This year has been insane right from the beginning. If you’ve been following me for awhile, you might remember this post last year. (Its ok to feel) I was going through a roughhhhh time. I didn’t think there was going to be a light at the end of the tunnel. I was to the point where I felt like I was going crazy, I was completely lacking in energy and quite frankly, I wasn’t a big fan of myself. I went to the doctor, got blood work done and all my results came back normal and I was told nothing was wrong with me.
It was so frustrating. It literally felt like I lost a part of myself and I had no clue how to get it back. With the new year starting, I missed old Sarah and wanted to get better in 2018. So I changed.. a lot.
All I can say is that these next few tips changed everything for me in all the best ways. I was so skeptical that I alsmot didnt try and now I am soooo glad I did! Not only do I feel like my old self, I feel better than I ever have in my life. I am happier than I have ever been in my life. I literally feel like I am a whole new person!
Before you get invested into these tips, know this: At the beginning of the year, I genuinely thought, “I am not the type of person who meets goals.. I never have been so this probably won’t work” …awesome mindset to start with right? (That should show you how wack my mind was being). But, guess what? It worked. So if you feel like I felt- you can overcome it.
- I got a dog- okay honestly, this has probably been the biggest game changer. We got our Goldendoodle puppy in April of this year and she has made a huge difference. I’m sure moms of human babies are gnashing their teeth while reading this, but getting that little puppy was the sweetest introduction to motherhood. We got Harlow when she was 7 weeks old and she immediately attached herself to me as her mama. It was really hard at first because puppies are insane, but now she is the sweetest little dog and the best companion. (I know she’s just a dog but she really does make me want to be a better person haha.) Having a little creature that is dependent on me to take care of her gives me a purpose. The other nice thing about having a dog is they will love you no matter what. The excitement they have when they first see you after you get home isn’t just an act- they really do love their pack that much! Dogs will love you despite what you are going through- Harlow doesn’t care if I look extra bloated that day or if I didnt do a good job on a project, she just wants to make me happy. Besides the fact that she’s really snuggly and cute, she also is awesome for my mental health. When I am bummed out all I want to do is stay inside but because of her, I have to take her outside for walks and potty breaks. This forces me to go outside even when I don’t want to… which interestingly enough Is when I need to go outside the most. It is scientifically proven that when you are in a depressed state, going outside and moving your body is extremely beneficial. Basically what they are saying is get a dog hahaha.
- I set a strict routine- I love routines. I love routines. I love routines…. Hey have I mentioned I love routines? THIS IS EVERYTHING! Austin and I try our hardest to be as productive as we can (although, we definitely fall short a lottttt). We start the day off by waking up early. Typically, we are up around 5:30-6 am. We get dressed for the gym, take some preworkout, take Harlow to the bathroom and then go straight to gym. After we workout, we go home and spend about 30 mins on work projects for Jones Co, eat breakfast and then Austin gets ready for his job at CarMax. The things we do during the day differ depending on our schedules but after Austin gets home from work around 6:30, our schedule goes back to a routine. We eat dinner while watching a 25 min long episode on Netflix, work on personal projects for about an hour and then we get ready for bed around 9. Once we are in bed, we read a book for about 30 mins and then its lights out. This is our schedule every day. Some may think its boring but honestly I love it! I am a little stress-ball when I know there are projects that need to be done. This routine gives me the chance to tell myself, “calm down. You’ll get it done. You know you have x amount of time to work on it tomorrow.” When I don’t do this, I could lay in bed for hours and worry about said project to the point where I just never fall asleep until it’s done. Routines change that. If I can’t sleep, I take a sleep aid so at least I know when I wake up in the morning, I will be refreshed to tackle the day.
