The last time I sat down to write, my life was wildly different. I had just left a tumultuous 9-5 working at a tech startup, and was re-learning to reset, get healthy, and establish a new routine. Slant’d launched, but I had not yet embarked on the whirlwind roller coaster that I’m currently riding. Right now it feels like I’m hanging upside-down on a loop, completely suspended mid-air…but I also feel more grounded than ever.
Here’s a taste of what’s happened since August:
I’ve taken 11 trips. ELEVEN. I thought I loved traveling, and then I started doing it for work—and although I’m beyond grateful for the things I’m traveling for (e.g. speaking at Google, attending AAJA’s entrepreneurial bootcamp, participating in Kauffman’s State of Entrepreneurship)—it’s exhausting.
I’ve been hustling with my two new businesses. Slant’d has insanely exciting opportunities on the horizon, and my consulting business is thriving. I’m about to bring on a badass business partner to take my consulting to the next level, so that together we can attract higher-quality, local clients that I’ve been itching to work with.
I got engaged!
I’ve been beefing up my professional chops. I completed a 9-week business program at The Commons on Champa, a life-altering leadership camp with Mergelane, and have been doing lots of reading / self-studying / meeting with people about the various entrepreneurial topics I previously knew nothing about.
I’ve found plenty of time for play. Two of those trips were purely for fun: I went to LA with my good friend Jaclyn to explore (or to be frank, “to eat in”) the 626, and I went to Belize and Guatemala to get engaged to the love of my life. My work trips have allowed me to reconnect with friends I haven’t seen in years, and I met some new friends in Denver whom I predict will become big parts of my life.
I feel healthier than ever. This is the accomplishment I’m most proud of. I’ve always been an overachiever (thanks, dad), and am hardwired to pack my schedule to the brim, to always be working, and to strive for perfection. When I started working for myself, I made a conscious effort to prioritize self-care, and BOY am I glad I did. If I didn’t, I’d most definitely be chronically fatigued, sick, or worse right now.
Today, I want to share the ways I’ve reconnected with my spirit and made a commitment to myself—in hopes that it’ll help you when you’re feeling overwhelmed.
Let go of the “scarcity” mindset.
“I’m so busy. I have to do X, Y and Z today. I don’t have time for all this.” Sound familiar? This has been my mindset my entire life—I don’t have enough time or energy. I need more money. I need more things.
One of my 2018 intentions was to shift my thinking into that of abundance. Try this as a thought experiment and see what happens: Instead of thinking you don’t have enough, what if you thought you had more than enough? With an abundance mindset, some new thoughts started popping into my head: “The world will not end if I do this tomorrow instead of today. I am fully in control of my time, and I trust myself to make the most of it. I have more than enough money. My to-do list does not dictate what I do.”
I stopped being an alarmist with myself, and holy crap does it feel GOOD. Alleviating the amount of pressure I put on myself feels like a huge weight has been lifted off my shoulders. It’s allowed me to be flexible when plans change, and to experience joy and wonder even when I’m getting shit done.
Establish a morning routine.
Mornings are sacred, and I’ve started treating them as such. Here’s what my morning routine currently looks like: Wake up. Do not look at my phone. Wash my face and brush my teeth. Meditate on the office couch with Roscoe laying next to me. Brew some coffee and fix myself breakfast. Eat sitting at the dining room table, sans electronics. Kiss Dan goodbye as he leaves for work. Open my laptop and start my workday.
My morning routine can take 20 minutes or 1.5 hours, depending on how luxurious I’m being with myself. Regardless of the amount of time I take, I’ve found that when I stick to my morning routine, my day is always infinitely better than when I stumble out of bed and roll straight into my inbox. I’m less distracted, and more productive. I’m fully present and can give 100% to whatever I have going on that day. I’m happier. Whether your morning routine is 10 minutes long or 2 hours long, find a few rituals that help you set the tone for the rest of your day.
You may be thinking, “Do I really have to meditate?” And the answer, dear friend, is yes. The good news is that meditation doesn’t have to look like silently sitting cross-legged on a cushion for 20 minutes each day and OM’ing. It can look like five minutes of deep, intentional breathing each time you wake up. It can look like taking a walk outside and consciously identifying what you’re experiencing with each of your senses. It can look like washing the dishes and noticing how lovely the warm water feels on your hands, the satisfying aroma of soap bubbles wafting through the air.
Find one activity where you can be wholly conscious throughout the entire experience. This is what meditation is truly about—being fully aware and present in the moment. (Note: “Fully aware” means awareness of every thought that pops into your head, not that you should strive for an empty mind.)
Block out “me” time.
Figure out what makes you radiantly happy. As you go through your day, take note of those activities that make you forget about everything else; that put you in a state of “flow”. For me, some of those activities include: spending time with my dogs, a juicy vinyasa yoga class, taking a bubble bath and going OD on a Korean skincare routine.
Then, block out time in your schedule to do those activities. An accountability buddy is great here—Dan does a great job of noticing when we’re overdue for a lazy night on the couch, and which enables me to give myself permission to relax for the rest of the night.
Listen to your body.
Listen to what your body is telling you it wants, because 99.9% of the time, it’s right. I used to be rigid about signing up for yoga classes throughout the week, and then I realized that the stress of taking 2 hours out of my day to exercise sometimes outweighed the benefits. Ask yourself, “Is this something I actually need, or something I just think I need?” Tuning into what your gut is telling you is usually a smart way to go.
Also, it’s 10:30 am on a Wednesday and while I have work I “need” to do, I’m sitting here writing a blog post. For the past few months, these thoughts that I’m finally writing down have been swirling around my brain. I felt a fluttering in my chest just thinking about getting it down on paper. So I am—and it’s cathartic. After I’m done writing, I know that my mind will be free to focus on work-related tasks, and I’ll feel a satisfying sense of accomplishment.
Be patient and kind with yourself.
Forgot to meditate today? Don’t sweat it. Self-care should make you feel loved, radiant, and at peace—so if you’re stressed out about scheduling in your “me” time, or frustrated with trying out a new mindfulness technique, remember to be patient and kind with yourself. Self-care is an ongoing journey that will evolve with every stage of your life. Be open and playful with exploring it.
To close, I’ll leave you with a poem titled “Acceptance” by Rupi Kaur:
“if i am the longest relationship
of my life
isn’t it time to
with the person
i lie in bed with each night"