I started this year off sprinting. I woke up on New Years Day….okay actually I woke up very hung over with lots of regrets about the night before. But January 2nd was a new day, and I was revved up and ready to hit the ground running.
By the middle of January, I felt unstoppable. Work was going well and given some temporary changes in staffing, I was getting trusted with more and more responsibility. My personal life was in a good place, I felt like I was doing good with balancing friends, dating and everything else. I traveled to Vegas with some of my best friends. I was getting referrals for new freelance jobs and the blog was seeing more traffic than ever. Plus, I’d just successfully launched on YouTube and those first videos were quickly gaining views and sweet comments from all of you.
I was on a kind of natural high. Everything just seemed to be working, and having everything work was good.
I didn’t make any adjustments. I didn’t pace myself. I just kept saying yes, over and over again. Mainly because I was overwhelmed with just how good things were. I wanted more good, so I kept the door open to it.
But by February, I wasn’t feeling as good. And by the time March rolled around, I was starting to feel drained.
A very close family member went into the hospital and passed away, which was completely unexpected. Balancing working and freelancing started to seem impossible. I was questioning every system I had. Does this really even work? Is this even what I want to be doing? Is this is a smart way to spend my time.
For me, self doubt always starts by questioning small things I’m doing, and then undermining the bigger picture. It starts with does your on boarding process make sense and then leads to maybe you shouldn’t be trying to build something for yourself. Super healthy. We are our own worse critics.
With all of these feelings brewing below the surface, I still needed to keep showing up, meeting deadlines and getting things done. Blog posts went up a bit slower this month and last, but they still went up. Even when I feel my worst, I still manage to show up. I may not be fully there, but I commit to my commitments and try to always keep my word.
That probably sounds like a great trait –being able to show up when you don’t want to, but it actually backfires for me most times. I know all of my flaws, and I’m probably much more critical of myself than I should be. So when people are constantly telling me how much I have it all together, how on top of things I am –it makes me feel like an imposter. If only they knew, I ate frosted flakes and a handful of Goldfish for dinner last night.
Trust me, I get it. I share the highlights on my blog and social media because that’s what I think is most productive to share. Raw and real moments are needed online, but if I wrote a blog post every time I had a bad day or a tough month, the internet would get gloomy real fast. And I think we all turn to blogs and social because we need a little break from the reality of our hard, real and tough moments. That’s why I woke up and started penning this post.
But I don’t like coming here and sharing my problems without sharing a solution.
Because after all of those hard moments, I needed a solution. I was on my way to meet my boss for a work dinner. I had a few hours to kill between work and the dinner, so I took a quick walk. A few blocks in, I realized I was crying. Ugly crying. It wasn’t allergies, it was me. But I couldn’t even start to articulate what was wrong.
So I ran into Barnes and Noble (typical) and bee lined to their journal section. I picked up one about mindfulness. I needed something with guided prompts to just help me figure out what in the world was going on in my head and pull me out of a it a bit.
For the past month or so, I’ve been working on being less in my work and tasks and more connected to myself. Using that mindfulness journal has been incredibly helpful, and I’ve also been working my way through this journal. I think journaling has been so impactful because it makes me feel like I’m actively taking care of myself. I’m also back to doing morning pages every single day and waking up between 5 and 5:30, which has been the hardest thing to get back to. When I’m in a funk, my sleep schedule is the first thing to go because once the lights go out, all of my thoughts and feelings come swarming.
Bullet journaling has also been a huge help. Seeing the big picture, tracking my habits and moods and seeing a visual representation of each week helps put everything into perspective. It’s helped me get clear about some big projects I’m working on and how shorter term projects will impact them. I’ll have an updated video on how I’m using my bullet journal up the first week of may.
If you’ve been going through a tough bit, some things I can say you should do:
1. Acknowledge your feelings, because they’re valid. Write them down somewhere.
2. Try to get out of your own head. We are our own worst critics and we should all be showing ourselves more grace and compassion because we’re all trying our best.
3. Surround yourself with people who make you feel the most alive. I’m so grateful for friends who’ve checked on me, let me ramble when I couldn’t make sense of my thoughts and encourage me.
4. Develop a self care routine. Some thing or a set of things that only serves the purpose of helping you take care of you. It could be laying in bed with a face mask and a book for an hour or waking up and having your coffee in bed
Just be kinder to yourself.