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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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

 

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

 

2020: First Quarter Goals

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Happy Monday! Monday is the perfect day of the week to share my goals for the first quarter of the year.

I’ve explained my reasoning for setting quarterly goals instead of New Years Resolutions a few times. I started setting quarterly goals in 2018 and actually found myself checking off my goals instead of just setting them and forgetting about them. I’ve been so productive the past couple of years due to setting these goals! I pick a few important things, focus on them for 3 months, and end up making a big impact on my life.

With that said, here are my first quarter goals for 2020!

  1. Take better care of myself. I’ve been doing better at relaxing lately but I need to focus on keeping my stress levels down and actually taking care of myself. This means making a hair appointment, hanging out with friends, and doing things that I love doing. I’m looking forward to learning how to prioritize my “me” time.
  2. Spend less time on my phone. I finally got a new iPhone and I have the screen time monitoring turned on. Every time I get my screen time report I’m surprised at how much time per day I am on my phone. There are so many things I would rather do instead of playing on my phone.
  3. Listen to more podcasts. I listen to music at work all day to help me focus. For the past couple of weeks I’ve been listening to podcasts instead of music and I’ve been loving it! I feel like I’m learning things instead of just listening to the same songs over and over again. Let me know if you have any podcast recommendations!
  4. Focus on learning and growing at work. I have a ton of new learning opportunities at work this year. I’ve been at my job for 3 years and I’ve learned a lot in that time. However, there’s still so much that I can learn. I’ll be taking a couple of classes this year and will start working towards a certification.
  5. Finish 3 months of Keto. I’ve done Keto 2 other times and I’ve really enjoyed it! My original neurologist was the first person to recommend it to me because it’s good for my brain to limit carbs and sugar. I’ve found that I have less migraines if I monitor my food.
  6. Spend more time tidying and less time cleaning. I usually spend most of my weekend cleaning, doing laundry, grocery shopping, and meal prepping. This year I’d like to tidy more during the week so that I can enjoy my weekend instead of spending it cleaning.
  7. Schedule all of my annual health appointments. Am I the only one who hates making phone calls?! I need to schedule my semi-annual dentist appointment, annual eye doctor appointment, and annual physical with my doctor. I love going to the dentist but I’m anxious about the eye doctor because I know I’ll need glasses and I really don’t want them.

In 2019 I created a word of the year for myself for the first time. My word was confidence and I kept this word in my head all year. I focused on being confident at work and learning to love myself despite my awkwardness.

My word of the year for 2020 is intentional. I want to be more intentional with my words, actions, and thoughts. I want to be intentional with how I spend my time and focus my energy. I want to be intentional with my hopes, dreams, and actions. I’m looking forward to seeing what the year brings!

Do you set News Years Resolutions? What are your goals for the year?

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Photo by Pigoff PhotographY on Unsplash

3 Year Work Anniversary

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3 years ago today I was a nervous wreck as I drove downtown for the first day of my current job. I sat in the parking garage for at least 20 minutes because I was so nervous and didn’t want to be late for my first day. I had no idea what I was getting myself into.

Prior to this job I had worked for 6 years at a restaurant. It was my very first job that I started when I was only 17 and I loved it! Saying goodbye to my co-workers was difficult and I was scared to leave my comfort zone. I thought about staying at this restaurant forever but I had worked so hard for my college degree and I wanted to do something more impactful.

I had dreamed of working in a big city doing social media marketing for a super cool company. I’d dress perfectly and have everything figured out. At 22 I had no idea what I was doing. I took a bad social media marketing class and threw the idea of marketing out the window for a job in finance. I knew nothing about the financial industry and was honestly in way over my head.

For the first few months I begged myself to make it a year in my job. I loved the company but I didn’t feel like I fit in at all. I was super depressed because it was such a cool place to work but I hated it.

So I made a change. I talked to my boss and switched roles within my department. I loved my co-workers and quickly made friends and an impact on the team. I worked my way up, covered a difficult maternity leave, and got promoted! I haven’t thought about quitting in a long time.

3 years ago I started this job that I thought would get me some good work experience. Here I am absolutely loving my job everyday and imagining staying forever. It’s funny how much things change in only 3 years!

I’m proud of how far I have come in 3 years and I know I will continue to grow within my role. My team is amazing and I have two leaders who want me to succeed. I never thought I’d enjoy a job in finance but it’s interesting, challenging, and exciting.

Here’s to many more happy years!

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Photo by Rick Tap on Unsplash

How We Can Afford to Travel

How We Can Afford to Travel

Why does traveling have to be so expensive? And why do I love it so much?

I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again, there’s just something about traveling that brings out the best in me! I feel alive, happy, and ready to take on the world! That’s why Brett and I make a point to save up for our next adventures.

How can we afford to travel as often as we do?

  1. We have a travel fund. I work in finance and I’m a big advocate for having a budget and saving for items you want to purchase or trips you want to take. For that reason, Brett and I always have a travel fund and are saving for our next trip. We put a percentage of our paychecks into this account and save it up until we are ready to go on our next adventure. Even if we aren’t currently planning a trip we are still putting money away for travel.
  2. We make travel a priority. It’s super easy to get caught up in all of the other things life throws your way. Brett and I make traveling a priority. In 2019 we weren’t able to plan a big Europe trip like we had hoped but we still set aside time to travel to places in the United States instead. This way we saved money but were still able to visit some new places and make memories together.
  3. We travel on a budget. When we go on a trip we aren’t staying in the fanciest hotels or splurging on new clothes and accessories for our travels. During our planning process we are mapping out all possibilities of places to stay, eat, visit, etc. We set a budget and stick to it. I do like to splurge for once in a lifetime opportunities but we always plan for those ahead of time and make room in the budget.
  4. We compromise. Planning a trip with another person can be difficult. Brett and I take turns picking the places we want to go. I planned our Europe trip in 2018 so he’s planning our 2020 trip. We can’t go everywhere at once so we compromise and take turns. Luckily, we both want to go to many of the same places so this has been pretty easy!
  5. Brett’s Job. We have been incredibly blessed by Brett’s current job for an airline. This allows us to travel at a very discounted rate but we haven’t always had this perk and have traveled many times without it. Brett’s job has allowed us to go on a few trips that we wouldn’t have normally been able to go on without spending more time saving our money. We are super grateful and don’t take this blessing lightly. We know that we won’t have these opportunities for long so we always try to make the most of it! I do want to stress that it is possible to travel without breaking the bank even without these flight benefits!

It’s not always easy, but we are determined to travel as much as possible before we have children. Traveling is one of our top priorities right now and I can only imagine how much that will change in the next few years. For now, I’m constantly on Pinterest planning our next adventure.

Do you have any budgeting tips for traveling?

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Vacation Mode

Vacation Mode

I love to travel but now that I’m a full-time working adult I don’t get to travel quite as much as I want to. Brett and I still make it a priority to travel at least a few times each yet even if they are just small trips.

This week we are going on an extra special trip and I am so excited! We have been planning this trip for a couple of months now and I’ve been counting down the days until we finally get to leave.

Vacation time is really important to me in order to avoid burnout at work. When I work for too many months without a vacation I start to get frustrated and grumpy. Taking some time off allows me to reset my focus and come back relaxed and ready to tackle whatever challenge is thrown my way next.

Do you have any summer vacations planned this year?

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Photo by S O C I A L . C U T 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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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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