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

 

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

 

Overcoming Self-Doubt

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I need my next blog post to be titled “10 Things That I love About Myself” because I have been terrible to myself lately. I have let self-doubt kill almost every dream that I’ve ever had. I’ve blamed this doubt on my personality. I’m too shy, too introverted, too awkward, etc.

Enough is enough.

My whole life I have been waiting for a sign from the universe telling me that I’m good enough. I’ve always thought that the world was built for beautiful people with their styled hair, perfect makeup, and put together outfits. I’ve only recently discovered that behind those perfect looks are just normal people who are also doubting themselves too.

I almost let my self-doubt ruin a really good opportunity at work. I’m so afraid of speaking my mind that I shut down and shut people out. I’d rather ruin something than fail at it. I’m scared of taking a chance and having it thrown back in my face.

Well, Hayley, this is your sign.

No one cares that I’ve gained weight. No one cares that I have no idea how to do my hair or makeup. I am projecting these issues onto myself and dragging my own name in the mud in the process.

Tomorrow is a new day and I promise to be kinder to myself. I promise to thank my body for carrying me through every day. I promise to look in the mirror and not say a million nasty things to my reflection. I promise to hold my head high and own my career.

It’s easy to let self-doubt get in the way of your life. I’ve done it a million times. If you are waiting for your sign from the universe like I was, let me be your sign too. It’s time to take back control.

Whatever you are facing, you’ve got this!

Do you have any tips for overcoming self-doubt? How do you deal with it?

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Photo by David Kiriakidis on Unsplash

Learning How to Say “No”

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I’m a people pleaser and that’s not always a good thing. I hate disappointing people and nothing brings me more joy than helping someone in need. This people pleasing quality gets me in trouble a lot of the time because I make other people happy but don’t have time to chase my own happiness.

I’ve been struggling lately with this because sometimes people take advantage of how caring I am. I get myself in situations where I’m so busy taking care of other people that I don’t take care of myself. I end up exhausted, crying, and swearing that I’ll make a change and start saying “no”.

This weekend we had a family member ask me to do something for her and her family that went way too far. I want to help them but helping them would hurt my mental health in a way that would take too long to recover from. I don’t want to go into details but I had to have a serious conversation with Brett and luckily we both agreed that I had to say no.

Saying no is hard, especially when you love the person and want to help them. But sometimes you have to say no in order to protect yourself from damage. It feels selfish and wrong but it’s needed. I hate disappointing people and I know that this decision will hurt my relationship with the person. But this time I have to put myself first. I have to save myself from something that will damage me.

Taking care of yourself is more than just “self-care Sunday”. Taking care of yourself means protecting your mental health, your energy, and your well-being. It means learning to say “no” to things that will hurt you. Put yourself first, you’re worth it!

Do you have a hard time saying no to people? Any advice on getting over being a people pleaser?

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Photo by Dawid Zawiła on Unsplash

Anxiety Won’t Ruin My Life

Anxiety Won't Ruin My Life

I’ve been in a bit of a rut lately between my personal life, work, and my mental health. I’ve had anxiety for as long as I can remember and it seems to come in waves. Many days it’s smooth sailing and then other days I’m drowning in my worries. I’m normally able to function just fine but sometimes I can’t even make myself leave the house.

I think the trigger to these last couple of weeks of anxiety has been the fact that Brett took a new position at his job and has to travel a lot. I spent a week alone while he was in Atlanta and I barely slept the whole time he was gone. Every noise woke me up and had me searching all the rooms in our house for an intruder. I contemplated staying with my parents but I’m trying to be a “real” adult and suck it up.

I have come to the conclusion that anxiety is something I will just have to live with. It’s not always easy but I know I’m far better off than many others who suffer. I won’t let anxiety ruin my life or keep me from doing the things I want to do. I almost let my anxiety keep me from studying abroad and that would have been a terrible decision.

Sometimes you just have to throw yourself outside of your comfort zone and hope for the best. I’ve found that standing up to my fears has made me much stronger.

How do you cope with anxiety?