- Love my self- oh yikes. This one is easy for no one I feel like. At the beginning of this post I mentioned that this time last year, I didnt like myself all too much which hurts my heart to say. This was a long journey, but so worth it. I’ve always hated being alone. For a long time I genuinely thought it was because I was “Scared”… which is still a little true. But now I am beginning to understand that it wasn’t that I was scared of being alone, it was that I didn’t know HOW to be alone. You know when your best friend invites their other best friend to hang out with you guys and it can be kinda awkward for you and the other friend when both of your mutual friend leaves for a sec? That is how I felt.. but with myself. I didnt know how to interact with myself when I was alone as bizarre as that sounds. After quitting my job, I was fully employed by myself out of my home.. which meant I spent a lottttt of time by myself at first. I hated it! I didn’t like sitting in silence because it forced me to hear the thoughts in my head which sometimes were so overwhelming. Then, over time, after uncomfortable growth (..which is the best kind) I started to understand myself. I began to listen to the thoughts my body was telling me. I began to know when my body needed to go outside and get some fresh air, or when it was actually hungry and what it was hungry for. I know it sounds crazy but it felt like I gained a spirt and body connection this year. I started to love my little body for all the amazing things it could do and how much it does for me that I never acknowledge… even just the little things! Breathing. Heart pumping. Heck, the fact that our bodies know when our blood sugars are off and can fix them automatically is pretty magnificent isn’t it? Everyone says to practice self care but I never actually understood what it meant. I knew it was more than just facemasks and bubble baths with candles so I spent a lot of time studying and practicing self care to find what works for me. You can put on all the face masks you want, but it wont change anything unless you give your body rest when it needs it and feed it with good things physically and mentally.
- Podcasts- To continue from my last point, I really wanted to try to fill my mind with good things. I discovered the power of podcasts this year. They have taught me so much! You can literally learn anything from a podcast! It’s awesome! Learning became addictive to me. Who knew that when you aren’t being forced to go to school that learning is actually super fun? I found new passions and learned more from podcasts than I did my whole experience at college! These awesome podcasts have taught me anything from how to fix my mental health to how to grow my business. I am now to the point where people who went to school for the same job I am doing now ask me for advice because I have learned the same amount if not more and I know how to actually implement it in my life. You can listen to podcasts anytime and anywhere. You literally have exponential amounts of knowledge at your finger tips!!!
- Exercise – This year I really just wanted to FEEL good. I have been working out pretty regularly for about 2 years so I had a basic idea of fitness already. The gym was such a part of our routine that when we didn’t go, it felt wrong. I never believed people when they talked about “endorphins” realeasing in their bodies when they worked out.. but if anyone needed that, I did. I started taking my workouts more seriously, lifting heavier than I ever have before and IT FELT GOOD! Well.. obviously not good.. it was rather uncomfortable but the feeling after FELT GOOD! I started to see more results (which was so exciting!) and fell in love with working out. Our bodies are so amazing and strong when they are given direction and goals.
- Changed my job- The scariest jump of 2018 by far. I quit my job (I QUIT MY JOB! How I knew “it was time”) as a dental assistant of 1.5 years in June! This was pretty bittersweet. I actually really enjoyed my time there (minus a few coworkers and cranky patients.. but hey, thats any job right?). Since starting my business, I had been balancing both jobs. Come June, I was in full on wedding mode and both jobs were getting to be too much. I only got 2 days off a week which would quickly get filled with photoshoots and editing… I felt like I was never getting the chance to live my life outside of work. I couldn’t handle it anymore so I knew that one job had to go. After leaving that job and becoming a full time photographer, I felt like a weight got lifted! Life became fun and not so stressful and I finally could really focus on what I was passionate about. The summer and fall were jam packed full of work, but when winter rolled around, things slowed WAYYY down. Instead of freaking out, I looked at that slow season as a chance to learn. I invested a lot of my time into how to grow our business better and how I could improve my work. When I wasn’t doing that, I forced myself to be busy. I did shoots for fun to practice new techniques, location scouted, and did as much of the “behind the scenes” stuff that a business requires that I could.
- Invested Time into Church- There is always room for improvement but this tip helped us a lot. We moved apartments around March of this year into the most awesome ward. We got assigned callings fast (which was terrifying at first) but we really grew to love it. We are the Sunday School Teachers for 14-16 year olds! They taught us to like going to church and so many other fun things! In the middle of our craziest season, we got asked to go on a 3 day long hiking trip with the youth in the area. Reluctenly, we took the assignment and I am so grateful we did. Our testimonies grew and we both gained a relationship as a married couple with our Heavenly Father. He has shown us countless times this year that we can do hard things, we will be blessed if we obey and that above anything else, He loves us.
This year was the best year of my life. Once I got into the groove of things, I have nonstop fun and joy. Sporadically throughout this year we took a lot of trips, spent a lot of time with friends and family and just enjoyed life more. It freaks me out how fast time is moving and I want to love every second that we’ve been grated.
Here’s to the New Year!