Let’s first just start off that this RUT of mine took a while to realize I was even in one. For multiple reasons – most of them being small everyday things I was overlooking, but that’s also probably why I was ignoring them for so long. Overall they can feel minor at times, but when they continue to go on for too long – they become much more impact-full than you can even realize.
I’ve had a lot of changes coming into my life this year, some planned, some very unexpected… and some very positive. Turns out I wasn’t fully balancing everything well, and it forced me to take a big step back this weekend and evaluate what I was letting go, what I need to introduce back into my daily routine, and just overall better manage my time with my full time job, blogging, and self care.
Want to start with some changes that were really the jumpstart of my RUT. First major change was losing my job in February. This really came out of nowhere and clearly not part of my plan. I was miserably unhappy at my last employer – for many reasons that do not need to be shared – but this still completely gut punched me for many reasons. One – I live paycheck to paycheck. I am able to save a little each month, but one of the reasons why I bartend is because I need money for vacations, fun things, paying off some debt, supporting my blogging, etc. Losing my main source of income was SCARY to say the least. I was given severance, still received my bonus from the previous year – but I wanted to use that money for something other than supporting myself UNTIL I found something new. Second reason this rocked me was all the sudden I had ZERO schedule to follow. I didn’t have to be somewhere at 8 am, I had no work routine to follow, no projects to focus on, and my time was spent in front of a computer job hunting for 6-8 hours a day and blogging in between. It was rough. I am ALWAYS busy and going from one thing to another. When that was taken away I was a little lost. Third reason is I’m very creative and my job was also in a creative space. All of the sudden I didn’t feel like I was contributing to something important. I would think of all the unfinished projects I was a part of. Even though I wasn’t happy at my job, the work I was doing was important to me and I would get sad and angry knowing that I wasn’t able to finish projects I put my heart and soul into, I wouldn’t see them through, they would be taken over by someone else who didn’t have my passion and drive behind them.
To say I was overwhelmed with all of these emotions was as an understatement. I was also lonely. Even though I didn’t love my job, having people to talk to daily at the office, see daily, go to lunch with… that interaction was also taken away from me and while you’re at home worrying and stressing… your friends are all at their jobs, working, and don’t have all day to comfort you or be there when I needed or wanted to talk. Which is fine… I didn’t expect anything other than what they could give. It’s just still lonely. I’m was (am) also single. I love being on my own- but that also meant I didn’t have someone special there for me daily, and no one to fall back on if financially things went really south. I don’t expect anyone to take care of me, but during this time I really was missing every kind of human connection.
Second change, that I knew was coming, was my parents moving out of town. This was particularly hard for me because I’ve always lived in the same state as my mom and dad. I could go home whenever I wanted, my home base was only 45 minutes away, and I had that sort of “safe” feeling that was so comforting in the midst of everything else going on in my life. When I lost my job – all my energy went into finding a new one, and I quickly realized the time was approaching FAST that my parents were going to move. Not sure I really let it sink in because my focus was elsewhere – then all the sudden… they were gone. It was a weird feeling – not because I wasn’t happy for them because I definitely am, but because I felt like I didn’t give myself the time to appropriately say goodbye to the house I grew up in, or really grieve the impact of this change. It’s been a few months now – and it still hasn’t fully hit me, mainly because I haven’t gone back to my home town too much, or passed the house… but it’s been sad for me in different waves.
Let’s now talk about some positives that came from these changes! While it was rough – there is always some silver lining. One of them being I got to really focus on my blogging when I was unemployed. Did lots of stories, try ons, was able to take photos daily instead of jamming over a week’s worth into a Sunday afternoon, and got to connect with so many new bloggers by being more active in the app! It gave me a little taste of what it would be like to do this full time which was very cool.
My relationship with my sister got so MUCH STRONGER during this time. We’ve always been close – but we talked daily, weekly over the phone, and she constantly checked in on me, and I am so grateful for her and how she showed up for me during those two months. She’s also a powerhouse in the business world so not only was she helpful in just overall support – she guided me on interviews, my resume,and what I should really focus on when I’m looking for something new. There were so many things I knew I DIDN’T want in a new employer – but she really helped guide me on what she though I should look for and the type of manager I should be working for, based on how unhappy I was at the last employer. She gave me tough questions to ask people in interviews to make sure that what I was looking for , what was important to me… was actually important to them as managers, and that there was truly a support network behind the employer. Beyond grateful for her during this time – not sure I put that into words for her – so hopefully she is reading this now 🙂 Thank you Val, love you!
