It’s Okay to Take a Break

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4 years ago I quit blogging. I was a senior in college and the pressure felt overwhelming. I had been blogging for 3 years and nothing really came from it so I closed up shop and moved on with my life. I never forgot about blogging and constantly had the urge to write but I didn’t think I’d ever be here posting again.

I eventually forced myself out of blogging “retirement” because I needed a creative outlet. I realized that I was blogging for me, not for anyone else. It didn’t matter about stats or staying committed to my blogging schedule. All that mattered was that I enjoyed it.

The majority of us are maintaining a blog while holding down a full-time job. Blogging is a commitment but it’s also okay to take a break when you need it. I have found that stepping away from my blog and actually missing it gives me the inspiration to keep writing.

The urge to quit blogging still hits me every once in awhile when I have zero inspiration to write and feel like a complete failure. I want to give up when my life is too busy and putting my thoughts on the internet just makes me feel silly.

I’ve learned from being a “retired blogger” that it’s okay to take a break. Take a week, a month, or a year to gather your thoughts. Take some time for yourself and when you are ready to return your readers will still be here.

Have you ever quit or thought about quitting blogging?

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Photo by Harry Sandhu on Unsplash

2020: Third Quarter Goals

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Every time when I go to write a new set of quarterly goals I am blown away by how fast time goes by. It’s already the third quarter of 2020 and I feel like the year just started. This year has not gone at all the way I pictured. 2020 started with a huge transition at work, then a global pandemic, and now another transition at work. All in all, not my favorite year.

One thing hasn’t changed though. I still love writing my quarterly goals. So without further ado, here are my goals for the third quarter of 2020.

  1. Monthly date night. As things start to open back up and return to “normal” I want to continue to prioritize time with Brett. Having a weekly date night has been great but I’m not sure if that’s as feasible with our normal schedules. Making the time at least once a month to have a date night will make our relationship so much stronger.
  2. Spend at least 30 minutes outside per day. I know this was a goal last quarter but I loved it! With the weather still being nice I want to make sure that I continue spending time outside. This has been really good for my mental health.
  3. Start meal planning again. Staying at home all the time has it’s perks but I have basically stopped meal planning. I’m able to grab what I want whenever I want since I don’t have to worry about packing a lunch for work. I want to start being more intentional with what I’m eating.
  4. Find a new outlet for my anxiety. I’ve had anxiety for a long time and I’m always looking for new ways to channel my anxiety. I’ve been feeling really anxious for the past couple of weeks and I know I need to find an outlet for this anxiety.
  5. Write down some professional goals. I feel like I talk about work a lot which is probably because I spend so much time working these days. My career is at a weird point where I’m pretty senior in my department and I have some new opportunities. I want to spend some time thinking about what my short-term and long-term career goals are and what I need to do to accomplish them.

Here’s to hoping that Q3 of 2020 is the best one yet!

Do you have any quarterly goals?

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Photo by Gabrielle Henderson on Unsplash

 

July Blog Schedule

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July is a super busy month for me and I think blogging will have to take more of a backseat in my life for awhile. I’ll still be reading but I don’t know how much time I’ll have to create content.

Brett and I flew into Maine on Monday to see my sister in New Hampshire. On Tuesday we drove from New Hampshire to Michigan. On Wednesday we got her settled in Michigan and today I returned to work after 6 days off. I am exhausted.

Work has been rough this year. When I originally started writing this post I wrote that things were finally starting to look up. I spoke too soon. I don’t want to go into details because I know I am extremely lucky to have a job right now. I’m feeling really burnt out and I can’t imagine doing this for the rest of my life but I have no idea what else I’d want to do. I’m just feeling very unsure about work at the moment.

Speaking of work, I am taking a class for work the last week of July. I started a 3 year designation course which is usually held at Notre Dame. This year it will be online and I have been studying hard but still feel really unprepared. I will be spending most of the rest of this month studying and preparing for the class and the exam.

