Six Years of Blogging!

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November 21st, 2019 marked six years since I began writing Life of Hayley! I can’t believe that this incredible journey began with one badly written post that I typed up in my sophomore dorm room.

I had just turned 20 when I decided that I wanted to blog “for real”. I had a blog the year before for my freshman English class and I loved it! I’ve always been a writer and had given some serious thought to being a journalism major in college but it just wasn’t in the cards for me. Having a blog has fulfilled my love of writing and has given me something to be truly passionate about.

I’ve come a long way in six years. I’ve learned to embrace being an introvert and all of the awkward things that come along with it. I’ve made some great internet friends and have enjoyed following along with their journeys. I’ve graduated from college, found a job, and have gotten married! I’ve lived in London and traveled all over.

The one constant thing in my life over these six years has been this. Sitting down and typing out my thoughts and feelings for anyone to read. Writing has been my therapy and you have been my friends.

Thank you all for an amazing six years! I’m looking forward to many more to come.

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Photo by Sagar Patil on Unsplash

Living Life Outside Of Your Comfort Zone

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Last week was really hard. I went into 2020 feeling really confident and ready to take on the world. I was comfortable. But maybe I was too comfortable?

When I graduated from college I had no idea what I wanted to do with my life. I felt pressure to find the perfect job and be the girl boss that I had always dreamed of being. I applied for at least 20 jobs in under a month but it took me almost six months and countless interviews before I landed my current job.

The first year was hard and I wanted to quit so badly. I told myself to give it a year and spent my free time looking at job postings. I was miserable in my role and my boss knew it. I made a change and started a new role that I loved right away. I joined this badass team of women who worked hard and really cared about each other. I felt empowered and impactful in my role. I was comfortable.

Sometimes the best opportunities are outside of our comfort zones but we are afraid to make the leap. Last week I didn’t make a leap of faith. Instead I was pushed outside of my comfort zone in the worst way. I was asked to move back into my old role temporarily while our team adjusted to some other transitions.

I cried more tears than I’m willing to admit because I love my team and was so comfortable in my role that I didn’t want to leave. I had finally established myself as a leader and was prepared to have the best year. I saw all of my dreams and career goals crashing all around me and I panicked.

We aren’t meant to live safely inside of our comfort zones. There is so much life to live but we are too scared to see it. I had so many negative feelings about the job that I couldn’t cope with the thought of going back to it. I needed to leave my negative feelings behind me and move on in order to fully become the girl boss that I want to be.

It’s okay to be scared of the unknown and to feel trapped or anxious. It’s okay to want to stay where you feel comfortable. But it’s also good to do things that scare you. This job scares me but I’m going to put in the work and become an expert. I’m going to prove to myself that I can do hard things and make the best of bad circumstances.

My life isn’t over because my plan didn’t work out exactly the way I thought it would. I’m learning to live my life outside of my comfort zone. I’m taking it day by day and learning to trust myself and feel confident in my abilities.

You can tackle any challenges that you are facing. I believe in you.

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Photo by Cristofer Jeschke on Unsplash

Keto for Migraine: 1 Month Update

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I have heard SO many negative comments about the Ketogenic diet and I completely understand. For your normal everyday person a low-carb lifestyle might not doctor recommended. The Keto diet was created for people with Epilepsy and works well for other Neurological conditions. I have chronic migraines and there is no “cure”. I was told that Keto may lessen my symptoms and it sounded better than trying another medication.

One month ago I started following the Ketogenic diet. This is my third attempt and I was really successful on my first two so I went in very hopeful. My other two attempts were more for weight loss so I didn’t track my migraines as much as I should have. This time I’m trying to only focus on my headaches and migraines.

How were my migraines this past month?

I actually had a really great month overall! I caught a nasty cold but I didn’t let that stop me from following the meal plan that I had created. There was no guarantee that Keto would help me but I’m happy to report that I am feeling better! I’ve known for the past couple of years that sugar is a trigger for me so it makes sense that not eating sugar would have a big impact on my overall health. I basically cut my migraine days in half so far!

One of the hardest parts of chronic migraine for me is rebound headaches which are also called medication overuse headaches. I couldn’t beat my headache cycle so I started taking ibuprofen or another type of over the counter pain medication every day to get me through. This constant use of medicine started causing rebound headaches and I ended up in a never-ending headache. By eliminating my triggers I am hoping to be able to end this vicious headache cycle.

Have I lost any weight?

