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Life Lately: Taking a break from the workforce for self care

It's been two months to the day since I was last working. In addition to making biweekly trips up to Boston to pack up my apartment and physically complete the move to Long Island, I've been attempting to use this down time in between jobs to mentally reset, distance myself from a difficult work environment and invest in my self care. I say attempting because in theory this kind of me-time sounds amazing but it's easier said than done.

Here are just a few of the ways I'm re-vamping my routine to set the groundwork for good habits in the next stage of my life and beyond:

  • Working out every day. Whether that be going for a walk when it's nice outside, or using the treadmill in our basement, I love having the freedom to build my own schedule around staying active now that work isn't getting in the way.

  • Improving sleep hygiene. When I need to be up at a certain time, I'm using a new alarm clock that wakes me up gently with simulated sunlight and birds chirping. And I have a brand new diffuser that I'm trying out with a soothing essential oils blend to help calm me before bed. These days I'm also never without my weighted blanket.

  • Reading often. I've read two and a half books this month, and have enjoyed ending my day with less screen time right before I go to sleep.

  • Spending less money. Not having a paycheck anymore has helped me be more fiscally conscious, keeping the urge to splurge in check (at least more than usual!). When I am looking for something in particular, I've been obsessed with using Poshmark lately to shop secondhand.

  • Enjoying quality time with loved ones. It feels so nice to be back home having low-key weeknights with my parents again. And I'm really excited that I'll be able to join them next month when we visit my grandparents in North Carolina that I hardly ever see.

  • Discovering groups in my new area. I've started doing research to find women-led communities on Long Island and in the city that I can join to meet new people, network and pursue hobbies.

While I am proud of this progress, the truth is, my journey of temporary unemployment hasn't been all fun and games. I've had some bad days. Like not able to get out of bed until 5 p.m. because I feel so mentally awful kind of bad days. I'm trying to be transparent about the ups and downs of the process because I am very much still in it and have a lot to overcome before I'll be able to share all my lessons learned.

I know I need to work on my tendency to bite off more than I can chew and wish of skipping right to the finish line. I still have no idea of what's next and what I really want to do with my career. That kind of uncertainty can be paralyzing, especially for a go-getter like me with anxiety who is just trying to move forward so that everything can feel stable again. Sometimes slowing down and staying still can be really hard when everyone around you is still chugging along at a rapid pace.

My next steps will be to re-prioritize my mental health so that it comes at the top of my self-care list. Therapy has fallen by the wayside for me since I've moved and am in the process of searching for a new practitioner (and trying to save money). But I now know that I need to pick that back up so that I'm feeling my best, because my ability to do anything else depends on it. I'm hoping to also start working with a career coach so that I can work through what I'm fearing about the job search and what my ultimate goals are.

That's just a little snapshot of what life looks like for me lately. Taking time to self-reflect always helps me feel more in control and I hope sharing this part of my journey helps anyone else who might be feeling stuck or overwhelmed - you're not alone and taking time for your own self care can be a very beneficial first step to figuring it out.


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