My anxiety is really high right now as I figure out how to deal with all of the things that are going on in my life. I’m nervous for all of the changes that are taking place at work and I’m extremely anxious about my class/exam.

Hopefully I will be back in action in August but July will most likely be pretty quiet.

Do you have any plans in July?

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2020: Second Quarter Goals Recap

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Holy cow! Q2 flew by so fast. I can’t believe we are over halfway done with 2020. I think we can all agree that 2020 has been a total shit show. Second quarter was not my favorite and I’m glad it’s over. In fact, I’m ready for 2020 to be over completely.

Here’s a quick recap of my goals for Q2. So many things happened and I don’t feel like I accomplished much looking back. But I’m giving myself grace and I know that everything is a challenge right now so I will try to not be so hard on myself.

  1. Finish some house projects. Brett and I aren’t great at doing house projects. I always have big plans and this was the perfect time to get stuff done but we didn’t get a ton of things checked off of our to do list.
  2. Learn 2 new recipes. I cooked a lot this quarter and even started my own garden! I am growing tons of herbs so I’ve been using those for recipes. I even perfected guacamole which is my favorite. I was able to learn more than 2 new recipes so I’m counting this as a win.
  3. Read 3 books and write reviews. I read more then 3 books but only wrote 1 review. I mostly read the textbook for the class I’m taking in July and didn’t have a ton of time for leisure reading. I did start reading the Harry Potter series again though!
  4. Stay home and stay safe. Staying home was really easy for me. 100% on this one.
  5. Spend at least 30 minutes outside everyday. Yes! I’m so glad I set this goal for myself. I spent a ton of time outside gardening, playing badminton, and walking the dog. Spending time outside was especially helpful for my mental health.

Even though Q2 was rough and the beginning of Q3 has been even harder I still want to be optimistic.

How has your year been so far? Are you finding it hard to accomplish your goals too?

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June 2020 According to my iPhone

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It’s been awhile since I’ve done one of these monthly picture posts. I usually write a little description of what picture is but I think this time I’ll just leave you with the pictures.

June was another month of working from home but we finally got to spend some time with family! I started a little container garden on our back deck, studied hard for my exam in July, and spent so much time outside. It was a good month!

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How was your month?

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Does Hard Work Really Payoff?

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I have almost a decade of work experience under my belt which feels impressive since I’m only 26. I feel like I’ve been working hard for so long, always trying to be the best at what I do and trying to lead others to success too.

I started working my junior year of high school and it seemed like most of my classmates didn’t have jobs yet. I got my job because I had been invited to go to Europe that summer with other high school musicians and I needed to be able to help pay for the trip. It was hard working nights and weekends when my friends were hanging out but it was all worth it because I was saving for something I really wanted.

I ended up loving that job and working there for nearly 6 years. I was hired as a high school junior and left as a college graduate ready to move onto my first post-grad job. My first job taught me time management and leadership skills that are incredibly valuable. I also already had 6 years of work experience which set me apart from my peers.

My current job has been a roller-coaster since day one (in the best way possible). At first, I was so miserable and I was just trying to make it a year. I loved my co-workers but I hated the job. Then my boss moved me to a different role and I loved it! I was making a difference and was passionate about it. My team is amazing and even if the work is tedious I still get so much joy out of being part of this team.

All of that to say that I feel like I have been working so hard and sometimes I wonder why. When I first got a job I was working to save for a big trip. Now I feel like I go the extra mile everyday and I am working hard to keep moving up just for personal satisfaction. Yes, I have to have a job to pay my bills but work doesn’t have to be my whole life.

Some part of me always has to be the best at whatever I’m doing. I had to take flute lessons so I could have first part. I had to be a manager at my last job because I wanted to master all of the jobs. In my current role I keep cross-training so I can be as helpful as possible and keep moving up. My current role never seems to be good enough because I know that I can always improve.

Does hard work really payoff? I’d say it does.

