The weather inconsistencies may make this hard to believe, but SPRING is finally here!
At the risk of sounding cliché, I’ve always felt that a new season offers new opportunities to reflect. Spring is the season of growth, rebirth and renewal. As mentioned in a previous blog post , 2021 was a tumultuous year for me. Even though my year was filled with beautiful experiences, new friendships and great opportunities, I had pushed myself past my limits and my mental health suffered.
A New Season Reflection
At the start of this season, I found myself burning the candle at both ends of the stick for the second time. Yet again, I was feeling overwhelmed, emotionally drained and physically exhausted. It was so easy for me to slip into those same patterns of hyper-productivity. I didn’t even realise I was overdoing it until I started waking up with anxiety (again).
Seeing that I had fallen into old habits was a hard pill to swallow. Upon my realisation, extending care and forgiveness became difficult.
I felt incredibly stupid and embarrassed.
I’d made a point of announcing my plans to quit my job, written two blog posts on my burnout and was featured in a CBC article about my experience. Yet, there I was again; burned out just over a month later.
It took time for me to get to a place where I could forgive myself for my mistakes. My need to overextend myself and feel productive (read: of value) has been a part of my story for a long time. I slowly understood that I wouldn’t be able to make permanent changes all at once; there would be good times and bad times.
This spring, I am focusing on creating a nurturing space for myself that encourages steady personal growth. Learning to be OK with making mistakes, restarting and changing my plans are imperative for my mental health. Since this is the season of rebirth and renewal, now seems like the perfect time to start implementing new and healthier routines.
The New Spring Routine
I’ve spent a lot of time thinking about what is actually realistic for me. Instead of setting unsustainable goals, I am building a manageable routine. The sweet spot, I’ve realized, is to add on new habits every so often instead of changing everything all at once.
Currently, these are the things I am committing to:
- Getting at least 8+ hours of sleep 3-4 nights a week
- Creating a slow and loving night time routine
- Eating breakfast on work days
- Taking breaks
- Establishing better work and social boundaries.
Spring Habit #1: 8+ hours of sleep
Getting 8 hours of sleep every single night is impossible.
Okay… maybe it’s just impossible for me.
Personally, I find it difficult to plan out every night in advance. There are nights I choose to stay up late to catch up with friends; there are times when I need to finish a last minute work task. Then, there are the days when I have difficulty falling and/or staying asleep.
Giving myself the personal goal of getting 8hrs of sleep 3-4 nights alleviates any pressure to be perfect. If there’s a night that I stay up late for whatever reason, I don’t have to feel guilty about missing out on sleep.
Spring Habit #2: The Nighttime Routine
This goes hand in hand with getting enough sleep. After a long day of work, sitting at a desk and staring at a screen, decompressing is a must. I’ve found that when I’m able to establish a calm, loving nighttime routine for myself, my sleep is significantly better. This is my current routine
- Washing the day off. Taking a long, hot shower in the evenings is calming. No matter what type of day I’ve had, I decompress by playing good music and taking care of myself physically.
- My skincare routine. I don’t wash my face in the shower; I enjoy taking my time. For me, washing my face, exfoliating, masking and moisturising have always been meditative and done with care. I love spreading a simple routine out over 15-30 minutes and staying present while I do it. You can find my current skincare products here.
- Stretching. STRETCHING IS IMPORTANT and often overlooked. I once read that you are only as young as your spine is flexible and it’s 100% true. I don’t know what it is, but as we get older we forget to be kind to our bodies. DEAR GOD I’M BEGGING YOU TO STRETCH!!
- Journaling. This is the newest part to my routine, but it’s one I can’t live without. Every night, I write down everything that’s on my mind. The good, the bad, the great and the ugly. It is incredibly healing and a wonderful way to release any negativity so I can invite positivity into my life. I always sleep a bit lighter after doing this. You can find my journal here.
- Reading. Y’all.. reading is kinda that girl. Instead of scrolling for hours on Tik Tok, i’ve been putting down my phone and picking up a book. I actually find it easier to get to sleep since I’m not staring at a blue screen right before bed. Currently, I’m reading The Artist’s Way by Julia Cameron and I highly suggest!
Spring Habit #3: Eating Breakfast
Note to self: Drinking one large iced vanilla coffee in the morning is not breakfast.
I’m still learning how to balance feeling overwhelmed at work with self-care, but I’ve realized that nourishing myself is key. I won’t lie and say I eat a well-rounded meal every morning, but I am trying to make sure I eat breakfast at least 3x a week. Over time, I’m hoping to make this an every day thing, but for now a few days a week is attainable.
Spring Habit #4: Taking Breaks
Okay, I’ll be very honest with you; this one is a MAJOR work in progress. Taking breaks that don’t involve me doing other forms of work is a skill I just don’t have yet. I know rest is important and I preach it to everyone, but my execution is pretty shaky. I don’t have any tips on this yet, but please trust that I AM trying!
Spring Habit #5: Establishing Better Work and Social Boundaries.
I’ve always been an overachiever with a complete disregard for my own social and mental battery. But now, when that clock hits 5:00pm, I’m OUT. When I feel like having a quiet night to myself, I have one. I’m realizing how unsustainable it’s been for me to put others before myself. My only goal for the S/S season is to put myself first. Always.
These are just some of the steps I’m taking for the Spring and Summer season. How are you refreshing for the new season?