What Just Happened? 2021 Edition

It’s New Year’s Eve – I am on the couch with Herman and Brenton. We are reflecting on the chaos, confusion and pockets of joy that made our 2021 memorable. Want to take a trip down my already hazy memory lane with us? 

First Half of 2021

Early 2021 included my 28th birthday, an emergency trip to the vet for Vicar Herm and my first viral TikTok. Ruffling the feathers of white men and boomers was kind of fun but more importantly it led to a wildly successful (by my standards) year in my business. 

Anyone else exceptionally confused by the passing of time in 2021? The last year has been...weird to say the least.
Herman never quite got the cone thing down

In spring I started a new Instagram account in an attempt to truly embody confidence and share some of my poetry. Poems are my favorite way to self-regulate and most of my big feelings become fuel for processing and playing through words. 

Somewhere over the course of the next months I created my second self-paced program (a 35 day confidence building journal), self-published on KDP and made a small yet powerful name for myself on TikTok. 

Second Half of 2021

Over the summer of 2021 I added writing services to my business, created copy for programs for other coaches and took on an additional job to help fund my desperate desire for everything on the Reformation website (it’s a problem and a lifestyle). We also lost some very important people in our lives to cancer, took a trip to the mountains and made an unconscious decision to start trusting ourselves more. 

July was my best month for my business and that month alone brought me more success than all of 2020. True highs followed by true lows seemed to be the theme of the year. 

Fall was filled with big feelings, a lot of watching the West Wing, hard conversations around boundaries and a new normal as I settled into my new day to day routines. August brought big conversations around the future and September brought a shiny sapphire ring. Getting engaged and planning our wedding has been the highlight of 2021. November brought dress shopping, hugs from grandparents and party planning. 

Ending 2021 with Gratitude

And now, here we sit, at the end of December. This month was filled with family, much needed rest, bubble baths and much needed corgi couch snuggles. And from this couch I am so grateful for the weird year I had. I am grateful for the privilege to work from home. My gratitude extends to my social media followers, my friends/family and to you, the reader of this blog. Thank you for being here, for making it through 2021 somehow – I know it was rather hard. 

Looking towards 2022, I am excited. I am excited about our wedding next year. I am proud of how much I’ve grown since I started this blog. I’m grateful for the new (and returning) clients I have lined up for January. But most of all I’m looking towards 2022 with optimism (maybe a tad bit of delusion). 

Stay safe, stay home and see you in 2022! 

prioritizing you

Prioritizing YOU (low cost edition)

A current trend on TikTok is “prioritizing myself for a year” which on paper is a trend I can support 100%. What I cannot support is the notion that you must spend a metric ton of money to prioritize yourself and find happiness. 

As a helpless TikTok doom scroller I consume a large amount of content. Lately my fyp (“for you page” for my non-TikTok literate friends) has been relentlessly feeding me videos of people (mostly white women) who spent the last year focusing on themselves and have now found happiness. Their highlight reels are truncated 60 second or less videos featuring large friend groups, fancy picnics, clubs, vacation and hot girl makeovers.

A vlog style chat through the tips and tricks in this blog

They look happy, they are taking care of themselves and I love it. I have no issue with what they are doing, sharing and posting but what I’ve come to realize is that this content makes it look like prioritizing oneself has to be expensive. When I first started really putting myself first this kind of content would have heavily discouraged me from going down the self-healing road. So today I’m sharing a few of my free or low cost ways that I take care of myself and put myself first. It’s not as glamorous as the party girl vibe I used to embody but it has made me exponentially happier. You can use one, all or a handful of them; there are no rules here. 

Fun fact – I also use these tips/tricks to help myself feel better after being in a funk, being too busy or when I need to get grounded in my life. 

Also, I am not a therapist, medical professional or any sort of MD. Please be sure to work with a licensed professional when it comes to your physical and mental health. 

Clean Your Space 

When the anxiety, stress or chaos of existing makes me feel out of control I dump everything out of my dresser and refold it. This process helps me practice gratitude for what I own, assists me in getting rid of things that don’t make me happy (like clothes that don’t fit and will never fit again), and it helps me get present in my body. This also works with cleaning closets, junk drawers, scrubbing your home (you can practice gratitude for your space by cleaning it) or your car. Bonus points if you change the sheets and light a nice candle for yourself. 

