Surviving the Busy Season

I haven’t even thought about blogging in a couple of weeks. Year-end is pretty rough for me at work and I’ve been training two new hires on a job that I do not enjoy at all. It’s hard to find the motivation to do the job I’m being paid to do let alone this side blogging gig that I do just for fun.

I’m sure that every job has a “busy season” where the employees have to work long hours and the work-life balance isn’t so great. The 2020 “busy season” has basically been all year it seems. Work has been nonstop and I haven’t caught up for a second.

I don’t want to complain because I am so thankful for my job but it’s tough. I think I’m not at that stage of adulthood where the holiday season is more stressful than magical because I’m so busy that I can’t really stop to enjoy it anymore.

I guess I just wanted to pop in and say hi. I’m still alive just busy and tired. Hopefully 2021 will be better.

Photo by Garrhet Sampson on Unsplash

Re-Evaluating My Priorities

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Confession: I’m a workaholic. If I’m not working I’m thinking about work and if I’m thinking about work I’m feeling anxious.

My company is really big on work-life balance but it’s SO hard. They want us to feel like we can take vacation time, have flexible schedules, and come and go as needed and I really appreciate that.

At the same time, my department is always changing and growing which makes it hard to have coverage when I need it. My work has to get done on time so it can’t just wait until I get back.

I’ve mentioned before that I’m only 26 but have been working a paid job consistently for almost 10 years. That 10 years has been split between 2 companies, 6 years at one and nearly 4 years at the other. I am a hard worker and I like to stay at a job for as long as I can given that there are opportunities to advance.

My dedication to work has caused a big issue in my life though. Work quickly became my #1 priority and I’m having a hard time shaking that mentality.

My current dilemma is that I am senior in my department and potentially up for a promotion or two. As amazing as that is, I honestly don’t know what I want to do with my life and the thought of a promotion makes me question everything. Can I handle this new set of responsibilities?

All I know right now is that it’s time for me to re-evaluate my priorities. I don’t want to look back in 10 more years and only be able to say that I worked really hard. I want to remember times with Brett and our future family. I’d really like to find a balance before having kids.

How do you manage work-life balance?

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Photo by Adeolu Eletu 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

 

2020: Second Quarter Goals

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2020 has been crazy and I’m unsure what the rest of the year will bring. Quarterly goals are really important to me so even though I don’t know what’s going to happen I still want to create some sort of road map for myself.

It’s hard to tell what the rest of 2020 will bring so I struggled creating my goals for Q2. I honestly don’t know what I want my goals to be or what I want to accomplish in the coming months.

  1. Finish some house projects. It’s the perfect time to get some house projects checked off of our to-do list. We have most of the supplies at home already so we don’t even have to worry about leaving the house.
  2. Learn 2 new recipes. I have been loving cooking lately which is really weird for me. I used to only cook a couple of times a week out of necessity. Starting Keto taught me so many new cooking skills and I’ve fallen in love with cooking meals for our family and sitting down with Brett to eat together everyday. I want to learn at least 2 new recipes to add to our meal rotation.
  3. Read 3 books and write reviews. I’ve actually read quite a few books already this year but none of them have been that great. Having this opportunity to stay home and read good books is something that I don’t want to take for granted.
  4. Stay home and stay safe. I’m a homebody so staying home for long periods of time doesn’t bother me at all. Right now the best thing to do is to stay home and stay safe.
  5. Spend at least 30 minutes outside everyday. I feel so much better when I get outside and go for a walk. Working from home and staying home all the time doesn’t mean that I can’t go outside. Brett and I like to eat meals on our back deck if the weather is nice and Oscar is always excited about a walk through the neighborhood.

I know that times are weird right now and will be for awhile but do you have any goals for the quarter?

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Photo by Joel Holland on Unsplash

I Just Want to Travel

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I love to travel. There’s just something so amazing about exploring a new place, culture, way of life, that really makes me feel alive. I love wandering around new cities and getting lost. I love listening to people speak different languages and wondering what they are saying.

Every year my vacation days refresh and I begin to plan all of the things I want to do and see. My work is pretty good about vacation time but it never seems to be enough for me. There’s a whole world out there that I want to explore!