These days I’m grateful that I’m able to have an emergency fund for the things in life that I just can’t plan for. I’m grateful that I can afford the beautiful house that we fell in love with. I’m grateful that I can save for trips I want to take in the future. Most of all, I have a sense of pride in my work and I’m grateful for that.

In a world that makes it seem like we need to work 24/7 to be successful, I’m here to remind you that success comes in all shapes and sizes. Don’t compare where you are at to where somewhere else is.

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Photo by Kevin Bhagat on Unsplash

 

How I Manage Working with Migraines

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One of the most popular questions that I get about having chronic migraine is how I manage to hold down a full time job. In honor of Migraine and Headache Awareness Month I thought I’d share a few ways I have learned to manage working with migraines.

I have been working consistently since I was 17, so almost 10 years. I worked all the way through college, excluding the few months that I studied abroad in London. After my college graduation I found my current role and have worked here for almost 4 years.

Working isn’t easy and I’ve really struggled to balance everything. 2018 was my worst year by far and I really considered taking FMLA. However, I am very fortunate to work at a company with unlimited sick days. They truly care about me as a person but I never want to take advantage of their generous sick leave policy.

Here are a couple of ways that I manage working with migraines.

  1. Open communication. My co-workers know that I have migraines. They have asked me questions and we have discussed them at length. Having them know makes me feel a million times better because they can tell just by looking at me if I’m having a rough day. It’s easy to talk about and I don’t feel overwhelmed trying to act “normal”.
  2. Working from home. Again, I am extremely lucky to work for a company that values me and my individual needs. I am able to work from home whenever I need to. Sometimes the biggest trigger for me is just waking up. I wake up and feel like I’ve been run over by a bus and there’s no way I can drive to work. I always have the option to work from home and take the day at my own pace.
  3. Taking frequent breaks. I work at a computer all day and even with blue light glasses my eyes get fatigued which causes me to have a headache. I make sure to take frequent breaks to re-fill my water, talk to a co-worker, or walk around the building. Working from home is nice because I can walk outside and sit on my deck or snuggle with my puppy for a few minutes. Taking breaks is super important for everyone!
  4. Planning ahead. I am always ready for a migraine. I have all of the essentials at home, in my purse, in my car, and at my desk. It depends on the level of migraine I’m having but sometimes I am able to work through them if I catch them soon enough. My migraine essentials include electrolyte water, caffeine, magnesium, and an abortive medication if needed.
  5. Sick days. As I mentioned, my company has unlimited sick days and while I never want to take advantage of those day I still appreciate them. My mindset on sick days is that I’m going to have a migraine no matter what. It’s not going to go away and I’m not going to get “better”. If I can work through my migraine I will but sometimes I really do just need to lay in bed all day with my ice cap on. These are the days I will take a sick day and just focus on myself. I appreciate these unlimited sick days more than anything.

I know that I am extremely lucky to have the job that I have. I work hard and put a lot of pressure on myself but I always know that my team has my back with whatever I need. I have heard so many horror stories from the migraine support group that I’m part of where people have lost their jobs or have had to go on disability because of their migraines.

It is hard to balance everything and there’s no right or easy way to balance work with any type of health condition. I have had my fair share of struggles and an embarrassing amount of tears while surrounded by co-workers. At one point I thought I’d have to quit because there was no way I’d be able to face them again but I did.

If you are struggling just know that you are not alone.

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Photo by Corinne Kutz on Unsplash

 

Five on Friday #21

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It’s finally Friday, friends!

It’s been a sad week but I’m going to continue to work on educating myself to be a better ally. I’ve ordered books, listened to podcasts, and have tried to be as educated as possible. History is happening right before our eyes and it’s easy to stay quiet and let it happen but it’s important to stay involved. Right now I am trying to listen and learn as much as possible.