I’m so grateful that I had the bar. I worked extra shifts and picked up week nights and was able to make a lot more money than I usually do just working one night a weekend. Wasnt comparable to my normal income… so Getting my new job after two months and a week of being unemployed was like the AMEN Hallelujah I needed! It really took so much of my stress away that centered around my finances, routine, sense of contribution to society… and I started on a new adventure with an amazing company! This positive change however, has also been the reason I sunk into more a personal RUT… and here’s why.
My company is in the software industry – new to me and so much to learn. They’re very lax on when you show up, managing your time, and overall give you the autonomy to come and go as you please to get your work done. This is something new to me – so I decided to stick to my normal 8-5pm to get back into a regular routine. I also wanted to be in early to connect with our Berlin office (as most of our expertise is in Germany – and we only have a small window of time to connect due to the time change). I am beyond excited for this new role and all the opportunity at my new company – so I really wanted to have an open mind, learn as much as possible in the first few months, and really hit the ground running. I slowly realized my hours were turning into 8-6PM, then sometimes 7PM… then I got two new clients, both amazing – but demanding! I’m new – so things were taking longer to complete than what I expected and this caused a little extra stress. This increase in time at the office, and the overwhelming sense of “lack of experience” with what I was doing, … really started to weigh on me. This new stress carried over into my personal life in small ways that just piled up over time, and this past week I realized how bad of a RUT I was in.
To give you an idea of what I’m talking about… I was working early and coming home late. I was tired. Exhausted. Mentally exhausted. Physically exhausted. Was trying to take photos in between for the blog, or on lunch – but I’m not driving to work anymore so I couldn’t just toss my tripod and change of clothes in the car – that was a new stress I wasn’t used to in managing my time. I was running out of photos and taking quick ones that I wasn’t happy with, but I was tired so it was better than no photo. I would come home and face dive into my couch. I would lay there and watch mindless TV, fall asleep on my couch, not wash my face, sometimes I wouldn’t even change out of my work clothes, wasn’t cooking myself healthy meals – or any meals really, was ordering pizza, getting take out, and just honestly not paying attention to anything related to self care. My blogging took a dive – constantly running out of photos, not doing stories, not making time to do the thing I love the most that has been my baby for the past year. My apt was always messy – things out of place, dishes piling up, wasn’t doing my normal weekly vacuum and dusting like I should have. I was staying up till 11PM or midnight (something I never do) and really just wasn’t doing anything productive because in my head I needed “rest”. Rest is definitely needed, but I was straight up being LAZY. Coming home to a disaster of a living space daily does not reduce stress – it makes it worse! I should know these things by now.
I’ve also gained weight. I’m not calling myself fat, but I’m not happy with how I look and I think everyone can relate to this. Regardless of your natural body type – there are times when we know we look good, we feel good, we’re mentally looking at ourselves in a positive way. I am not in this place right now. I’ve been making bad eating choices, neglecting the gym and making excuses for months, using my “bad hip” as a reason to be scared to go for a run again, and honestly not loving what I see in the mirror. Clothes can hide a lot – so before you judge me or think that I’m already skinny, I’m not where I want to be…and I really have no one to blame but myself. I wasn’t making healthy eating habits a priority – or going to the gym. This is something that has always been important for me not only for the physical appearance aspect, but also my mental well being. Working out relieves stress, balances hormones, makes you happy, and really just detoxes the day from your body with a good sweat.
My habits in general were awful. Not eating right, not cleaning, not going to bed at a decent hour, not doing anything productive when I got home, laying around, sleeping to much on the weekends, not writing, not taking good pictures… I had no routine for myself outside of work – and that’s no longer OK. At work – my calendar is packed, color coded, timed perfectly with deadlines… I am a MACHINE with prioritizing and getting my projects done. Master at multitasking… so when I look at work Kelly… and everyday Kelly – where was this huge disconnect coming from? I needed some work Kelly back in my personal life and FAST.
