2021: Third Quarter Goals

I’m a little late with my third quarter goals but I still wanted to get them posted. I tried to be really intentional with these ones because life has been a bit of a struggle lately and sometimes the smallest things feel unbelievably hard.

I think blogging has been so hard lately because this has always been a space where I feel comfortable to share and be vulnerable but right now I don’t feel ready to share everything going on in my life so writing posts feels a bit fake. Blogging has never been about the views for me and I’ve been brutally honest about where I’m at in life. I want to get back to being comfortable sharing but that might take me a bit of time. Thanks for sticking with me!

Here are a few goals for Q3:

  1. Be kind to myself. Sometimes I feel like I’m at war with myself to do better and be better when I really just need to take a break. I want to practice self-care and be kind to myself as I walk through this stage of my life.
  2. Setup health appointments. I go to the Neurologist this week for a checkup but I need to find a new primary care doctor since mine moved away. My SIL recommended one so I want to make an appointment. This doctor was the one who helped advocate for her during her infertility journey so I think it would be a good place to start.
  3. Spend time with friends and family. Now that we’ve pretty much gone back to almost normal after the pandemic I want to make sure I’m catching up with friends and family. I haven’t spent enough time with my grandparents lately and I know I’ve been slacking in the friendship department. I want to prioritize my relationships this quarter.
  4. Celebrate 10 years with Brett. The past few months have been hard because Brett and I haven’t been able to spend much time together. I want to make sure we set aside time to celebrate our 10 year anniversary!
  5. Read 3 books. I used to also say that I wanted to read 3 books and write reviews but that probably won’t happen. I’ve really been enjoying reading lately though and finally read Where the Crawdads Sing by Delia Owens. I’ve already passed the book onto a friend because it was so good and I wanted to make sure she read it too.

I hope you are all doing really well! I’m going to try to catch up on some of the blog posts I’ve missed.

Do you have any goals this quarter?

Photo by Brett Jordan on Unsplash

2021 Migraine and Headache Awareness Month

June is National Migraine & Headache Awareness month. I’ve been pretty quiet this year in regards to advocating and sharing my experience but I didn’t want the month to pass without me mentioning anything. You can read my story about my migraine and headache experience here for background.

One of the biggest challenges I’ve had with having chronic migraine is suffering in silence. I look pretty normal from the outside so having an invisible illness is hard to explain and advocate for. It’s been even harder now that I’ve entered corporate America and I feel like it’s a major roadblock for my career. My team is super understanding but I hate talking about it and feel bad that I have different needs than the rest of the team.

I try to advocate and raise awareness for those suffering in silence or with invisible illnesses as often as possible but June is always a good reminder to say something. The migraine community is greater than I imagined it would be. I never knew that there were so many resources available and I was even able to find a new Neurologist because of these resources. If you are suffering in silence, please know that you are not alone and there may be resources available to help you too!

I’ve tried many different medications and treatments but over the past 15 months I’ve focused on my health and prioritized putting myself first. This was only possible because I was working from home. I never imagined that what would help me the most was simply being at home in a controlled environment.

I’ve learned a lot about migraine and headaches over the past few years and finally feel like I’m in a better place. With the U.S. opening back up after the pandemic I just hope that I’m able to stay in a good place. I don’t know how I’ll feel going back into the office but I hope it doesn’t ruin 15 months of actual progress.

Photo by Carolina Heza on Unsplash

2021: Second Quarter Goals Recap

I was super late with writing my second quarter goals post so it really does feel like just yesterday that I was writing these. Quarterly goals are important to me because they give me something to constantly work on unlike New Years Resolutions that I quickly forget about.

Second quarter was strange. Michigan started opening back up and at first I was okay with it because I thought I’d still be able to work from home but things change. I’m still waiting on some information but right now I feel really unsure and frustrated. I’m happy to be vaccinated and to have things mostly return to normal but some of the things that changed with Covid were nice and I wish that we were able to maintain them.