Brett also loves to travel so we talk constantly about the next places on our bucketlist. In 2020 we really want to visit Amsterdam and Prague but I’d love to sneak in a few days in London. We didn’t plan a big trip in 2019 because we traveled to Florida, Arizona, Oregon, and Florida again. I think we will visit Massachusetts or New Hampshire in the fall though!

Travel is something that is always on my heart and mind. I visited Europe for the first time in 2011 and became addicted to exploring new places. There are so many places that I haven’t been and I’m looking forward to visiting all of them!

Do you love to travel?

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Photo by Karly Santiago on Unsplash

 

 

2019: Third Quarter Goals

 

2019: Third Quarter Goals

Happy Monday! I hope you all had a great weekend!

Can you believe that we are already halfway through 2019? I feel like it was just 2018. So far this year has been really good and I’m looking forward to the second half.

This is the first quarter that I have struggled writing goals for since I started them in 2017. I create quarterly goals instead of the traditional “New Years Resolutions” as a way to keep myself motivated. I’ve found that I stick to my goals so much better if I set new ones every three months.

  1. Enjoy summer! My favorite season is summer in Michigan. I love being at my grandparent’s house on the lake, going for boat rides, and relaxing in my backyard. Summer goes by quickly so I want to make sure I take time to enjoy it because winter is right around the corner!
  2. Continue my health and fitness journey. Q2 was really good for me in terms of meeting my health and fitness goals. I’m trying not to focus too much on the number on the scale while still celebrating the fact that I was able to lose 10 pounds. I’m starting to feel better, my clothes are fitting, and I’m encouraged to keep going. I want to make this experience as positive as possible!
  3. Create a blogging schedule/calendar. I’ve fallen back in love with blogging again for the first time in years! I’m trying to be more consistent in posting so creating a schedule or calendar would be really helpful. I map posts out in my planner but I don’t always stick to the schedule. I want to be more mindful of my schedule in Q3.
  4. Spend as much time with my sister as possible. My sister moved to Hawaii a couple of months ago but she’s back in Michigan for the summer! This might be our last Michigan summer together so I want to make sure that I enjoy every second of it.
  5. Create a work space at home. I want to focus on creating a better work-life balance. My work is super flexible so I want to start to take advantage of working from home a couple days a month. It would be nice to create a space at home where I can focus and get work done.
  6. Read 3 books and write book reviews. This was one of my goals for Q1 and it really kept me on track with my reading and writing goals. I have a whole list of books that I want to read this summer so hopefully I’ll be able to get through at least a few of them!

Like I said before, I’m really excited for the second half of 2019. I’m feeling motivated and ready to smash my goals! It’s been a fun and productive year so far.

Do you have any goals for this summer?

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Photo by Sven Scheuermeier on Unsplash

Five on Friday #11

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Hooray! We made it to Friday! This was my first week back to work after vacation and I’m exhausted.

  1. Fourth of July is next weeks which means that it’s our biggest airshow week of the season. I’m exhausted just thinking about it! The fourth was always my favorite growing up because both sides of my family would get together to celebrate America and my sister’s birthdays. I loved having everyone together at the lake.
  2. We went to Oregon last week on vacation with my friend, Anna Sophie, and her boyfriend. You might remember her from my study abroad posts. We hadn’t seen each other since leaving London in 2015 so it was so nice to catch up! I’m hoping to write a whole post about our trip soon.
  3. Before vacation I was really motivated on my health and fitness journey. My goal is to not only lose weight but to accept my body at every stage along the way. I’ve spent the past couple of years being really terrible to myself with the way I talk about and treat my body and I know that needs to stop. Body image is a huge issue in our current culture and I’ve really had to step back from social media in order to get my head back in a good place.
  4. Going on vacation has really made me realize that I need to spend more time away from work. My work-life balance has gotten much better since last year but I still worry and think about work way too much. I need to step back every once in a while and just worry about me.
  5. I had a neurologist appointment on Monday afternoon and I’m thinking about doing a Migraine update post to share what’s been going on. I haven’t done an update post in awhile because there hasn’t been any updates.

Do you have any plans for this weekend?

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Photo by Link Hoang on Unsplash

April According to my iPhone

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April went by so fast! This month we were busy at work finishing up everything before the notorious tax day. My department is always pretty crazy during tax season and this year was no different.