Clean Yourself 

Another way I show myself that I care is by getting really present and cleaning my body. This includes brushing and flossing my teeth, showering, washing my hair or just giving my face a nice deep clean with an awareness that I am doing this because I deserve to be taken care of, literally. If I’m not in a funk and have energy this can also include getting dressed up, doing my hair or makeup and making myself feel like I am worthy of getting ready just to feel good.

My number one rule with this is that regardless of if it’s just brushing my teeth or if I end up looking like I’m getting ready for the prom, I always tell myself “good job” after every task. I know it sounds cheesy but it’s important for me to hear from myself that I am enough and doing a great job regardless of how far I take the process. Prioritizing you can be cheesy but I find the kind self-talk extremely effective.

Move Your Body 

If I have the energy I move my body. Workouts are great, so are walks around the house. Sometimes it’s just the act of pulling out my yoga mat and laying on it while I listen to a yoga Youtube video. There are no rules here as long as I’m honoring my body and being kind to myself AND only moving from a place of self-love. This is not an excuse to abuse my body or punish it. Got it? Ok, good, be kind to yourself while you’re prioritizing you.

I hope this inspires you and reminds you that self-care can be free. I’m including a Youtube video below where I share more ways to nurture yourself. Questions? Want to talk about it? Build a custom plan together? Discovery coaching calls are available in the new year

separating who you are from what you do

Separating Your Identity from Work

Separating who you are from what you do is the dream result of healing an unhealthy relationship with work. And for me, it was a lengthy and sometimes complicated journey to get here. In an effort of honesty and a practice in imperfection, I’m going to level with you here and say that I still struggle with untangling my identity from my job (even my job as a coach or writer) from who I am. If I’m being realistic I know that what I do to make money is a part of my identity – to me the important part is knowing that it is only a small part of who I am. My identity cannot rely on my career regardless of how much I enjoy it. 

After years of working on separating my identity from what I do I am proud to say that I know that I am whole, unique and amazing without it (I just also need money to live because capitalism really does run the world). My jobs enable me to live a life that fulfills me and I can live with that. So now I want to help you get there (if that’s where you want to go..if not I would suggest skipping this blog). 

Disclaimer – I did NOT go to med school 

Before we continue any further I want to remind you that I am not a mental health professional. I am a life and career coach. These tips, tricks and ideas are just what has worked for me and my clients. As always your life decisions are your own so take what resonates and leave what doesn’t! 

Work Life Boundaries 

Whether you are a remote worker or in the physical office, setting boundaries with when you start and end your day is extremely helpful. My mindset around work shifted when I realized that after a certain time it was ok to check out, walk away and leave the project for another day. Everything cannot be urgent and by building out boundaries around when I came in, left or stayed online, I began to find balance and a sense of calm in my work. 

One of the work life boundaries I set was that I did not start my day before 8am. Another was that I had to take lunch for at least 30 minutes everyday and WALK AWAY FROM MY DESK. A third was that I had to honor appointments with myself meaning that if I scheduled a workout, break or time off I took the time to do those.

Speaking of workouts I also encourage prioritizing movement as a way to signal to your body that its physical and mental wellbeing is more important than work. So many of us spend so much time sitting and our poor bodies pay the price. To help with that I will do 5-10 minute yoga flows as breaks throughout the day or after work. 

Another way to work on your work life boundaries is to find a hobby, interest or habit worth upholding your boundaries. This can be anything! A few ideas are an exercise class, painting, reading a book or playing video games. Anything that lets you focus on something other than your work. Having hobbies or habits that you enjoy is also a great way to turn off your mind when you think about work outside of work (more on that in the next section). 

Thinking About Work After Hours

If you are anything like me the suggestions above sound great but you cannot turn off your anxious mind outside of work. And if you are like me this may be something that you need to work with a medical professional on – it also may be something that you can find a coping mechanism for on your own (there are no rights and wrongs either way).

My first tip for getting your mind off work and into a relaxing evening is to find an activity or two that you do most days after work to signal to yourself  “no more thinking about work”. For me that looks like closing my laptop, taking my dog out and then doing another non-work related task. For you that might be yoga, screaming off your patio at passing children, showering or taking a nap. I’m not here to judge you and I’m asking you not to judge yourself. The only goal here is to find something that works for you.

My Brain Won’t Shut Up 

Now this habit will build over time but in the interim and on the busy days the work thoughts will still sneak into your brain. Here is what I do to deal with them. 

