In the Spring of 2020…

Have you ever read one of those quotes where someone says ” I know you’re tired” and think- “please stop pretending you understand, you have no idea.” They annoy me. Why? Because I never felt like I needed permission to feel a certain way- until this week. These past few months have been crazy- to say the least. If you are reading this when I am originally hitting publish, the United States just spent the entirety of Spring 2020 in quarantine as part of a Global Pandemic. Feelings and emotions have been all over the place for months and yet, I somehow imagined I would be spared by them. Turns out that no matter how optimistic you are, or how pulled together your shit is, you too will have days where you need permission to feel however you want to.

Somehow, I felt like it was my duty to be the best version of myself during this time. Honestly, that was both the best and worst idea I’ve ever had. Best because it truly was an opportunity to come out of this thing stronger than ever. Worst because the best version of me is quite different than current version of me. That girl likes to wake up early and weighs 30 pounds less and runs on little to no sleep and folds her laundry on the same day she wash and dries it. That girl has her shit together on a level I found impossible to operate at during a global crisis. It’s like when you go grocery shopping and say ” I am going to eat healthy this week- no junk foods ,just good things”. That version of me is a jerk when it’s Wednesday afternoon and the idea of eating another kale salad makes me want to burn calories by crying into it.

All this to say: I was a lot harder on myself than I should have been. As if doing everything “right” was going to get me ahead when all this was over. I’ll admit that some of my good habits are sticking but the over zealous, can’t live up to these expectations even in perfect circumstances- those things fell away. I’ll be dispensing a little advice: not that I think you even need it but more because I may need to hear it again in the future.

My Advice:

Do the best you can but have some damn grace when things don’t go as planned. I cannot tell you how often I relied on giving myself grace- especially on the mornings where getting out of bed was overwhelming. When I didn’t do “that thing I said I was going to” guess what? It got done eventually, one way or another. This is the permission I needed the most. During this time, I had taken on a second role within the company I work for. It was big and scary and all consuming and I still needed to do my normal job and build my brand. What suffered the most was the one thing I had been doing for me- writing and working on Just.Add.Pearls. I had spent my first year pouring into it and suddenly I was faced with limited patience and overwhelming work stress. Months ago I set an arbitrary goal to publish a new blog post every Friday. I had successfully met this goal a hand full of times since I set it. When this new position at work had me writing 5 articles a week for the weekly newsletter, I was completely tapped out. I didn’t even want to think about writing- even when I enjoy the topic. This week I looked back on the last few months and lovely gave myself a break for not having reached my goals. Understanding that this season in life was a challenge and that it was ok that I couldn’t “do it all”. Turns out that Fridays aren’t even a great day to post- researchers say and I finally decided on a day that works best for me. This one little change has breathed new life into my creative space and the drill sergeant in my brain is happy too because the work is still going to get done.

No-one every said that you couldn’t take a break or rest on the roadmap to your goals and dreams. Quitting, that’s not a break- that’s a break up which is fine too as long as your ultimate goal doesn’t depend on that thing. The way this fits into my situation is through working out. Before quarantine I was an avid gym goer. I wasn’t in the best shape of my life but I actively pursued gaining muscle and bettering my physical health. When things shut down as part of the pandemic, going to the gym was the first place I stopped going to. Since the shutdown, I have lifted once in the past three months. In order to keep on track with my goals, I make sure to hit my 10,000 step goal a day- which I can say with 100% certainty that I was not doing before, which is a whole different issues… I am by no means “winning” but I could have quit focusing on my health all together- which is exactly what I would have done in the past.

This is not a competition. Social media will often feed you this narrative that someone else is doing it better than you no matter what “it” is. They aren’t. No-one has lived through a global pandemic before and therefore, that idea is literally impossible. When it comes to social media, do regular audits of what you are consuming. If people are not uplifting in their message and serving me in some way- I have started deleting them from my feed. This applies to anyone on your feed too- which means if you have a family member making you crazy or you just don’t agree with their points of view- its totally fine to do whatever you need to do that’s best for you. Remember you can mute or hide to keep them as “friends” but not consume their content unless you decide to visit their page. You can also unfollow or block too- these options are a little more extreme but just be sure you do what is best for you.

Remind yourself of how hard you are working and how loved you are. This might seem really ridiculous and I feel a little vulnerable telling you about this next part. I was in a meeting last week and I was jotting things in my notebook when I suddenly caught myself writing ” I love you and I am so proud of you”- to myself. Yes, I really did that and it still gives me all the feels thinking about it. Happy because I am really proud of all the hard work I am doing- no matter how not enough it feels most days. Loved because I work so hard and I truly appreciate it and can see it- no matter how hard I can be on myself. Tearful because I felt it. It’s hard to explain fully what that simple phrase changed for me but try and remember that you are worthy of the love and appreciation for showing up even when it wasn’t easy. Plus, you may not hear it enough from those around you and practicing self love is so vital.

You may or may not need to hear this but I hope you do know that no matter how you are showing up, it is good and right. Showing up messy and imperfect is just are valuable and important as someone who is showing up in your version of ” the right way”. Just breathe and keep reminding yourself that through grace, persistence, love and appreciation, you too will get through this.

Until next time,

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