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Health Life Lately

I Haven’t Written in a While (word vomit)

I had grand plans of writing at least once a week once quarantine began, but I haven’t. I think it would be good for my soul and all that if I did but for some reason, it’s easier to just not.

Today is day 41. Since then, I’ve left my house for some walks (which I have since traded in for scenic treadmill walks) and 2 doctor’s appointments. Groceries have been delivered, either by my gracious mother, my brother-in-law or the ever lovely Instacart.

I am grateful that we live in a comfortable home, that makes quarantine not so bad at all. I am grateful for a job that I can continue to do remotely (especially during the third trimester). I am grateful to be quarantined with someone I absolutely love and enjoy spending time with. I am grateful for my health, the health of my family, and the health of our baby.

While I am grateful for all these things, I am beginning to feel a bit cooped up. And that’s okay. I can be grateful and frustrated simultaneously. I wish I knew when it would be safe to go get breakfast with a friend or go for a walk in my neighborhood without anxiety. I wish I had no worries about what the world will look like when our baby decides to make her appearance. I wish I knew a lot of things.

In the meantime, I will take it day by day. I will follow the news (but not too closely). I will continue to connect with the people I care about through FaceTime and messages. I will soak in the extra time I get to spend with my husband, just the two of us. It’s a special treat almost, before our baby’s arrival. I will continue to reflect on all the goodness there is in life.

When this is over, I will try to remember how this period of time was and not take for granted being able to hug my dad or see my friends. While this period of time is rough for some, it’s also a blessing in disguise. It’s allowed me to slow down, to rest. We don’t get a lot of time for that, and when we do, we often feel guilt. I am loving being able to leisurely read a book in the morning, or chat with my husband. My daily naps have become a highlight of my day. Taking is slow is just so damn nice. I hope to continue some of this slowness when the world is back to “normal.”

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Uncategorized

In My Feelings, a la Drake

I’ve always seen self care as a bougie massage, a fancy workout class or a face mask. I never thought there would be the day where self care was a nap and a shower, but I guess this is part of transforming into a mother. Today, with my husband’s guidance, I took an hour long nap and a hot shower, and I swear I feel like a new woman.

My feelings have been all over the place lately. I have great days, shit days and okay days. Last week, I had a series of shit days that made me question if I would ever see a great or okay day again. It hit me hard. I spent a lot of time crying and wallowing. I felt fat, useless and exhausted. I felt scared and anxious about the future. I feared that I would never be Jeanette again, that I would just be mom.

Thankfully, I have an incredible husband who has been patient as hell through the last six months of pregnancy. He listened to my every cry, reminded me that my body is working it’s ass off to grow this baby, and helped me to get myself out of that slump.

I know that that was probably not my last slump, but it feels good as hell to be out of it. I would describe it as that feeling when you can breathe again after having a stuffed nose for a week. It’s heavenly.

Becoming a mom is not how it looks on TV – a perfectly round tummy, a great self esteem and boundless energy. The truth is that pregnancy is a body that changes constantly. Pregnancy is having to catch your breath after going up a flight of stair. It’s questioning whether or not you have what it takes to be the mom of your dreams. It’s looking in a mirror and missing the “old” you.

While that is depressing AF, pregnancy is also the knowledge that your body has done something absolutely incredible in growing another human being. It’s the feeling of having your hand on your tummy and feeling your baby kick. It’s knowing that you, along with the person you love and value most in this world, have created life together.

This last week I’ve been focusing on taking care of myself, whether that be a hot shower and clean hair or a fun workout class. As frustrating as pregnancy can be, I’m amazed on a daily basis by what our bodies can do. I’m so grateful for a body that is able to move, support me and my baby.

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Head + Heart = Hustle Sparking Joy

I’m Where I Need To Be

I just had a flashback to my high school aerobics gym class. Every Friday we would do yoga and meditations (I know, I know – bougie AF). Our teacher would begin each meditation session by having us close our eyes, and saying that we are “exactly where we need to be.”

This has resonated with me a lot this past week. I am exactly where I need to be. I’ve had this overwhelming feeling of discontent over the last few months. I thought I should have been further along by now. I should hold a different job title. I should be more successful. These thoughts ran through my head on the daily.

News flash, Jeanette – you’re 24! You’ve already accomplished a ton. You have your bachelors and your masters. You have a job that DOESN’T stress you out! (How many people can say that!?) You are married to an amazing human who encourages your growth on the daily, and you have a dope family. You have friends that make you think more. You survived two years of hell in the workplace. You’re hustling hard on the side, and that will only continue to grow. You get 12 weeks off a year! You live a beautiful life. YOU ARE IN A GOOD PLACE!

