Feeling overwhelmed, in a funk, or frustrated? I've felt that way! Here are 3 simple changes I made to encourage a positive mindset. And you can too! // dreams-etc.com

3 Simple Changes I Made to Encourage a Positive Mindset

Happy Wednesday! Is it just me or is Wednesday sometimes the hardest day of the week? Even though the weeks typically fly by, I still wake up on Wednesdays and feel like the rest of the week looms ahead. That’s a good description for how life feels sometimes. I marvel at how fast the year goes by, but at the same time, it sometimes feels like the year is an endless sea of work. Now don’t get me wrong. I love the work I do. This is the first time in my career that I can say I really love (most of) the tasks I do on a daily basis. But when I say daily I mean daily… sometimes it is seven days a week. It says a lot about my mindset this year that I haven’t updated this blog much. Not only that, but two of that small number have been posts about how to take care of yourself when you’re in a funk, or frustrated, or generally just feeling down. Yep, that’s how I’ve felt a lot this year and I hate it. So, I decided I needed to take active steps to fix my mindset. Now, before I get into what I’ve done, I want to say that if you have concerns about your mental health, you should definitely seek a professional. They’ll know how to give you the best support and care.

I knew that a lot of my frustration was due to certain stressors in my life and while I can’t necessarily change those stresses (or if I do, it’ll create a new set of “issues” that I’d be frustrated about), so I needed to make changes to my lifestyle that would leave me feeling less frustrated. Here are three things I’ve done to help create a positive mindset.

Feeling overwhelmed, in a funk, or frustrated? I've felt that way! Here are 3 simple changes I made to encourage a positive mindset. And you can too! // dreams-etc.com


1 // Schedule at least one day off of work each week.

I do freelance work for churches and religious non-profits and I work on staff part-time for a church in the same field, so I usually have a pretty hefty workload. For a while, I had the mindset that I should keep working until the work is finished. The problem is, new things always come up. The work never stops. When I said I work daily, I mean daily. I was working seven days a week and on a few of those days I would work from the time I woke up to the time I went to bed (minus getting ready/a commute, of course). And that’s just not healthy. The only time I would take a day off is when I was so tired I literally couldn’t work anymore. That had to change. I started to schedule at least one day off each week and that has been so helpful for me. I know that I have a day that I can rest and relax, which has eliminated the “all I do is work” mindset I used to have. Sometimes I still put in really long days, but I take advantage of days that I feel more productive and I know I’ll be rewarded with more time off–including shorter workdays–other days.

2 // Stick to a Top 3.

Have you heard of the Top 3? The Top 3 tasks you need to get done that day? It’s supposed to help you create a reasonable to-do list, as long as you create a doable Top 3. (Writing 20,000 words in a day probably wouldn’t be achievable as one task in your Top 3.) At least, that’s my understanding of it.

Whatever it’s official purpose, I’ve been trying to stick to a Top 3 for YEARS. Like, I don’t even know how long I’ve been trying to do this. I’m the queen of unrealistic to-do lists, but I also felt like I wasn’t accomplishing anything. Over the summer I started to bullet journal again. Not the pretty, super detailed kind of a bullet journal; a simple and functional one. I don’t have anything against going all out and decorating a bullet journal. I think they’re so pretty! I just won’t create the spreads I need to create to use it if I plan to do that. I’ve settled into a certain layout for my weekly spread that allows me to see a master to-do list, but only gives me enough space to write in three things to do each day. When I finish the three and have more time, I can look over at my master to-do list and find something else to do, but I end each workday feeling accomplished that I actually crossed off my top 3 (and then some). I only use my bullet journal and Top 3 list for my personal/freelance tasks. I have a different system for the office.

Feeling overwhelmed, in a funk, or frustrated? I've felt that way! Here are 3 simple changes I made to encourage a positive mindset. And you can too! // dreams-etc.com

3 // Read more.

One thing that would always come to mind when I felt overwhelmed and frustrated is: I don’t even have time to read anymore. So I intentionally started to carve reading time into my day. Sometimes it’s during a break once I’m home from the office and before I start doing freelance work. Sometimes it’s right before bed. Sometimes I need a chapter of a book to help get out of the bed in the morning. And sometimes it’s in the car when I get to a meeting early and have a few minutes, like in the photo above. (So much better than mindlessly scrolling through social media!) No matter when I do it, I feel so much better when I have some time to read each day. It makes me feel more centered and grounded. And more content.

