I struggled with the title of this blog post because I am NOT a mental health expert–as a matter of fact I am fully neurotic in almost every area of life. I do, however, know what feels right for me and have a general sense of when I’m at “peace,” so to speak.
I suppose an alternate title would be “things that saved my sanity in 2021”?
Between the pandemic, raising two little girls, and buying, renovating, and moving into a new house, 2021 was kind of crazy for us. I am the type of person that utterly flounders without a routine, especially under any type of duress, so I coped by putting some systems into place.
My BEST life tip for new moms (or really anyone) is to get a daily routine and pledge your life to it. I love doing the same things every day because it keeps me sane but also because it lends my brain the capacity to then be creative and spontaneous–I hope this makes sense, or maybe it’s just my neuroses showing?
I began the year still 5 months postpartum and very much in a hormonal and sleep-deprived fog. Getting back to my daily routine gave me life this year.
Here are a few decisions I made that saved me in 2021:
I talked about this in a post I wrote a few months ago about my morning routine, but this practice has changed my life. I learned this from Julie Cameron’s book called “The Artist’s Way.”
The methodology is called the “Morning Pages,” and it’s basically writing three pages the second you wake up. This is very low pressure, stream-of-consciousness journaling. It took me a little while to get used to the “brain dump” style of writing and into the habit of grabbing my journal instead of my phone, but now I look forward to it each day (mostly).
Since I started doing the Morning Pages, I have noticed my anxiety is much more manageable. I think this is because I am able to get everything I’m worried about out on paper. And in true “name it to tame it” fashion, as soon as I write it down, it doesn’t seem so scary after all.
The other thing I love about this morning journaling is that it sort of clears out my brain and allows me to be more creative throughout the day. So when I sit down to write a blog post or newsletter or whatever later in the day, I’m usually able to just start typing–as opposed to tab-hopping and pretending to check my email for 10 minutes before I summon the courage to start.
This is silly and will only seem like a big deal to people who watch (or used to watch) the Bachelor franchise shows, but hear me out.
Like many, I have been watching these shows since high school, so this was a Big Life Change. Believe me when I say I was addicted to this show. The idea that I would ever stop watching was OUTLANDISH–I couldn’t even picture it. Tyler watched it too.
It was Matt James’ season that did me in. I LOVED Matt, but the girls were kind of scary and mean. I felt sad at the end of every episode.
And then when Katie was cast for the lead in the following season, Tyler said he wasn’t going to watch it anymore. I thought he was bluffing but he held strong, so then I decided to try passing on one season too, as an experiment.
I got some grief from my family, but this ended up being such a great decision for me. First of all, the time I got back was invaluable. Two hours back on Monday nights! (and Tuesdays during Bachelor in Paradise!). I felt like a free woman.
On top of that, I gained a lot of time back that would have otherwise been spent lurking on Instagram, stalking contestants/their sisters/their exes, etc. The whole world is all-consuming, and I had a hard time setting boundaries for myself when I’d start down a rabbit hole, lol.
Giving up the show has given me so much more time for reading and writing in the evenings, two things that are very important to me.
Again, this probably sounds lame, but I just feel much lighter without the show. Like, I can live and function without knowing who got which rose–can you believe it?!
(And ok, look, I’m a “never say never” girl, so no one come for me if I circle back in a few years! Just for me RIGHT NOW this has been amazing).
When COVID first came skulking around in March of 2020, I was 5 months pregnant with Emmie. Up until that point, I had been taking classes at The Bar Method a few times a week and walking every day to stay in shape. I think it’s so important to stay in-tune with your body through movement during pregnancy.
Our studio had stopped in-person classes, though, and I had a really hard time staying motivated on my own at home after that point. And then in June, my back started bothering me SO bad, so I pretty much gave up on anything but walks around the neighborhood and the occasional prenatal yoga video.
Needless to say, I had a long road ahead of me to getting back into shape after I gave birth.
One of the things I found most difficult was deciding what I wanted to do each day for my workout. My brain was already in a daze, and the chaos of my household with two under two made it nearly impossible for me to program a challenging but appropriate workout.
After years of debating, Tyler and I finally decided to order the Peloton Bike in December of 2020. This was hands down one of the best purchases we’ve ever made. I wrote a full review of it here.
BUT. What I’m getting at here is that I decided to fully rely on the Peloton app for my workouts. I used the cycling classes on the bike, obviously, but I also decided to exclusively use Peloton for my strength workouts too–and stretching.
This really unlocked things for me. It took all of the guesswork out of programming my workouts. I love that all I have to do is just walk out to my garage and press start. I can’t slack on reps or quit early–I just move through what the instructors are telling me to do.
Generally, I try to ride the bike a few times a week and do strength workouts a few times a week too. If I have time, I tack on a stretching class to the end of my workouts.
What I love most about Peloton is that the classes have so much variation, and the instructors each have their own unique style and vibe. I’ve never once been bored of their programming.
I don’t have to think about it anymore–and even if I only have 20 minutes, I’m able to get an impactful workout in. This has helped me feel centered, even on the most chaotic days at home with the girls.
Okay, so what’s next? How are we saving ourselves this year, team? I always love hearing what people are doing to make their days go better. As they say, “how we spend our days is how we spend our lives,” after all.
It’s a pre-weekend pick me up: just a little note with links to the latest blog posts, what I’m reading lately, and products I’m obsessed with. Think of it as a friend dropping off a surprise latte in the morning--you know?