Quarantine Lessons: I Threw Away My Daily Schedule

Last week I had to remind myself to take my own advice

Up until two weeks ago every Monday -Friday of the last five years has been directed by my work Google Calendar. I’m a self-proclaimed hater of being told what to do but I have to admit that the whiplash from going from having every moment planned to a completely empty slate was a lot to take. 

To help ease the discomfort of having no structure for the foreseeable future I took control. During the first week I set myself a type A personality worthy schedule. I gave myself a plan for each day, a timeline for working on personal projects, physical goals and creative play.

Where Things Went Wrong

While the plan itself was well intentioned I made a major mistake. I ignored my body’s personal cues and didn’t ask myself if the schedule felt authentic. I followed the advice of mental health experts and online articles and attempted to maintain my weekday 6:30 am morning routine. I remained mentally rigid about when I woke up, worked out and worked on personal projects – treating my creative babies like work instead of play.  In an attempt to maintain normalcy I sacrificed flexibility – and I failed miserably. 

Unfortunately for my beautiful, color coded schedule –  I’m a night owl by nature and I SUCK at mornings. My natural sleep cycle sits somewhere from 11pm-8am. Due to the pressures from society to “fit it all in” with work, fitness, creative fulfillment and socializing I’ve spent YEARS trying to convince myself to be a morning person. Sometimes I almost believe it. But, naturally I’m not good at mornings so by day 3 of my furlough I was staying up too late, sleeping in and “throwing off” my perfect plan for the day. It made me feel like a failure. I could feel the perfectionist thoughts sneaking back in so I pumped the brakes and threw away my schedule

Pressing Pause

Thinking back on my schedule I tried to identify why I was so rigid about it. Practicing some of my tools from my authenticity video, I re-evaluated why this wasn’t working. I was worried that without every moment dictated to me, the project planned out, every goal outlined in the tiniest tangible steps, that somehow I was going to miss a step or misuse my time. I dug deeper and realized that I was judging myself for not having what I’ve always been told was a successful person’s schedule. We’ve all seen those articles on LinkedIn about how Joe CEO wakes up at 4:45am everyday and that’s why he’s successful. Those articles are full of shit. And the worst part was that I was comparing myself to people that I didn’t even want to be like. I realized I was being hypercritical of myself – I didn’t trust myself with free time. 

So I had to treat myself like I would a friend. I would NEVER hold anyone else to a daily schedule at this time or try to convince them that if they didn’t plan out every moment they would fail – so I had to stop doing it to myself. We are all our own worst critics and I am no exception. 

Building Trust with Myself

With my newfound freedom from structure I looked at all the things I wanted to do and made a plan – not a schedule. I now have a daily to do list with chunky timeframes to do it in and a lot of extra room for exploration. I still have big plans and I want to stay on top of things but right now there is no reason to live life according to anyone else’s agenda – I’ve literally got nowhere else to be. An unprecedented time calls for an unprecedented schedule. I’m much happier with my glorified daily to-do list than I was with my color coded calendar. 

I hope this inspires you to take stock of your day to day and look at what’s serving you. Ask yourself what you really want, what feels authentic to you and if you are doing things that align with what makes you feel good about yourself. If you can, try letting go of what’s not serving you right now – odds are you don’t need it. 

A little extra self love motivation for you

But Really Though, I’m doing Sober October (kind of)

Happy Sober October friends!

If you are not a millennial and have no idea what Sober October is, all you need to know is that people have made a hashtag out of not drinking for the month of October.

The purpose of being sober differs for everyone but the hashtag allows participants to motivate one another and hold themselves accountable. I am unintentionally participating in Sober October because a couple months ago Brenton and I cut back on drinking. We went from drinking on a Friday or Saturday night to grabbing a drink with a friend maybe once a month. We did this because we realized that alcohol wasn’t doing us any good. As much as I love a nice glass of wine (and will still enjoy the occasional glass) cutting back on drinking has benefited me in multiple ways. I wanted to share those benefits with you just in case you needed that extra motivation to take an alcohol break. 