Maybe you’re not a big reader. (😱) So find something else that you love, something that makes you happy, and something that you often think you don’t have time for. Intentionally create space in your life for whatever it is. It’s totally worth one less scroll through Instagram or one less episode of TV watched to fit it in. I promise.

What are some of the things you do to create a positive mindset? I’d love to know!


  1. Laura

    August 29, 2018 at 8:56 am

    Girl, you are spot on with how I feel on Wednesdays as well! The rest of the week is truly looming ahead…and i’m not a fan haha However, I feel like this post has truly inspired me to make necessary changes in my life. I’m not happy with a lot of things right now, but you’ve really inspired me to make changes in order to be happy! I’m going to encorporate top 3 into my daily life! Thank you for this! xo

  2. Marta

    August 29, 2018 at 9:26 am

    One of the hardest things to do as a blogger is take that one day a week off. I don’t log my hours like I do at a traditional job, so I’m ALWAYS working. The burnout is real and brutal at times.

  3. andreac88

    August 29, 2018 at 9:46 am

    I like the idea of a Top Three. That would help me focus my day better. And three things is totally doable.

  4. Rhonda C. James

    August 29, 2018 at 10:03 am

    I really should try doing a stick to the Top 3. I always try to squeeze in more, and end up losing focus. Thanks for sharing. Will give it a try 😉

  5. Rebecca @ Strength & Sunshine

    August 29, 2018 at 10:53 am

    Totally agree with those changes!

  6. Cayla

    August 29, 2018 at 11:44 am

    I LOVE this! Wednesdays definitely seem to be a struggle for me. I love the idea of focusing on the top 3 priorities and reading more.

  7. Kiara Catanzaro

    August 29, 2018 at 12:27 pm

    I LOVE this. I usually live life with a positive mindset, but it always helps to have some things to encourage that mindset even more. Your advice on a Top 3 list is wonderful, and I need to try it ASAP. It would change my life in terms of daily to-do lists.

  8. Melanie Hochsztein

    August 29, 2018 at 2:13 pm

    I could definitely spend more time reading as a stress reliever! Great suggestion!

  9. Rina Meushaw

    August 29, 2018 at 2:22 pm

    I totally agree with you – a top 3 list is a MUST! Otherwise, it’s so easy to get overwhelmed and do NOTHING! We don’t want that!

  10. Leah

    August 29, 2018 at 3:10 pm

    Love the top three idea. I also use a basic bullet journal and read as much as possible.

  11. Mary | Mrs Math

    August 29, 2018 at 7:48 pm

    I am not able to take off a whole day a week, but I make a point of taking a few hours off every couple of days. Definitely not where I’d like to be, but as a single mom, it is what it is. Great ideas. I hope I can incorporate them more in my life.

  12. Ciaraboo

    August 30, 2018 at 1:50 am

    Hey I really enjoyed reading this post. It’s so important to look after ourselves and be mindful of the important things in life

  13. Indya | TheSmallAdventurer

    August 30, 2018 at 4:35 am

    I LOVE posts that encourage people to live more positive lives! I’ve also found that regular reading brings me happiness, so I try to schedule it in a few times a week!

  14. Katherine @ The Weekend Fox

    August 30, 2018 at 7:29 am

    I love this post!! It’s such a wonderful reminder to check in with ourselves and see how our mindset is doing. Right away, number 1 hit me because I feel like as a blogger, we don’t always stick to a schedule. I feel like I’m “on” almost all the time even if I’m not at my computer. I also have been trying to read more and it just makes me happier!

    And, Tuesday is my hardest day of the week. Lol

  15. Jasmine Maria

    August 30, 2018 at 9:27 am

    I need to get back into reading. It’s that time where I can “escape” from reality and work lol

  16. Bre @ Bre Pea

    August 30, 2018 at 10:30 am

    I soooo know how you feel, owning your own business there is literally ALWAYS more work to do. So stressful. I think I need to take your advice and say absolutely NO work on one day.

  17. Tiffany Petersen

    August 30, 2018 at 10:55 am

    I love the advice to schedule one day off a week!! Right now with starting my business I feel it is so tough to do, but i bet it would be so beneficial and make me work harder on the days I do work!

  18. Miss ALK

    August 30, 2018 at 11:45 am

    Wednesday can totally be a tough day of the week to get through!! I have been reading more this year and just loving it. 🙂

    xoxo A

  19. Summer @ Coffee With Summer

    August 30, 2018 at 7:01 pm

    Being a ministry wife to a husband who is extremely overworked… YES. You need at least one day if not two days off. It’s so needed for you to be at your best.