Here are five random things for this Friday:

  1. Our stay at home order was lifted early this week. It was supposed to last until mid June so I was really surprised when it was lifted. We did have a 7 pm curfew for a few days because of the riots and looting. The protests in my city were mostly peaceful though. Were you able to attend any protests this week?
  2. I have a certification class and exam in July that I’ve been studying for. I’m really excited for the class even though it’s been moved to a virtual class format. Like I’ve said before, my background is not in finance so I feel like I still have a lot of catching up to do in terms of my knowledge of the financial industry. This is a huge step for me but I really need to focus!
  3. We actually have plans this weekend! We are going to hang out with some of Brett’s friends (while social distancing) in our backyard. The weather is supposed to be really nice and it’ll be good for my extrovert husband to spend some time with his friends. I think it’s been hard for him to not see his friends as much as he was used to.
  4. When I was planning our wedding I got really into hand-lettering as a hobby and stress relief. I still have so many pens and brush markers but haven’t really touched them in a couple of years. I started hand-lettering again last week and have been loving it! I keep extra paper in my desk drawer and whenever work is feeling too stressful I sketch something and it makes me feel much better. I used Creative Lettering and Beyond with these Sakura brush pens when I was learning.
  5. The mosquitoes are so bad this year! We are thinking about getting our backyard sprayed just so we are able to sit out. Have you ever had your yard sprayed for mosquitoes? Did you think it was worth it?

How was your week? What are your plans for this weekend?

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Photo by Niklas Veenhuis on Unsplash

Migraine Update: Rebound Headaches & Caffeine

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It’s been a couple of months since my last migraine update where I decided not to try Amiovig and instead work on diet and lifestyle changes. The past couple of months have been weird for everyone but it’s given me plenty of time to work on my next plan of attack for my migraines.

In honor of National Migraine and Headache Awareness month, I thought I’d share another update.

Since I’m at home with nothing better to do, I decided it’s the perfect time to wean myself off of my abortive medicines. I’ve been in an endless cycle of rebound headaches for the last few years and this was the perfect time to break the cycle. This has meant days of extreme pain but I know it’ll be better for me in the long-run.

I have also been experimenting with my caffeine and magnesium intakes. I don’t drink coffee so my caffeine intake is typically zero but I’ve started drinking Sparkling Ice + Caffeine waters which have 70 mg of caffeine per can. I do think it helps, especially if I drink one during lunch which is typically when I start to get another headache. I also take at least 250 mg of magnesium a day. I take mine at night and I’m planning on gradually increasing my intake as needed.

I’ve also weaned myself off of the Keto diet. I really did like it and do think that it helps my migraines. I want to go back to a full Ketogenic lifestyle soon! I was just having a hard time staying on track during quarantine. We are only going grocery shopping every 2-3 weeks so it was hard to maintain eating only fresh veggies and meat. We also had a hard time finding eggs which was a staple for me!

The biggest change for me has been working from home everyday. Not going into work has helped my pain so much. I think the stress of driving and being “on” all the time didn’t help with my headaches and migraines. Being home is so much more relaxing and I’m able to rest when I need to without feeling like a failure.

Brett and I have talked about trying to start a family in the next couple of years and I know that I have to take better care of myself if I have any hopes of being able to have a baby. I can’t be in constant pain and be taking so much medicine. That’s been my main motivation because I know it will take time.

I have a couple of other migraine related posts for this month. There is so much going on in the world right now. So much that it almost feels wrong to continue sharing my journey. I know that this is also important though. I know there are millions of others struggling everyday with headaches and migraines.

Thanks for reading!

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Photo by Emma Simpson on Unsplash

 

Black Lives Matter #blackouttuesday

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I’m sure you’ve seen it all over social media. I’m sure your feeds are full of little black squares and #blackouttuesday. I’m sure riots and protests are all over your news stations.

I grew up in a school with very little diversity. I didn’t experience racism first hand until college and I didn’t understand. I still don’t understand and I never truly will. But I can listen, I can pray, and I can educate myself.

I don’t have words to explain the heartbreak I am feeling right now. I can’t find the proper words but I at least wanted to say that I am listening. I see you, I hear you.

Please take this time to educate yourselves.

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Photo by Julian Wan on Unsplash