I thought life would slow down after grad school, yet here I sit in the middle of August wondering when I’m going to feel less like I’m running on empty. I graduated in the middle of June, and since I had already been working full time since April the transition from school back to the “real world” didn’t really seem like much of a transition at all. The only difference was I just wasn’t rushing out of work early on Thursday’s to make it to class.
The real transition happened when my boyfriend, Charlie, moved in the weekend after graduation. It kind of flipped my world upside down (in a really good way) but it definitely added some stress to my every day routine. After living alone for 6 months I had to get used to living with someone else again.
Charlie is much more social than I am and is totally a planner, so almost every weekend of our summer has been so packed with fun activities. Honestly, it’s been one of the best summers of my life, but it’s been VERY BUSY. I think I anticipated that my life would go back to the way it was prior to grad school. In that life, I grocery shopped on Sundays, cooked dinner a few times a week, brought leftovers to work for lunch almost every day, and worked out about 4 times a week. This summer has not been like that! There have been so many dinners eaten out and lunches bought at work. There haven’t been many workouts. I’ve tried hard not to let it stress me out, but sometimes it does!
This week I’ve been home by myself and Charlie’s been off catching fish in Alaska. Aside from work, I had almost nothing to do. It’s been an awesome opportunity to reset and reflect on the last two months. Our busy summer extends through the end of September and who knows, this busy summer might just turn into a busy fall.
I’m by no means a life expert, but I had a few thoughts to share about busy seasons of life. Some things I’ve realized during my time of reflection, and some things I plan on doing differently in the future.
1) Speak up and let your needs be heard. This is something I’ve been horrible at this summer. Last summer Charlie and I were apart for 3.5 months while he had an internship in Hawaii, so I knew he wanted to pack this summer full of fun to make up for it. Every time he presented something fun for us to do, I said yes. In hindsight I realize that packing every single weekend that I wasn’t working with something fun left me no time to rest or do the things that I enjoy. Moving forward I’m realizing that I need to be more vocal about what I need. That doesn’t mean swearing off the fun weekends, but it probably means making sure we’re back from trips earlier in the day instead of really late. Or intentionally have one free weekend a month to relax and clean.
2) Sometimes you have to role with the chaos instead of resisting it. That means sitting back and being OK with having less control. For a while I was SUPER stressed about buying lunch at work so often. Seeing the amount on my paycheck each payday was frustrating! A few weeks ago I decided to just be OK with it. I love bringing lunch from home and I know it’s always something I’ll do when I have time. There’s also been a lot of days where I’ve just brought my normal lunch sides, like fruit, and purchased soup or something small to complete the meal.
We live in a world that tells us we need to be planning meals and being strict about food in order to be excelling as human beings. Thankfully, that’s not true. It’s been very freeing to just allow myself to be OK with eating out on days that I’m busy. It’s also been really cool to see how I crave vegetables and fruits after I haven’t had much of them for a few days. We can trust our bodies, they’ll tell us what they need! We just aren’t told very often that we should listen to them.
3) Don’t believe that you have to “reset” or “detox” your body with a fad diet. This could be a post in itself, so I’ll keep my rant short. In summary, one of my favorite food bloggers (someone who have her blog solely dedicated to food, nothing nutrition related), posted on her Instagram story earlier this week telling everyone she was going to be doing Whole30 to “detox and reset.” Cue the giant eye roll from me! I go to this blog for food inspiration, so I was super annoyed that she has decided to “educate” people on Whole30. Anyways, why do we automatically think that we have to correct our “bad” eating habits by following a super restrictive diet? Just because you enjoyed delicious food on vacation doesn’t mean you’re a horrible human! Or that you need to punish yourself with a diet! And why do we have to assume that when we crave chocolate it means that we’ve programmed our bodies incorrectly? The solution is not to restrict, that will just make you want it more. Just eat the chocolate and move on!
UGHHHH. As I said above, our bodies will tell us what they need. It’s natural to crave more fruits and vegetables when we haven’t had them for a while. That doesn’t mean we need to go on some diet that eliminates a ton of food groups in order to get those fruits and vegetables. It means we should listen to those cravings and satisfy our bodies. It also doesn’t mean we have to resist our bodies when that fruit & veg craving has been satisfied and we’ve moved on to something else, like bread. My body was telling me this week that it wanted plants, so I made a few vegetarian meals. This morning I woke up wanting to bake, so I made some quick bread. We aren’t taught that it’s OK to listen to these cues, but I promise you it is.
None of us are perfect and it’s OK to struggle through crazy seasons, I’m right there with you! I’m hoping that as the crazy season winds down it will allow me more time and motivation to write, because I have a lot of thoughts to share 🙂