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All the Bright Places by Jennifer Niven

All The Bright Places by Jennifer Niven

This book was not on my 2019 reading list but I read a review and knew that I needed to read it ASAP. All The Bright Places by Jennifer Niven is one of those books that makes you believe in love and happiness but also allows you to experience heartbreak that feels so real and raw. By the end of the book I was crying and felt like my heart was in one thousand little pieces but in a good way. Sometimes we need to be reminded that it’s okay to feel all of the emotions at once.

But the main reason why I loved this book was because of the message. Reading through Finch and Violet’s day-to-day struggles with mental illness is SO important. Understanding is important. In the book they talk about how no one brings flowers to funerals and no one bakes casseroles for the family of suicide victims. That suicide is selfish. But it’s not and this book will explain why.

Summary

Theodore Finch is fascinated by death. Every day he thinks of ways he might kill himself, but every day he also searches for—and manages to find—something to keep him here, and alive, and awake.

Violet Markey lives for the future, counting the days until graduation, when she can escape her small Indiana town and her aching grief in the wake of her sister’s recent death.

When Finch and Violet meet on the ledge of the bell tower at school—six stories above the ground— it’s unclear who saves whom. Soon it’s only with Violet that Finch can be himself. And it’s only with Finch that Violet can forget to count away the days and start living them. But as Violet’s world grows, Finch’s begins to shrink. . . .

Review

This may actually be the best written book that I have ever read. I finished it about two weeks ago and still think about Finch and Violet daily.

I felt everything as it was happening and it took me back to moments in my life and made me realize that maybe I didn’t grieve as thoroughly as I thought I did. A couple of years ago I lost someone close to me who died in a “selfish” way. People tried to understand but they really couldn’t and it was devastating. I don’t think there will ever be a point in time where a book about mental illness and suicide is no longer relevant and important. It’s a hard read but incredibly important.

When we first meet Violet she is struggling to grieve for her sister who died in a car accident. Finch is all over the place with his mood when he sees Violet on the bell tower. They are both thinking about jumping and that day Finch saves Violet’s life and she gives him something to live for.

This book follows their friendship and eventual romance. It’s cute and fluffy with a side of seriousness. I love that the chapters switch back and forth between Finch and Violet’s point of view and I enjoyed being able to read both sides of the story. Finch’s chapters were really informative especially when you later hear the probable diagnosis from his school counselor.

The ending of the book is bittersweet and I actually did not see it coming. I really don’t want to give anything away so I won’t say much about it but these things happen in real life. It’s scary and crazy and it feels like there isn’t anything we can do about it. What I love most about this book is that Jennifer Niven brings to light all of the things we feel we can’t talk about when it comes to suicide and mental illness. Not only does she talk about it, she also gives resources for readers who feel similar to Finch and Violet.

Favorite Quotes

“You are all the colors in one, at full brightness.”

“We do not remember days, we remember moments.”

“You make me lovely, and it’s so lovely to be lovely to the one I love.…”

“You have been in every way all that anyone could be.… If anybody could have saved me it would have been you.”

“No more winter at all. Finch, you brought me spring.”

“What if life could be this way? Only the happy parts, none of the terrible, not even the mildly unpleasant. What if we could just cut out the bad and keep the good? This is what I want to do with Violet – give her only the good, keep away the bad, so that good is all we ever have around us.”

“Listen, I’m the freak. I’m the weirdo. I’m the troublemaker. I start fights. I let people down. Don’t make Finch mad, whatever you do. Oh, there he goes again, in one of his moods. Moody Finch. Angry Finch. Unpredictable Finch. Crazy Finch. But I’m not a compilation of symptoms. Not a casualty of shitty parents and an even shittier chemical makeup. Not a problem. Not a diagnosis. Not an illness. Not something to be rescued. I’m a person.”

“You saved my life. Why couldn’t I save yours?”

“I was here. TF.”

Rating: 5/5 Stars

Once again, this book is incredible. It’s raw, powerful, and extremely informative. I pride myself in being empathetic to others in situations very different from my own. Gaining perspective from All The Bright Places has helped me become more understanding, especially towards survivors of suicide. I would 150% recommend adding this to your reading list.

Apparently All The Bright Places is being turned into a movie in 2019! I’m looking forward to the day that I can watch Violet and Finch’s stories come to life. Also, it’s being directed by Brett Haley which is pretty much the most perfect name.

Have you read a book lately this you just can’t stop thinking about?

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