Yes, I’ve lost a little over 10 pounds in a month. In reality I’d like to lose 30 more to be at my “normal” healthy weight. I wrote my weight gain story here if you’d like to understand more about why I say my “normal” weight. Most of the weight loss at the beginning of Keto is just water weight and I’m really not concerned about losing weight at this point. I am tracking it in my migraine journal but it’s not my main goal right now.

Has Keto been hard? 

Not really! I have found myself reading my cookbooks and looking forward to grocery shopping and meal prep. I’m learning new recipes and I feel more confident than ever in the kitchen. My overall mood has improved so much and I think a lot of it has to do with Keto.

My sugar cravings went away after about two weeks. I don’t feel deprived of anything though! I eat a square of my favorite dark chocolate after dinner and that keeps the sugar cravings away. I’ve also found substitutes for my favorite snacks like salt and vinegar almonds instead of chips.

Let me know if you have any questions about Keto! I am not a doctor so please ask yours before you start any new “diet” program. I hate calling this a diet and I only feel the need to share how I am doing for others with migraines who may find this helpful.

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Photo by Brooke Lark on Unsplash

 

My Sunday To-Do List

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Sunday is a hard day for me because I feel so pressured to get everything done. I try to write my to-do list on Saturday so that I can cross off a few items before Sunday rolls around. We usually have plans on Saturday though so it’s hard to get too much done.

After my post last week about the things I do to prepare for my week I thought it would be fun to actually share my to-do list for today. I know that I probably won’t be able to get everything done on this list but I always try to!

  • Clean the bathroom
  • Empty all trashes
  • Clean out the fridge
  • Sweep and mop the floors
  • Finish the laundry and fold/put away clothes
  • Wash bedding and make the bed
  • Deep clean the kitchen
  • Go grocery shopping
  • Prep lunches and snacks for the week
  • Vacuum the couch
  • Change the kitty litter
  • Tidy the living room
  • Dust the furniture
  • Wipe down surfaces
  • Clean the mirrors
  • Organize the coat closet

If I have time I would love to put up my spring decorations. I haven’t re-decorated since Christmas so my house has looked empty for the past few weeks. I’m ready to add some color back into my decor!

Since it is Superbowl Sunday we will be heading to my parent’s house to watch the game and have dinner. I’m going to attempt to make some sort of Keto friendly appetizer for me and my mom.

Who are you rooting for to win the game today? I know nothing about sports so I’m really just in it for the food and commercials!

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Photo by The Honest Company on Unsplash

 

4 Things I Do For A Productive Work Week

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Last year I wrote about the “Sunday Scaries” and about being so anxious on Sunday that I wasn’t able to enjoy my day off of work. I feel so much pressure to get things done that I can’t just relax and take care of myself like I should. Since then I have been working on learning how to breathe and enjoy life.

Even though I am enjoying my Sundays now more than I used to I still have a small list of things that I do during the weekend to help me have a productive work week ahead. I hope that these help you if you are also feeling anxious about getting things done!

  1. Create a meal plan and go grocery shopping. I hate making unnecessary stops on my way home from work. On Monday the grocery store is always super busy and I don’t want to wait in lines or be stuck in cart traffic jams. I like to browse the store ad online, create a meal plan, and go grocery shopping early in the morning on Saturday or Sunday to avoid crowds. I feel really good if I can check this off my list right away!
  2. Make my kitchen spotless. I’m one of those people who just can’t function if my kitchen is messy. I hate cluttered counters, dirty dishes in the sink, and a messy floor. If I am able to start my Monday with a clean kitchen I feel much more ready to tackle my week. I’m also more motivated to cook dinner when I arrive home from work if the kitchen is clean!
  3. Laundry done plus clothes folded and put away. I used to have a bad habit of doing my laundry and then leaving it in the basket for a few days before finally folding it and putting it back in the basket. I hated putting my clothes away in my closet or dresser. Now I make it a goal to have all of the laundry done and put away before Monday morning.
  4. Realize that I won’t be able to get everything done. I’m just one person and there’s no way that I can tackle my whole to-do list in one weekend. I try to get the basics done and make small lists to accomplish during the week. I have stopped putting so much pressure on myself to have the perfect house and I feel so much better! It’s okay to leave some items unchecked on your list. You’ll get to them when you can.

2018 was a really dark year of me but it taught me that I needed to learn how to put myself and my mental health first. Last year I struggled with finding a healthy balance of productivity and relaxing. I’ve made a lot of really good progress and I contribute that to learning how to set myself up for success.