April was also the start of our annual walking challenge at work. The challenge this year is to reach 10,000 steps every day. The team that finishes the challenge with the most points gets an extra vacation day or additional wellness dollars! Extra vacation day for me, please! Oscar is happy about the walking challenge because it means he gets to go for extra walks to help me reach my step goal.

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My bosses bought our team some games this year to play on chill Friday afternoons. One of the games is this giant Jenga set. We usually have 4:01s on Friday after the stock market closes where we unwind by playing a few games of Jenga together. Work hard, play hard. It’s all about balance afterall!

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As always, I spent a ton of time cuddling with my fur babies. Oscar is our dachshund mix and Lucy is our cat. I love how much they love each other too!

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I was heartbroken to watch the Notre Dame fire in Paris. I watched pretty much the whole thing live and felt devastated. I love history and am very lucky to have been able to visit the Notre Dame a few times already. This isn’t necessarily about a building or a church, it’s about living history. Everyone has their own opinions but I’m sad for the people of Paris and am hopeful to be able to see Notre Dame restored at some point.

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Brett has been traveling a ton for work. When he was in Atlanta for a week I made sure to FaceTime him every night so we could catch up and he could talk to Lucy and Oscar.

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Oscar’s first Easter with our family! He was probably living on the streets last year at this time which is really sad to think about. We love our rescue pup so much!

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Here’s a little look into our Easter decor. We hosted Easter dinner for Brett’s family. We used the dining room table (pictured below) to display the food and setup another table in our living room to eat. It turned out great! This was our second Easter in our home.

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Please note that I successfully cooked my first ham! Also note the Easter basket with the two pink eggs. My sister in law did her twin gender reveal on Easter! They are having twin girls and I could not be more excited! Baby shower planning is now in full swing!

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Our best friend graduated from college last weekend! We threw him a surprise graduation party in our backyard and invited all our friends and his family. He thought he was coming over so that I could drive everyone to dinner (professional DD!) but instead he found everyone waiting in our backyard ready to celebrate! It did snow a couple hours after this picture was taken. Michigan is unpredictable!

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I’m not sure that I’ve mentioned it on the blog but my parent’s adopted a dachshund puppy named Bruno in December. He’s a brindle like Oscar and they are best friends. Oscar is on the left and Bruno is on the right! My dad brings Bruno over to our house a lot for puppy play dates!

April was a super busy and super fun month! Looking back at all of these pictures makes me feel like a lot happened in only 30 days. I’m looking forward to the things to come in May including my cousin’s baby shower, Memorial Day weekend, lots and lots of dog walks, and (hopefully) the start of summer weather.

How was your April?

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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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Photo by Robbin Huang on Unsplash

 

 

Five on Friday #7

Five on Friday

Happy Friday!! I am so ready for this weekend! This past week has been a bit of a struggle for me. I’ve been fighting a losing battle with a headache that wants to turn into a migraine. This weekend I plan on getting some much needed sleep!

  1. I’m going into this weekend with no real plans. Maybe I’ll clean the house and go grocery shopping? But I don’t really have anything else lined up to do which is the best feeling!
  2. I’ve been reading a couple chapters every night from Top Ten by Katie Cotugno. I loved reading 99 Days over the summer so I was excited to read another book by her! So far I don’t love it as much as I loved 99 Days but I do think it’s really cute and fluffy.
  3. Speaking of high school, we cleaned out my parent’s basement last weekend and now I am the proud owner of two boxes full of high school memories. High School Hayley was really annoying and I’m happy to have left her in the past.
  4. One year ago we were moving into our first house! It’s crazy how fast time has gone! I never thought I’d find somewhere that made me feel more at home than my parent’s house where I grew up. But the moment I walked into our house I felt relaxed and knew that we were meant to be there. One year later and I am still so in love with our cozy cape cod!
  5. I’ve been thinking about work-life balance this past week. I was talking to my group of study abroad friends about how much vacation time is standard in their countries. My workplace is pretty flexible when it comes to time off, working from home, and sick days but I still feel pressure to work as much as possible. The thought of being able to take a two week vacation seems crazy to me now! Honestly, I have had so many thoughts running through my head this past week that I need to figure out how to sort through.

How was your week? Do you have any plans this weekend?

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Photo by Daniela on Unsplash