THE COUNTDOWN IS ON... We are so close -God willing- to moving into our newly renovated condo, in addition to being about a month out from our wedding and an oversees honeymoon. These events are creating all good things, absolutely wonderful and exciting things; nonetheless, A LOT of things, for me to do in a fairly compact window of time. Did I mention I am also turning 30 the week of the wedding and attending another friend's wedding out of state the weekend before mine? I haven't even seen my wedding dress -it's being made- and we are hosting a family dinner likely as the paint is still drying in the new condo. Interestingly enough, despite everything going on, I am actually okay and very excited. Staying energized and organized has become a top priority lately and I have found a few solid things that have been helping me during this busy time I thought I'd share. Enjoy! 

EXERCISING AND EATING BETTERI know this might seem so obvious or just straight annoying to hear again and again, but it's the honest truth. I've always made the connection between exercise and stress reduction, but I've often ignored how big a role the food I consume impacts my mood and ability to manage daily stress. I have recently changed up my workout routine and really cleaned up some eating habits in advance of the wedding. I quit my gym membership where I was alternating between yoga and spin classes, and now do high intensity training workouts at Orange Theory. In terms of eating, I have significantly cut down on the refined sugar/carbohydrates and processed foods, adding in a surplus of vegetables, fruits and so much water. I have bene doing this all for almost a month and to be honest, I feel amazing. The difference is quite astonishing. I have always known a good amount about how to eat healthier and what foods are better for you because I listen to so many great podcasts that regularly discuss wellness (GOOP, The Skinny Confidential, Dr. and Mrs. Guinea Pig to name a few). I never really had significant health issues before (knock on wood) but I since cleaning up my diet I have noticed a big change in my energy levels and mood. I feel a lot less tired, more motivated in the afternoon/evening and better at working out. The first week of cutting down on refined sugars and carbs was challenging but once I was over the hump I stopped craving them as much and started to feel a lot clearer. I know this is a sensitive and often emotional topic for so many people, myself included, but it's something worth looking into to help not only manage stress but to also just to feel better, live better, etc. And as always, consult with a medical professional before making any significant changes to your diet. 

ASKING FOR HELP | I am a helping professional and I still struggle so much with this one! I have for most of my life lived by the false ideology of perfectionism and doing everything for myself has been a subconscious rule I am still working on getting rid of! I have been encouraging myself to reach out to friends and acquaintances with questions, recommendation requests, small favors, etc- which can feel very uncomfortable for me. What I do now when that happens is remind myself of how much I actually enjoy helping out a friend. Even if it's just talking out some of the things that are overwhelming me, having someone listen makes me feel less alone in what I have to do. Most of our daily stressors come from problems that feel bigger when kept inside our minds and having a supportive person to debrief with, whether a friend or professional, is often the healthiest way to reduce our worries/problem solve. I am not a parent yet but I would imagine that having a friend or family member help out here and there with childcare might feel like a lot to ask but something most people would be happy to do. We are social beings, no matter how independent we consider ourselves, we must rely on others to function and be well! 

PRIORITIZING SELF-CARE | I can't stress how important self-care is in managing stress. In fact, I recently wrote a whole blog post just on the topic. Often times not having a sufficient time to recover from a crazy day, week, month, even a year, has real outcomes on our physical/emotional wellness and ability to keep moving through life. We tend to have this unhelpful cultural norm that views relaxation as laziness or selfishness, but the reality is that we all need time to restore ourselves, even iPhone's need to recharge. No matter what responsibilities you have, self-care must always be at the top of the list because if you can't function at a basic human level, let alone one that feels good, then what is the point? How can you be of any assistance to yourself or others if you're falling asleep at the wheel, making extra mistakes, on a constant high or low from caffeine and refined sugar. It's not only not worth the expense on our bodies and minds, but it's just a straight out ineffective strategy if that's how you view life. Self-care can sometimes sound like a boujee concept, but in reality it's not an act of frivolity, it's one of restoration. More on this, here

SETTING REALISTIC EXPECTATIONS | “I can only do so many things in one day”- this thought appears on repeat in my mind and it's great reaffirming statement that calms me down when I start making never-ending to do lists in my mind. Speaking of to-do lists, I love them but often times once I start writing my list quickly becomes so large and overwhelming that I have a few times ignored them and went off memory just to avoid the shock of looking at all the things I have to do. Fortunately I employed this very simple trick I heard about on The Skinny Confidential Podcast, where you rank up to 7 items in order of importance and only focus on those 7 tasks until they are complete. They recommend completing them in exact order and really minimizing any interruptions, particularly emails, so that you can really accomplish the 7 main tasks of the most importance. I have been doing this now for several months and find it so incredibly helpful because it feels more obtainable and prioritizing the most important items first really reduces my anxiety about not getting things done. There are a lot of other good ideas out there for managing time but I think the most important thing is to be realistic about what you can get done and have a plan for leftover items. 

CREATING MORE PRODUCTIVE WEEKENDS | This one is so hard for me! It’s summer and all I want to do on the weekends (and every weekend really) is the fun stuff- blogging, reading magazines in bed, Pinterest-ing, seeing friends, entertaining, etc. I’ve often struggled with the idea that because it’s a weekend and I have more freedom to decide how I schedule my time, that somehow equates to endless amount of time. But the hard reality I face is that I only have 24 hours, things still take time, I get tired, things happen unexpectedly and other people’s schedules and priorities factor into mine. That doesn’t mean that I can’t get that breakfast in bed, lazy morning every once in a while, but it does mean I have to be more particular about what I say yes and no to. We all end up traveling on weekends because it's the easiest time of the week for most people to get away. However, it can be very stressful when you get back home Sunday night, feeling really unprepared for the rest of the week. I have learned to really try and make the most of my weeknights the week before a busy weekend, or just say no to doing things that won't allow me the time and rest I need. I just heard this wonderful new slang term-JOMO, which stands for the joy of missing out. Maybe it's because I am hitting 30 or because I am just too busy to care what everyone else is doing without me, but that is exactly how I feel right now!


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