  1. I notice the thought, I try not to judge it and I say “thanks for being here but you have to go and you don’t get to waste my time” 
  2. I tell myself something to counter the thought like “I trust myself to have done that task correctly and I trust myself to fix it tomorrow if I have not” 
  3. If the thought is persistent I distract myself by tapping into one of my hobbies. I like to use something that makes me use my mind and body so a video game, yoga or a HIIT workout.  

I did this consistently until I got it to stick. It’s a practice of patience, resilience and self-trust. If the thoughts would not go away and it was ruining my evening, sometimes I would just do something about it (if that was an option). If that was not there my back-up plan was to interrogate the thought with some perspective. “Who does this affect?” or “Is this worth worrying about or is worry a work related habit of mine?”. 

A Self-Trust Exercise 

My favorite byproduct of separating my worth from my work was building my self-trust and confidence. By practicing self-trust, knowing that I could handle anything that came up and learning to quiet my inner critic I began to see myself as so much more than my job. And this revelation made my occasional work mistakes less catastrophic for my mental wellbeing. 

As always, I’m here to support! If you want help separating who you are from what you do I’m here to help! You can find a few ways to work with me here. 

making work morally neutral

Making Work Morally Neutral

One of the ways I’ve fostered a healthier relationship with work is by making work morally neutral in regards to both my employment status and my performance. And before you lose your mind over that allow me to explain. 

One Definition of Morally Neutral

In my opinion (which is what this whole website/channel is) most of us do not work in jobs that save lives, we are not landing rockets on the moon and for those of us who do not work these VERY INSANELY IMPORTANT jobs we have the privilege of viewing our work performance as morally neutral – meaning that if we do a mediocre job, get a meh performance review or honestly kind of suck at what we do we are not bad people because of our performance (but we may still be bad people I suppose). 

A Second Definition

To take this concept a step further, I also think our employment status is morally neutral – meaning that your employment status does not make you a good or bad person. If you have the financial privilege and your job is too much it is ok to leave or find a better one. Our society places a lot of shame on the unemployed for absolutely no reason – most people do not choose the unemployed life and even those who do have good reasons. 

Both of these definitions were crucial to my journey of untangling my worth from my work. And untangling my worth from my work helped me create a healthier relationship with work and it honestly made me a better worker. This journey has made me wonder – why do we define ourselves by our jobs at all? (more to come on this question in later content)

With these definitions in hand what do we do next? In my experience unpacking the following concepts and questions will take you on a journey to a healthier mindset with work. 

Journal Prompts

  • When your work feels too much ask yourself one of my favorite questions – does this really matter? Is this work getting upset over? Can I remove myself from this temporarily to calm myself down?
  • Perfectionism – a major inhibitor for me in my relationship with work was my perfectionist tendencies. I had to learn to leave perfectionism at the door. 
  • On the hard days I asked myself – does being a good worker give me more value as a person? 
  • What can I do to help myself stop obsessing over work? Can I find distracting hobbies? 

Unpacking these, deep diving in and finding ways to work around or work through my unhealthy habits helped me reduce stress, find better work life balance and honestly become a better worker because I’m a lot worse at my job when I am overly emotionally engaged. 

Let me know if you want me to deep dive into these topics and if so which ones in the comments! If not I think the next video will be on separating who we are from what we do. And if you want some 1:1 help working through this please reach out – all my coaching details are here.

Unpacking things further with a video!
desk set up for healing unhealthy relationship with work

Healing My Unhealthy Relationship with Work

Over the past two years I have been unlearning the habits that contributed to my unhealthy relationship with work. For the first leg of my career I was in a very unhealthy relationship with work. Like the kind of relationship where I was obsessed, not sleeping and may have contributed to my early gray hairs. Now that I am on the other side of this relationship drama I’m able to help others work through this – because our jobs should not control us. We are so much more than what we do for a living. 

I promised my TikTok commenters that I would make this subject into a longer series so this blog is going to be part 1 of I don’t know how many on this subject. This post is going to be an introduction to the subject and I’m including the Youtube video I created on this for those of you who prefer video/audio chats below. 

What is an Unhealthy Relationship with Work?  