Here’s some small things I’m doing to get back on track…
- Healthy Habits & New Routines. It’s so important to establish a nightly routine. For me this is going to be gym time, eating a healthy meal, washing my face, sitting down to relax with an hour of TV or reading a night MAX, writing, and going to bed at 9:30-10PM every night. I also need to make better eating choices during the day – I’ve started ordering Freshly meals to help with this! They’re easy to order, already made – just heat and eat, and very affordable! This takes the prep work out of meals, they’re easy to bring to the office for lunch, and I won’t be wasting food because I’m too tired to cook and it all goes bad!
- Clean. You would think this is a no brainer – but it’s the first thing to go for me when I feel busy. Put my laundry away, clean my dishes as I go and right after I’m done eating, keep my place vacuumed and dusted weekly, and get rid of anything that’s piling up I don’t need. All of these tasks takes minutes at most – but when you let it go it takes FOREVER to get back to normal. Keep it clean daily and this does not become and added stress.
- Prioritize. What is important to me? Working out, spending quality time with friends, reading, writing blog posts, taking photos, catching up with family, relaxing in a proactive way… this needs to be part of my daily routine. Not everyday – but managing my week and fitting in the important things is going to help. I also need to make sure I don’t take on too much. Saying no is OK if it means you need time to focus on yourself. My work calendar has been implemented into my daily life calendar. Color coded, important things first, and tasks that I need to stay on top of are now in my personal calendar!
- Weekends. My weekends look a little different than most, due to my bar tending. Late and long hours that keep me up till early am the next day. This adds to my exhaustion and usually means I don’t get done what I plan to because I sleep in late or lay around all day before my next shift starts. Going forward I’m making a schedule for weekends to make sure I can grocery shop, catch up on errands, spend time with friends, and get most of my photos and posts ready for the coming week. More importantly I cannot lay around all day. This just makes me more tired and when I realize I got NOTHING done… I stress.
- Managing Stress & Sleep. I see a therapist every Monday to stay level headed, talk about work, relationships, and overall move towards a better version of myself. I was skipping a lot – and this definitely added to the stress I already had. Being able to vent, speak through my issues, and work towards change is something I need to make a regular thing. I also need to manage my sleep schedule better. Just sleeping to sleep, or resting all day, or not moving from the couch can actually make me MORE tired. I need to go to bed a decent hour so I’m refreshed in the morning and ready to go. The later I stay up – the worse I feel the next day, and I hit snooze. This makes me rush in the morning, makes me late, and starts your day off with stress. No bueno. Rest is important, but I was taking it to an unhealthy level.
- Self Care. Most important. Take quality time for you when you need it! Wash your face, do a mask, give yourself a hair treatment, read a book, go for a run, get a small workout in, splurge on some new makeup or hair tools, get a massage, get your nails done, have a cocktail with your bestie, group chat about your fav show… all these small things should not be a “treat” or something you do “if” you have time. Make time for you! Also – Multi Task! Want to do a face mask but also need to make dinner? Put on that mask and cook at the same time. Need to tackle 6 loads of laundry – but also need a bubble bath? Put that load in and soak yourself for 30 minutes during the wash cycle. Need to call your mom, sister, bestie? Chat for 30 minutes AND clean our your closet. Be productive while taking care of yourself.
I have gotten away from so many basic and small routines and honestly just needed to detox my life this weekend. Today starts a new healthier version of me and I hope you all hold me accountable. I hope this also helps you realize that life happens, and you can make simple choices to slowly turn everything around for yourself. Change happens, life happens, relationships happen… but you still need to focus on YOU first. I’ve let myself slip and it really does effect every aspect of my life in ways I didn’t realize until they piled up and exploded. This weekend I did all these things and got back on track, made a schedule for this week which included work, afterwork schedule, working out, healthy eating, and everyday minor reminders for tasks – and I already feel so much better. Long way to go – but I already feel like my RUT is on it’s way behind me.
What are things you do to manage healthy habits? I want to hear your ideas… Leave your comments!