How do you prepare for your work week?

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Photo by Arnel Hasanovic on Unsplash

 

Five on Friday #16

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It’s finally Friday!

This four day week went by way too slowly. Brett and I were both sick last week so we used our three day weekend to watch movies, hang out at home, and cuddle our fur babies. It was a much needed relaxing weekend! We were actually planning on catching a flight out of our local airport and flying somewhere spontaneous. I’m sad we missed our chance for an adventure weekend but I’m glad we didn’t risk it when we were feeling sick.

I haven’t done a Five on Friday since September so without further ado, here are five random thoughts for your Friday morning!

  1. I have the worst under-eye bags and have been in desperate need of a new eye cream. I bought this one from Burt’s Bees in November and have been loving it! I actually bought it for my mom and sister for Christmas to share the love.
  2. Brett and I have been watching Boy Meets World on Disney+. I watched Boy Meets World growing up but it was mostly the later seasons. I’ve loved getting to see every episode and it’s been fun to spend some quality time with my husband watching a new episode every night!
  3. This weekend I’m planning to spend tons of quality time with my family. Tonight we are going to dinner for my cousin’s 10th birthday, tomorrow morning I’m going to my grandma’s house for a game morning with my cousins, aunts, and mom, and after that Brett and I are heading to his sister’s house to babysit our nieces. What are your weekend plans?
  4. I really want to get some new work clothes. My role has been changing over the past couple of months and I need some more business professional clothes. We are pretty casual at work but I have some cool opportunities coming up where I’ll need to be a bit more dressy. Let me know if you have any recommendations on where I can buy work clothes!
  5. I know I said that I need new clothes but I’m really trying to go through all of my belongings and get rid of what I no longer need. We have a pretty small house and I’m tired of the clutter! I’m looking forward to organizing and re-decorating over the next couple of weeks.

I hope you have a great Friday and a fun weekend!

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Photo by Annie Spratt on Unsplash

 

What I Do When I’m Feeling Overwhelmed

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One of my most annoying traits is that I am very easily overwhelmed. I’ve known this about myself from an early age and have always blamed it on the fact that I’m an introvert. Being around people drains me and I get so overwhelmed that I have a hard time functioning.

As I’ve grown older I’ve come to realize that my environment is what overwhelms me the most. I avoid being around large groups of people because having many people talking at once makes me completely lose focus. Sometimes I can’t even hold a conversation with the person sitting next to me because all I can hear are the other voices around me.

When Brett and I bought our house my mental health started to deteriorate. I was so overwhelmed with cooking, cleaning, laundry, unpacking, organizing, etc. Brett and I had an apartment before so it wasn’t the stress of moving in with him that created this monster inside of me. We had way more space in our house than our apartment and I was feeling overwhelmed taking care of all of it.

My environment is important to my mental health. When my house is clean, I am calm. When my house is a little messy, I feel a bit chaotic. When my house looks like a tornado blew through it, I am a hot mess. 

Let’s be super honest here, I’m not the neatest person in the world so I constantly feel chaotic. I’ve learned to deal with these overwhelming feelings in a couple of ways.

  1. I take a quick break. Sometimes I just need a moment to breathe away from the chaos that I’ve created around me. I’ll grab Oscar and head out for a quick walk around the block or just hang out with him in the backyard for a bit. Anything to get me out of my head.
  2. I read a book. Reading is so therapeutic to me. I love getting lost in someone else’s story and it makes me forget about my life for a few minutes.
  3. Create a to-do list. When I’m feeling super overwhelmed I grab my notepad and jot down all the things I think I need to do. This is fun to look at hours later when I’m not so stressed because I can tell how chaotic my brain was when I wrote it. Creating a list gets my stress out of my body and onto the paper.
  4. Have Brett talk me down. Brett and I have been together for almost 9 years so he almost understands me better than I understand myself sometimes. He knows how to deal with me when I’m at my most overwhelmed and always talks me back into a good place.

Being overwhelmed is a normal feeling and there’s nothing wrong with feeling it at times. I always tell myself that I’m stronger than any feeling I’m having and I’ll get through it like I always have before.

Life is for living. By being so overwhelmed with housework I was truly forgetting to live. I’m trying to be better about how I spend my time. One of my Q1 goals is to spend more time tidying and less time cleaning. I hope this helps me calm down and enjoy everyday.

I hope these tips help you if you are also feeling overwhelmed! Let me know if you have any other tips.

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Photo by Jonathan Francisca on Unsplash