My unhealthy relationship with work became painfully obvious to me when I realized that I spent more time worrying about work than I did working. My work stress impacted my personal life almost consistently and my work performance impacted my self worth. In short, work took over my entire life. Leading up to this realization the signs of burnout were there and my attempts at boundaries were failing but it took a birthday spent in tears over a work mistake that I realized I needed to do something about this. 

I was letting my career treat me in an absolutely unacceptable way. I would have never let a person treat me the way I was letting this relationship treat me. My self worth had plummeted and I no longer recognized myself in what I did and frankly I didn’t want to care about work anymore. In short I went from over-engaged to apathetic. 

Self Worth and Work 

Once I caught on that work was dictating my emotional happiness it was impossible to unsee. A good day at work always meant a good day at home and a bad day at work meant a bad evening. If a Friday went poorly the whole weekend could be ruined. This relationship was obviously toxic so once this revelation sunk in I started making a plan to remedy this. 

An obvious option here was to quit my job. With my new observation fresh on my mind I realized that it wasn’t just my current role that I had this issue with – it was work in general. I no longer valued my personal successes and I needed to remedy that. 

Morality, Boundaries and Personal Success 

As cliche as this is, I started with a major mindset shift (mostly through journaling – more on that in a second). I set boundaries, practiced saying no and I made my work performance morally neutral. This change did not happen overnight but once I came to terms with these concepts things got a lot easier. For everyone this will look different but for me the knowledge that I could empower myself through boundaries and not worry about being perfect at my job was liberating. 

Ok, But How? 

I spent a lot of time working through my emotions around work, finding places where things felt wrong and looking for opportunities to build walls to keep work out of my personal time. It was a struggle at first but lucky for you I already did it. If you want to make those mindset shifts and reconfigure your relationship with work, start by answering the following questions. 

  1. What is my relationship with work?
  2. Can I make my work performance (or employment status) morally neutral, i.e. doesn’t reflect as good or bad on me? 
  3. Why am I taking work so seriously? 
  4. Why does my job get to define me? (don’t blame yourself on this one blame society)
  5. Who am I if I’m not my job? 

And from these questions things kind of snowballed. It brought me out of my career funk, helped me find a career path that I actually enjoy but that I don’t let consume me (you can check it out here since I now help people like you through this situation and more). 

You Are More Than What You Do 

Through this mindset shift it finally clicked for me that I was so much more than what I did. My job was one of the least interesting things about me and that I was worthy of work life balance and respected boundaries. I was not saving lives everyday, I did not need to bring work stress home with me and I sure as hell was not landing a rocket on the moon – I did not need to take work so seriously (though actively doing my job to stay employed was crucial). 

If you want help working through this please reach out – I’m happy to help. If you’re happy to work through it alone I’ll keep posting about this on here, tiktok and Youtube

perfectionist

Lessons from a Recovering Perfectionist

As a human being and a recovering perfectionist I put a lot of pressure on myself. Over the past few years I’ve worked really hard to recognize the signs of burnout but occasionally it just rears its head without notice. On our journey to balance we often end up in unbalanced places.  To reduce the number of surprise visits I get from my buddy burnout I’ve started allowing myself to cut corners and as your life and career coach and friend I want to encourage you to do the same  *insert perfectionist fainting on her fainting couch or clutching pearls here*  

You Do Not Have to Give 100% 

It is ok to not give 100% to everything you do. In fact, it’s impossible to give 100% to everything you do. It’s one of life’s few guarantees – do too much and you will end up on a one way train to burnout town. So let’s make this simple – stop giving 100% to everything – especially things that have low impact, won’t matter in 5 years or things that do not affect anyone negatively if you cut corners. Which brings me to my next point…

Cut Corners 

Ready for the best motivational sentence you will ever receive? Cut corners when and where you can. Use the aforementioned rules of making sure no one will get hurt by your negligence then give yourself permission to make things easier for yourself. Examples of cutting corners can include: buying pre-made pie crust while making a homemade pie (or buying a store bought pie – you do you!), grow things from plants instead of seeds (a personal revelation of mine that I shared on Instagram) or do the workout you want to do instead of the one you have scheduled. 

You Don’t Have to Grow the Seeds

You cannot be perfect and you cannot give 100% to everything you do. But you can give yourself grace. So please give yourself grace. Cut corners, be messy, be human and be kind to yourself. Give yourself all the tools you can to be the person you want to be. 

Where do you struggle balancing things in your life? Is there a place to cut corners?