Reduced Anxiety

As someone with generalized anxiety I’ve learned that alcohol (and caffeine) are some of my worst triggers. Having a couple glasses of wine can take me from having a good time to worrying about the wildest things. I recently learned that having enough alcohol to feel like you had a drink the next morning (even if you aren’t hungover) can escalate anxiety for another 7 days. So while we were drinking two glasses of wine once a week I was basically escalating my anxiety and letting it simmer back down just to bring it back up again. Eliminating alcohol has not *fixed* my anxiety by any stretch of the imagination but it has helped reduce triggers. An added bonus is now that I don’t get drunk, I don’t get hangovers which means I no longer get anxiety induced shame-overs (if you don’t know what a shame-over is consider yourself lucky). 

Better Sleep 

I am awful at falling asleep. If I keep my sleep hygiene impeccable I still struggle to fall asleep at night. Adding alcohol to this mix was not helping. The nights we drank we usually stayed up later which caused me to sleep in the next morning breaking my normal bedtime/wake time routine. By cutting out alcohol I’ve been able to get myself in bed WAY before midnight every night and I wake up within an hour or two of my normal weekday wake time. 

Time Management

I honestly did not realize I wasted SO much time drinking and watching TV. We would get stuck in these mindless TV rabbit holes until the early hours of the morning. Now that I am able to keep myself to my weekday wakeup time I’m immensely more productive during the weekend. Eliminating alcohol has changed how I spend my free time and so far that allowed me to tap into my more creative side, work on personal passion projects and be conscious about my veg time. 

*Honorable mention to my skin clearing up. Now I’m not saying I’ll never drink again.

Honestly, I still have the occasional glass of wine or margarita if I feel like it but so far the pros of not drinking outweigh the cons. As someone who doesn’t drink at work events I can promise you that in a healthy work environment no one will care or notice if you decide to skip the booze and go for a soft-drink or water. So, even if you’re a few days late to the party – are you giving Sober October a try? 

Resolutions

Setting my goals for 2019 has allowed me to reflect on the last four years and how much my life has changed. My first couple years as a fully functioning college graduate were exhausting. In 2015-2016 I had no idea what I was doing or how anyone got to the point where they did not dread going to work everyday. I had no idea what I enjoyed or even who I was. I did not physically or mentally recognize myself. So in late 2016 my cousin and I started this blog and I thought of the project as an adventure to find something that brought me joy. My blogging partner restructured her priorities early 2017 so I decided to keep the platform and use it as a way to keep myself accountable for my 2017 goals of love and creativity as well as write about whatever the fuck I felt like that week. I desperately needed structure and to focus on myself so as part of my new year’s resolution in 2017 I set myself monthly goals and documented them here.

Flash forward to today and I am in a much better place. I live in a city that I love, with the same boy that I love and our baby boy that we love obsessively (please don’t tell him he’s a dog, he has no idea!) I’m more confident (thank you Sarah Knight for the Life Changing Magic of Not Giving a Fuck), I’m capable of so much more love, and I am insanely grateful for the hard work I have put in to be in this happier and healthier position.

In 2018 I set myself the goals of exercising frequently (done), meditating daily (I still missed days throughout the year but I definitely solidified the habit), reading and writing more (highly recommend this goal to anyone who is a former bibliophile looking for some joy in their lives), and living at my own pace with intention (a work in progress but it triggered a lot of self reflection and growth). Last January I specifically set myself the goal of finding new doctors in the city and completing the YWA January yoga challenge. I am happy to report that I now have a doctor for every aspect of my life and I am ecstatic to begin another YWA January yoga challenge this Tuesday.

I spent the last part of this year ruminating in the growth. I cultivated for myself being grateful for all of my progress and now I am ready for fresh goals and new breakthroughs as well as maintaining my progress. Ready for my newest goals?

In 2019 I want to:

  • Be present and patient with myself and others.
  • Shut down my chronic imposter syndrome and self doubt.
  • Continue my self care through the gym, yummy food, yoga, and meditation.
  • Continue working on non-career related milestones like reading, writing, dancing, tumbling, and community service. (Please sound off in the comments or DM the insta with any suggestions on this!)
  • Learn conversational Spanish.

The last one may be ambitious but what’s life without a challenge! Are you ready for the new year? Leave some of your goals in the comments!