I am exactly where I need to be right now.

I think we, millennials, are a bit arrogant. We’re entitled. We think we deserve more than we have, but why? I’ve worked hard to get where I am now, and I’ll continue to work hard to get to my next place, but for now, I am content with where I am.

We don’t need to constantly check boxes. We need to remember to live and enjoy life. I will never be 24 years and 237 days old again. Tomorrow, I will be a day older. Time is fleeting, and that’s terrifying but also so damn motivating. That motivates me to enjoy each day, to really savor it.

So next time I am feeling like I am not where I need to be, I hope I take a second to remind myself that I actually am. I hope I remind myself about the dope things I’ve seen and done. I hope I continue to see the purpose in my days.

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Sparking Joy

International Happiness Day: Where Do We Stand?!

The World Happiness Report came out today, on International Happiness Day, and the United States is the 19th happiest country. Last year, we were the 18th happiest country, and the year before that, we were the 14th happiest. So… what’s happening? Why are we, a developed country, failing at happiness? What even is happiness?! How can I be happier?

Happiness is the feeling of contentment and pleasure. Okay, so it makes some sense why we’re not happy. We live in a country where we’re constantly replacing things with new editions, and never content. We also are obsessed with social media – I’m always seeing friends, acquaintances and strangers living their “best life” and comparing it to my own. But what about the other countries that are on the list? They have access to the same new tech that we do, and I’m sure they’re just as Insta obsessed.

American culture doesn’t believe in “happiness” in the way that other parts of the world do. We don’t value work life balance. In fact, I often hear people bragging about how much they’ve put into work: “YO BRO – I put in 50 hours of overtime last week and I got FREE dinner every night.” I’ve heard similar things while eavesdropping over the years.

Fortunately, I work in a place that gives me great work life balance. I work from eight to three, and am usually home by four in the afternoon. I don’t even have work e-mail on my phone, and the atmosphere at work is relaxed and not stress inducing. So I don’t need to do much in that area to be a happier person. ON TO THE NEXT SUBJECT.

Countries all over the world have times of rest. Italy, Spain and the Philippines have siestas where the shops and businesses close down so people can have a break in the afternoon. The U.K. gives workers a mandatory 28 days of paid vacation annually. The average American? We get 10 paid days off per year, and even with that, most Americans don’t use them all! As a teacher, who works 208 days of the year, I could not fathom a life where I have to work 50 weeks a year. No wonder we’re not happy!

There’s also the fact that most of the happiest countries in the world are countries that are pretty mono-cultured. The four happiest are Norway, Denmark, Iceland and Switzerland – countries that have a pretty high percentage of citizens from the same culture. This probably gives them a sense of belonging that can be difficult to find the in the melting pot that is the United States. Along that note, we also have a government who is trying to make things work for people across cultures, backgrounds, education levels and economic ranges. It appears impossible to please everyone.

So what can we do?

Let’s zoom in. Focus on our own day to day happiness. It’s going to be hard to make changes that make everyone in this country happy, but it’s a whole lot easier to make changes to your day to day life.

Maybe we can start by saying no more often. I’ve started to do this, and I see my own happiness growing. Unless it’s something I want to do, or that I see as a advantageous, I typically say no. I used to say yes to everything, and would inevitably find myself crying about how overwhelmed and unhappy I was. Give it a try, guys!

Efficiency can help too. Take a look at how you’re using your time. Is the two hours a night you sit on your couch something that truly brings you joy? If it is – go for it girlfriend! If not – use that time better! Pick up a new hobby. Spend time making your home cozy. Read a damn book. DO SOMETHING THAT PLEASES YOU!

I don’t have the answers, but I’m on the constant search for them. I want to hear from you! What do you do to be happy? On a scale of 1-10, how happy would you say you typically are? How do you get yourself out of an unhappy rut?

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Sparking Joy

When Your Commute is LONG AF

I was spoiled – spoiled rotten. My old commute was an easy 12-minute drive down the highway. We moved recently, and now my commute into work is about 30 minutes and my drive home is anywhere from 30 minutes to an hour. That’s a total of at least one hour of driving a day! 60 minutes! 3600 seconds, if you will!

It’s going to take me a while to get used to this new drive, but I’m trying to be positive and proactive during this time. I’ve done this drive now for five days and here are some things I’ve been doing to fill that drive time purposefully.