  20. Elizabeth Edgar

    August 30, 2018 at 7:31 pm

    I agree with this and I love the advice of doing Top 3. I know what it feels like to not feeling like I accomplished anything at the end of the day. I feel more grounded when I avoid the electronics and go outside with my kids.

  21. Brenna

    August 30, 2018 at 8:57 pm

    I have finally gotten good at taking a day off….now to reading more. I have actually cracked a book recently and it was wonderful.

  22. Katie Walsh

    August 30, 2018 at 9:02 pm

    Read more! You cannot be more right. Every time I am overwhelmed my mind always goes to that I can’t sit down and read a book! And that, more than the actual tasks that are overwhelming, always makes me cry. Great ideas here. Everyone should read this.

  23. Marie Ndiaye

    August 30, 2018 at 9:18 pm

    More reading is definitely something I would like to implement. Since having my son two years ago, finding the time to sit down with a good book has been difficult. Thanks for the motivation.

  24. Christa

    August 30, 2018 at 9:36 pm

    This is a timely post for me. I really need to force myself to take a day off a week, but it’s so hard. Reading certainly is a huge stress-reliever for me. Exercise is also something that quickly improves my mindset.

  25. Emmanuel Damian

    August 31, 2018 at 1:59 am

    I always have a to do list so I won’t forget anything. I also have mini goals to accomplish per week and a checklist!

  26. Life of Creed

    August 31, 2018 at 9:13 am

    I need to start taking a day off. Even on the weekend’s I do a little work in the evening. It definitely needs to be on my schedule. Thanks for the reminder!


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  • Met this handsome fella today. His name is Chauncey. When he blooms he’ll smell like eau de rotting meat and will make everyone swoon. 😍🥴😷 (If you live in the Twin Cities and visit him on Tuesday you might be able to see/smell him in all his glory.)
  • “Spread love wherever you go.” [Mother Theresa]
  • Whether you had a case of the Mondays or you had a great Monday, a photo of a cute dog is always in order.

PS - There’s a new post on the blog featuring this guy and a few other cute dogs. 🐶
  • If you’re looking for me, I am probably buried in the snow someplace, waiting for mail that never gets delivered and wondering if the only greenery I’ll ever see again are the plants that fill my room. What colors do you see when you look outside?
  • Just booked tickets to head back to a city that captured my heart last year. And I’ll be there a little longer this time! Tell me your NYC faves! What should I do? Where should I eat? Where should I get coffee? And any tips for being social while at @vox_con? I can be an awkward one sometimes. 😂
  • Happy #nationalloveyourpetday to my sweet little sidekick. She was a little bewildered by all the snow we got today, but by the end of the day she was frolicking through it. I so appreciate this little girl and all the joy, laughter, and comfort she brings. Tell me about your pet.
  • Let’s see if I can make it through this without crying. If you’ve been following my Stories, you’ll know that I left town on Wednesday. I mentioned that this isn’t a fun trip, but I followed that up with images of cute dogs and a gorgeous view of Lake Michigan. What I didn’t show was a day spent at the hospital as I visit people I love dearly, one of whom is in ICU and may not get better. This would actually be a great segue into “Instagram is curated,” but not today.

Yesterday was a hard day. It was filled with this view, that brought some peace. It was filled with cute dogs, who brought some comfort. It was also filled with a lot of anxiety and tension and sadness. We ended the day in a group and our conversation was filled with tears as we talked about what’s happening right now and how we feel.

And then the tears turned to laughter as we reminisced about the past and talked about dogs.

It brought to mind that quote by the wise Albus Dumbledore: “Happiness can be found in the darkest of times, if one only remembers to turn on the light.” The day I left, a friend and I were chatting and he said, “Your heart must be aching.” And it is. I wouldn’t necessarily describe anything I’ve felt as happiness, but yesterday I was reminded (because I’ve always known this, sometimes it’s just harder to remember) that the heartache and sadness can coexist with easier moments, too.

I can enjoy this view and accept the peace that it brings as I wonder what the outcome of this will be. I can feel the heaviness that I might not see this person again and accept the comfort that these dogs bring me. I can band together with people that I love to live through a rough day, but also enjoy the good moments that we share in the midst of it.

Laughter can accompany tears.

And when I live through days like today, I wonder if it’s exactly what we need in order to get through them.
  • Happy birthday, Valentino! You have the ability to make me roll my eyes, then melt my heart, all within a matter of seconds. You’re such a delight of a Canine Nephew and the best reason for celebration on Valentine’s Day. 😘

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