are coming up to day number 50 in quarantine. 5-0! I can’t even comprehend how this whole ordeal has been going on for that long. That’s a significant period of time, so much so that what used to be the weird, new routine with my husband working from home, no gym, church, or regular shopping has now become our new normal. This feels like it just simply is how life is now. The end. I’m not saying that I like it, but that’s what it feels like.

Anyway, this means that my husband and I have not had much more than a few hours of one of us running errands to being in different places, and I am proud to say we have not killed each other yet. As a matter of fact, quarantine has not impacted our relationship in any negative way whatsoever, and I feel like that is a massive accomplishment. We have figured out how to have him work from home and have me being able to do my own thing, whether it’s work in my office or do the cleaning or other homemaking, all in the same house at the same time. It’s a miracle.

Seeing other people complain about their spouses during this time got me thinking about how the heck we actually managed to make this work, and I think it came down to a few things, which is what I want to share with you today. Here are 5 things that my husband and I are doing that are making being quarantined together a piece of cake.

Spoiler alert: Constantly having an open line of honest communication is KEY here. That has to go without saying.

1. Set Boundaries and Expectations

As soon as we knew my husband would be working from home we sat down and talked logistics. It was important for us to make sure we understood our needs throughout the day so we both could get things done. He has a desk and office set up in our guest bedroom and I have my own office. General rules we live by include:

  • If one of our office doors are closed we can’t be interrupted. This typically happens when he’s on a call or when I am filming content. This is also a signal that being a little quieter would be appreciated.
  • I set a rule for dinner time. My husband eats on a weird schedule and sometimes doesn’t come down for dinner until 7:30 or 8. I can’t wait that long, so I set the expectation that if I was doing to the cooking (which I happily will do daily), it needs to be at a time that works for me. So to compromise, I told him dinner will be around 6:30. Not as early as I prefer, but not as late as he prefers. A happy medium that allows me to schedule my day and allows him to know when to expect dinner to be on the table.
  • Who does what chores. I do most of the chores around here, but my husband is willing and able to tackle a list on the weekends, or maybe even a few weeknight chores like cleaning up the kitchen after I cook, taking out the trash, or tidying up whatever whirlwind of a mess he might have made during the day. Don’t start to get bitter towards your spouse because you didn’t set clear expectations of who is in charge of what around the house.
  • Work hours: I know that as a general rule my husband is unavailable for roughly an 11-12 hour window daily. My husband knows that I have a filming day and two one-hour live streams I’m committed to during the week. These are times when we are 100% not available unless we communicate otherwise. Do not expect your spouse to be available if you predetermined what times they’re unavailable

Once you set your boundaries and expectations, you need to stick to them.

2. Get Some Alone Time

I know, you’re quarantined at home so it’s hard to technically be alone, but this needs to be one of your boundaries. Making sure you’re taking the time to do things alone and just for you is super important. Go for a walk or a run, read, spend an hour watching your favorite TV show. I journal first thing in the morning and it’s just me and my coffee and it is glorious. Making sure to take time out for a little bit of self care is essential. Plan it!

3. Intentional Date Nights

Just because we can’t go anywhere doesn’t mean date night isn’t still an essential part of our lives. It is very important to schedule time to be intentional about spending time together. Get creative with your at-home date night ideas. Whatever the case may be, just make sure you’re making the intentional choice to spend time together just the two of you.

4. Have Fun

Take the time to goof off. Laugh. Be goofy. Have a 2-second dance party. Take an hour to turn on your favorite show to watch together or enjoy a quick coffee break. Remember that just because you’re working at home doesn’t mean it’s all work and no play.

5. Have Plenty of Grace & Patience

At the end of the day, there will always be challenges and frustrations. It’s really important to have a little ton of extra grace and patience for both your spouse and yourself. It’s a weird time we’re living in right now. A lot is uncertain, many people are on edge, and whether you realize it or not, this is taking a toll on you. Be patient with one another. Treat your spouse the way you hope they’d treat you if you have a bad day, get grumpy, or leave the extra dishes out instead of putting them away. This is important always, but especially important now.

Now, just because I’m saying that we’re doing pretty darned well in quarantine doesn’t mean it’s not difficult at times, because it is. We do things that gets on the other’s nerves, work stress causes tensions to be high, and not 5 minutes ago did a change in how my husband’s day is going effect something for me that was frustrating. This time is trying and hard and sad and many other things, but I firmly believe as long as we have that list above and a whole lot of love, we will come out of this the strongest our marriage has ever been.