Here’s a quick recap on my Q2 goals:

  • Spend at least 30 minutes everyday doing something that I enjoy. I was pretty good about this. As things started to open up I found myself slipping into a pretty negative mental space and had a harder time with this goal. I still tried to prioritize things that would make me happy. I’ve loved re-reading the Harry Potter books, working on my garden, and spending time with my sister and her new baby, Lucas. I’ve been able to visit her in New Hampshire twice this quarter which has been the highlight of my summer so for.
  • Work on my nighttime routine. I also slipped a bit with my nighttime routine but I want to get better. I just wasn’t feeling having a whole nighttime routine most days but it’s something I really want to work on.
  • Be a positive change at work. I was feeling really great about this goal until recently when more changes happened at work. I still want to be a positive change but I might have to fake it until I make it for a bit.
  • Be patient with myself. I am really hard on myself but I’m trying to be more patient with myself. I’ve always had myself on some sort of timeline and that’s not working out this time which is super frustrating. I’m still trying to give myself grace and be patient with myself.
  • Continue taking a break from social media. I’ve kind of failed at this lately but I plan on taking another break soon. I’m much happier being off of social media. It makes me anxious and I hate planning the comparison game so I’d rather just stay away from it. I’ve started unfollowing as many people as possible but it might be nice to just start over if I decide to get back online.

Here’s to hoping that Q3 is better for my mental health and I’m able to enjoy a bit more of my time.

How was Q2 for you? Do you have any plans or goals for the rest of the year?

Photo by Mercedes Mehling on Unsplash

2021: Second Quarter Goals

We are already halfway through Q2 but I still wanted to take a moment to share my goals for this quarter. By setting quarterly goals for myself I’m able to actually stick to the goals I set for myself better than if I set goals at the beginning of the year. So much can change in a year so this gives me the chance to re-evaluate every 3 months and set new goals or continue with previous goals if needed.

My goals for Q2 are:

  • Spend at least 30 minutes everyday doing something that I enjoy. I was originally just going to make a goal of spending 30 minutes outside everyday but I want to push myself more than just that. I want to dedicate time everyday to some sort of self-care. That could be taking a walk, reading a book, or working on my garden. Whatever it is I want to be in the mindset of setting this time aside for just me.
  • Work on my nighttime routine. I’ve really been focusing on doing things every night that relax me and set me up for success for the next day. Right now my routine is to log off of work, walk Oscar, make dinner, do the dishes, read Harry Potter while drinking tea, and then shower and go to bed. I try not to watch any tv Monday-Friday and to limit my screen time.
  • Be a positive change at work. I’ve complained about my job for long enough but haven’t done anything really to change the situation. I’m determined to be part of the positive changes that are going to happen on my team. I will be supportive of my teammates and will work hard to be an asset to my team. I also want to make sure that I’m not burning myself out anymore with super long workweeks. I deserve the vacation time that I’m always pushing my teammates to take too.
  • Be patient with myself. This year has been really hard mentally and I’ve brought a lot of it upon myself. I’ve been so hard on myself because I had a goal and I didn’t reach that goal. I feel like I’m drowning in my own expectations sometimes and I need to take a step back and be patient with myself. Good things take time.
  • Continue taking a break from social media. My life is so much better without the constant comparison game that is social media. I’ve eased back into it a bit but I really don’t miss it so I don’t see myself getting sucked completely back in.

You might notice that my goals aren’t that hard this quarter and that’s because I really am trying to cut myself some slack. I’m doing the very best that I can and that’s okay.

How are you doing? Do you have any goals this quarter/month/year?

Photo by Kelly Sikkema on Unsplash

2021: First Quarter Goals Recap

This post is super late and I have no excuse. Sometimes life just happens and I need a break but quarterly goals are important to me so I wanted to make sure that I still shared my recap and Q2 goals so that I can look back on them.

The first quarter of 2021 was a wild ride. I’m debating about how much I want to share about my current journey so there might be a post coming up with some additional details or I might wait until this current storm has passed before I share.

Here’s a quick recap of Q1:

  • Work-Life Balance: I’m happy to say that my work-life balance is much better than it was last year. I’ve been trying to work a more normal amount of hours. I’m still work at least 50 hours a week but that’s better than it was before. I’d life to try to make lunch at least once a month or so but I’m taking baby steps. Year-end is over and tax season is almost over but we are still extremely busy.
  • House Projects: This was a fail. Contractors are busy and lumber is super expensive so a big house project is on the back burner. That’s okay though!
  • Blogging: Another fail. Q1 was way harder mentally than I anticipated. I’m hoping that I’ll be in a better place for Q2 but no guarantees. I’m trying to give myself some grace with these goals. I’d like to get back to blogging regularly again though!
  • Monthly Date Nights: Brett and I have been pretty good about date nights. He’s so busy with work and our schedules don’t line up but we try to spend a couple of hours together on Sunday at the very least!
  • Health: I feel like I did pretty good so far with prioritizing my health. I’ve been trying to move my body and eat healthier so I feel good about the progress I am making. I’m not focusing on scale goals which is a nice change.