#1. Podcasts

I go through phases with podcasts. One week I can’t get enough of them. ALL THE KNOWLEDGE, AT MY FINGERTIPS? LETS LISTEN TO ALL OF THEM! One week later, and I can’t stand the sound of anyone’s voice. I’ve been listening to podcasts, especially on my drive home this past week and it’s been a nice feeling to know that I’ve learned at least one thing every day. I’ve been trying to diversify the podcasts I listen to and have found several amazing ones! It’s kind of amazing – there’s a podcast on pretty much any topic!

What I listened to this morning – love me some Wellness Mama!

#2. Upbeat Music

It’s hard to get myself out of bed, dressed and to work. My body wants nothing more than to stay in bed, eat paleo pancakes and binge watch Netflix. With that being said, it can be difficult to be jazzed about the day ahead of me. Listening to my monthly playlist on my drive in, even if it’s just for a portion of the drive, has been helping me put myself in a better mood. Sure – you can be cranky your whole drive in, and possibly all day long, but why do that when music can change your mood almost instantaneously? Lately, I’ve been loving this playlist that I’ve screenshot below!

#3. Phone calls

I try to talk to my parents and sister regularly – at least every other day but preferably daily. It’s difficult to find time to sit for a phone call with everyday life, when you’re running to and from but I’ve been finding that I call my dad every morning. It gives me a solid uninterrupted half hour to catch up with my dad, and have more meaningful conversations than I was able to fit into my 12-minute drive. So in a way, my commute has been helping me strengthen my relationships with my family, and that is a beautiful thing.

#4. Mindfulness

I’ve written about being mindful, and specifically about driving mindfully in the past, however I’ve been able to take it to a whole other level with my new drive. For starters, this drive allows me to watch the sunrise every morning. Not only do I get to watch the sunrise, but I get to watch it rise over the beautiful Chicago skyline! It’s something special every morning, and I am hoping that that beauty never gets old for me. My drive gives me a good chunk of time to sit, be still (for the most part) and think. Sometimes, I think about the scenery that spills out in front of me. Sometimes, I think about my day ahead. It’s just a great time to process my thoughts. I’ve been enjoying listening to Petit Biscuit and just noticing/thinking/taking life in on my drives to and from work each morning, and it’s helped me calm myself down. It’s also allowed me to observe my surroundings more, and sometimes I’m gifted with something humorous, like this protest sign I saw.

#5. HYDRATION!

I drink a decent amount of water throughout the day, but I’ve found that my morning and afternoon commute is a great time to put away some water! In the morning, my mind is on coffee and I tend to forget about water. For the last week, I’ve been drinking a bottle of water and a thermos of tea on my drive in, and a bottle of water on my drive home. When there’s not much else to do, it makes drinking water easy!

So that’s five things I’ve been trying to do whilst battling Chicago traffic. How do you pass time on your commute? I tried to do some tasks, like paying bills, but reading account numbers off paper and staying in lanes turned out to be a more difficult task than I am capable of!

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Sparking Joy

But…Will It Kill You?

Freaking out is my speciality. I freak out about everything: the weather, how much time I need to get to the airport, how many eggs are left in the fridge. My husband, on the other hand, is the coolest cucumber you’ll ever meet, and this has helped me grow. He always says to think about the worst case scenario. Will you die? Will anyone you love die? If the answer is no, then your problem is probably no biggie.

This is easier said than done. For example, this Monday I took a personal day. We get three a year, to use for personal reasons. This was also the first time I had taken a day at my current job. I freaked out. What if they reject it? What if my boss is upset with me? What if my classroom burns and I have to rewrite all the goal books I’ve made?

Today is Thursday – three days post freak out. Guess what? My day was approved. My boss does not hate me. My classroom is still functioning. Nothing happened. I took a personal day, and the world did not end.

I think it’s important to think about worst case scenarios. If you don’t get the job you applied to, you’ll find another one. If the boy you like doesn’t like you back – guess what? There are a ton of fish in the sea. If you don’t like fish, there are also some jellyfish. You’ll survive. I think too many people in our generation overthink what should be a simple decision. People are scared to move out because the place may not be perfect. If it’s not, you signed a one year lease. Life will move on.

In the grand scheme of things, we don’t matter. This is terrifying and relieving all at once. With this in mind, you should feel free to make decisions without mulling over them for a year. Follow your intuition – that sh*t is smart AF. Life is short, as it is. There’s no point wasting time on things that don’t matter in the long run. So, if your decision doesn’t have the ability to kill you, just do it.

What should you take time for, if not making decisions? Smelling the roses!