How was Q1 for you?

Photo by Vitolda Klein on Unsplash

Best Laid Plans

I’ve always had plans.

I wanted to graduate from college in four years, get a job, get married, buy a house, adopt a dog, and have a baby or two.

Life has a way of reminding you that you can’t control it. You can’t plan for what’s going to happen no matter how hard you try or how badly you want it. Even though I’m a planner I know that life isn’t going to go according to plan and my best laid plans will be thrown back in my face.

Even though I can’t control life making these plans still makes me feel like I have some control. When I feel anxious I make a list. Writing down the thoughts that are racing through my head helps me to feel like I’m in control. That’s how I feel about life too. I can’t control it but making these plans and lists makes me feel like I have a bit of control over the situation.

Right now I’m in a phase of my life where I am constantly reminded that I’m not in control. I have to have faith that there’s a plan for me that’s greater than the one I am wanting. I have to be patient and know that my time is coming.

I had a carefully laid plan for this year. I still have hope that it will be a good year it just won’t be what I had planned and that’s okay too.

Are you a planner? Are you usually able to stick to the plans that you make?

Photo by That’s Her Business on Unsplash

A Beer Review From a Non-Beer Drinker

My husband, Brett, has a blog and a YouTube where he talks about a variety of things like weather, air shows, roller coasters, and beer. His YouTube is mostly beer reviews but we’ve had a lot of fun coming up with ideas and setting up a little studio in our house for him to film. The studio is still a work in progress. We went to Ikea a couple of weeks ago and now I’m working on getting things setup. I’m excited for him to have a space to film soon!

A few weeks ago we had nothing to do so I joined his for a review video. I’m usually behind the camera and I don’t like beer so this was new for me. Check out the video if you want to see my awkward faces and to see our super cute dachshund-mix, Oscar!

I love supporting Brett on this little adventure of his. He has the personality to be a good YouTuber in my opinion.

Do you like beer? Do you watch YouTube? What kind of videos do you like?

Feel free to subscribe to Brett’s channel. We filmed a video at Ikea that will be up soon too!

Social Media Overload

I’ve been on social media for at least 15 years. It all started with Bebo (anyone else remember Bebo?) and has transitioned into TikTok, Facebook, and Instagram. I’ve been feeling drained with all of the information shared on these platforms and I do contribute some of my anxiety to this information overload.

I started taking a break from all social media platforms on March 1st.. I’ve taken quite a few breaks from blogging over the years and I really do think that it’s okay to take breaks. I’ve only taken one social media break though and it was very short lived and actually resulted in me creating a new Facebook profile so I didn’t have to see all of the negativity associated with my old one.

I don’t know how long this break will last. I’m trying to spend the time I would have spent scrolling through Instagram on things that I actually enjoy like reading, taking Oscar for walks, and planning for my garden.

If I miss a tag or liking a post it’s because of this. I do really miss seeing what people are up to so I will try to focus more on WordPress and reading/commenting on posts. I originally considered WordPress to be something that I needed a break from too but blogging can be really therapeutic so I will continue to stay on here for as long as it remains healthy for me.

Something that I have struggled with since I started this blog was how much I should share. It’s easy to overshare while I’m hiding behind a screen but I have a much harder time confronting these things in my real life. Sometimes it’s better to keep things to myself until I’m ready to share and I feel like this is one of those times. Taking this break from social media will allow me to focus on myself like I really need to.

Have you ever taken a break from social media or blogging? If yes, did you find the break helpful?

Photo by dole777 on Unsplash

6 Years Later: A Reflection on Study Abroad

January 24th, 2015 was one of the scariest days of my life. I had no idea what I was getting myself into but I knew that I had to go. I can’t even explain it but I had this feeling that I was meant to live in London. I’m the type of person who hates change so moving to London was very out of character for me but with every fiber of my being I knew it was the right decision.

In 2019 I wrote a reflection of 4 years after studying abroad and it’s interesting to see how some of my feelings have changed or strengthened since then.

It all started in 2011 when I went on a high school band trip where we traveled to 7 countries in Europe. Our first destination was London and from the moment I stepped off the plane I knew I’d be back. We were only there for a couple of days but I fell in love. After that I said that I’d be studying abroad in London for a semester in college. I didn’t know how but I was determined to make it happen.

Studying abroad is pretty common in college. I went to all the study abroad fairs, talked to my advisors, and worked many hours in order to save enough money to make it possible. I applied for scholarships and worked hard to make my dream a reality. I will always be a huge advocate for studying abroad in college. Here’s a list of reasons why I think studying abroad is important.

Easter Break in Germany // Study Abroad London // Travel // www.lifeofhayley.com

At the time, studying abroad felt selfish. I was going to a great university in Michigan so there was no real reason for me to seek education elsewhere. I had a good job that I’d need to give my notice to. I had an amazing boyfriend that I’d need to leave behind for a few months. All of these reasons almost made me give up my dream.

Studying abroad was selfish but in the best way possible. For the first time since I was 16 I wasn’t working. I was able to make friends and spend a huge amount of time with them. I was never able to do that in Michigan. I was able to take trips on the weekend without worrying about finding someone to cover my shifts at work. And my boyfriend? He was fully supportive of my decision. It wasn’t easy to spend so many months living apart but it all worked out in the end (spoiler: he proposed when he visited me in London)!

Easter Break in Germany // Study Abroad London // Travel // www.lifeofhayley.com

It also wasn’t easy. I wrote this post about being homesick after a really tough day in London where I’d almost missed a school trip and was so afraid to call and tell my mom because I felt like I had failed. Being away from Brett was hard too and I wasn’t sure if our relationship would survive. We talked as much as we could but there was a big time difference. I missed my family and friends back home and it was hard to miss birthdays and gatherings.

I remember being so scared that I’d travel all the way to London just to be alone. I didn’t really have any college friends back home and it was lonely. I had almost convinced myself that it would be the same in London and that I just shouldn’t go. But I faced that fear and I made the most incredible friends along the way. We still have a group WhatsApp chat and even had a Zoom call recently to catch up. I also met my friend, Anna Sophie, in Oregon in 2019!

Even though it wasn’t easy, I would do it all again if I could because for those few months I finally lived. Like really and truly lived.

Easter Break in Germany // Study Abroad London // Travel // www.lifeofhayley.com

I can’t say for sure that studying abroad is the right decision for everyone but it was the best decision for me. I hate change and I’m a homebody but I’ll forever feel like part of my heart is in London. Brett and I spent our honeymoon in London in 2017 and we both felt like we were coming home. We had a big Europe trip planned for 2020 and the first stop was supposed to be London. One day we will be back.

Easter Break in Germany // Study Abroad London // Travel // www.lifeofhayley.com

I am in awe of the person I was 6 years ago. I’m so incredibly proud of myself for taking that leap of faith that turned into some of my favorite memories. I have never been as happy as I was when I was studying abroad. I made these amazing friends and traveled all over. I learned to be independent and confident in myself. I wish I could figure out how to make big life changes like this again but I’m not as brave as I used to be.

Remembering who I was 6 years ago is giving me the inspiration to think about some of the changes I need to make in my life now. I need to be brave again and figure out how to put myself first and be “selfish”.

Did you study abroad in college? Would you ever consider moving to another country?

Lifestyle Blog, Life of Hayley

Making Work-Life Balance Happen

I’ve mentioned a few times before that I’m a workaholic but basically all I did in 2020 was work and now I’m burnt out and don’t quite know how to fix it.

My company wants us to have work-life balance but we’ve grown so much in the past few years that it just doesn’t feel possible anymore. In order to keep up with the demand we are all working long hours and I don’t see an end in sight. I love the company I work for and the team I’m on but I’m so tired every day and I really just want to be able to take a lunch break or a vacation day without feeling guilty.

In general I’ve been questioning work-life balance. I haven’t been sleeping well because I have anxiety dreams about work and I can’t shut them off. I’m worried about my to-do list, I’m worried I’m missing an e-mail because there are too many, I’m worried about training others while trying to learn new things myself. I’m worried that I will burn out for real before I even turn 30.

2021 has to be the year that I figure this out. I need to take all my vacation days without feeling guilty. I need to have a normal amount of responsibilities. I need to put my mental health first. And most of all, I need to work normal hours because working this much is not healthy.

In 2019 I wrote a post about how my dream job was no longer a specific job. Instead it was a team, my team. I still love my team SO much but I don’t know if it’s enough anymore. 2019 was the best year of work for me. I was in a great place but 2020 changed everything and I don’t know how to go back.

Have you been able to make work-life balance? How do you put your needs first?

Photo by Kevin Bhagat on Unsplash