Today: Take Care Of YOU!

Today: Take Care Of YOU!

Today, I’m smiling. 🙃 I’m smiling because I finally turned off my phone for ALMOST the entire weekend. I’m smiling because, although I DID end up working about 4 hours for my day job and about 2 hours for this social account, I finally spent the weekend getting back to my roots and following through with a few passions I love…decluttering, cleaning & organizing.

YES, yes, I know…this month was supposed to be dedicated to decluttering; I wrote a blog about it, I created a free pdf for it, and I started off the month with the hashtag #declutterwithA…but do you want to know what ACTUALLY happened behind the scenes the past two weeks?

I hate to admit it, but I’ve been drowning.

Work stress from my day job has been at an all time high, while creating, writing, editing, scheduling, and engaging for A of all Trades, has been at an all time low.

It all started the 2nd week of January. I was focused, motivated and I created plans, concepts and content in an attempt to structure myself to be more organized and consistent in the following weeks. I planned out the days I would post, I developed what I would write about and by January 20, everything changed. I was suddenly hit with more projects at work, more tasks to do, and more meetings to follow up with, as well as less time and even less energy to work on my own goals.

I’m currently in a position at my day job, where I’m required to develop strategies, build content, and make a LOT of decisions at work, which in turn, feels like I have nothing left to give to myself at the end of the day. (If you haven’t felt “decision-fatigue” before, IT’S REAL!)

What really happened?

Cut to the evening of Monday, January 28. The declutter series would launch in less than 4 days. I’ve already announced this on stories, I’ve already written and promoted the blog, I’ve already created the pdf and sent it out to everyone who requested it, I’ve already committed to this project.

There was no turning back now, and I was like a deer in headlights. I had NO decision-making energy left inside me, but had to FIGHT with my brain to “man-up,” focus, and get this thing up and running by Friday.

What I needed to figure out, plan and execute were:

  • A countdown on IG Stories (with photos)
  • A story about each stage of the declutter pre-process (with photos)
  • A story video of me introducing the declutter series and what I’m about to do
  • A “declutter-with-me” video about “how” I’m decluttering
  • Before photos
  • During photos

All. Before. Saturday

…AND all of these photos had to be staged. Why you ask? Because instead of taking videos and journaling my journey from day 1 of the process (which would be Saturday February 2nd), I had a seminar I was attending all day that Saturday, that I had agreed to attend weeks earlier.

So, I stood there in the kitchen, with B helping me, and laid it all out. Tuesday morning I would wake up at 3:30am, he would go to the gym, while I got ready. I would then take videos of myself pretending it was Saturday and showing me declutter. After I completed all the “before,” and “during” shots, B would take photos of me pretending to do all my declutter prep, which I would post Wednesday, Thursday and Friday, to get everyone excited and ready to start decluttering Saturday (even though I wouldn’t be starting that day anyway because I had a seminar to attend).

The following days, I continued to wake up at 4:00-5:00am every morning to plan and prepare my instagram posts for that day, before I would go to work and stay until 6pm. Not to mention what I gave up that week to work on this series, that I couldn’t even participate in myself!

You know what milestone I skipped? My 2 year anniversary with B on Friday night…yep. We didn’t celebrate our 2 years of dating because I had to stay in and edit fake videos showing me decluttering, when I literally only began the process for the camera, and had to leave all my clothes out in a pile in our bedroom, because I didn’t have time to follow through with the actual declutter process, something I love.

In the past week since the Declutter series launched, I haven’t posted ONE THING about decluttering since that Saturday, Feb. 2. I had such high hopes, the first weekend would be clothing, the second weekend would be makeup and beauty, and so on throughout the weeks, but I didn’t get there. I didn’t plan. I didn’t schedule. I didn’t have the time nor the energy. I felt unproductive, worthless, and inferior. But you know what? That feeling lasted for about a day, because you know what I did about it?

I let it go.

I didn’t let my “shoulds” take over my life.

I didn’t let “shoulds” take control of my emotions. I didn’t give in to feeling worthless because of not following through on something I had originally created. YES, it’s important to follow through with your promises and YES it is important to follow through with your ideas, but if it’s affecting your health (mentally or physically), your sanity or your self worth, IT’S NOT WORTH IT.

It’s time to take CARE of yourself.

Take care of your health and your emotional well-being, because if you aren’t at your highest frequency and if you aren’t recharging the way your body and mind needs to, how are you supposed to help others? How are you supposed to help the people who depend on you? How are you supposed to live your life to its fullest, every single day?

Today, I want you to remember:

Your self worth isn’t determined by your status, your connections, or your comparison to your peers; your self worth is determined by how you feel about yourself on the inside, what moral compass you follow on a daily basis, the kindness in which you treat those around you (as well as how you treat yourself), and by how you are taking action every day to follow and achieve your dreams.

What action steps do you take to help yourself first? Let me know in the comments!

Comparison, Overwhelm and Handling It: My Story

Comparison, Overwhelm and Handling It: My Story

Yesterday started off on an interesting note. I finally expressed outwardly how I was feeling on the inside; feelings and emotions that I didn’t even know were fluttering on inside my head.

I was ready to run out the door for work, but started talking (or should I say disjointedly spewing) to B about how I was feeling overwhelmed, stressed, anxious and just not good enough.

Overwhelmed with writing blogs, taking photos, editing, scheduling, planning, creating for A of All Trades, all while ATTEMPTING to: clean, meal prep, organize, do laundry, and do the dishes at home; in addition to running errands, grocery shopping, taking time out of work to go to doctor’s appointments, the feeling of burdening emotional fatigue setting in, a sincere lack of motivation, the numbness of life creeping over me along with the reality of being out of town next week, (meaning having to plan, schedule and produce two weeks ahead for my day job), the constant running to meetings left and right without notice, along with all the daily brainpower my day job exerts. Oh, and did I mention this is THE year I finally get my own business up and running? Yeah, the business I created 2 years ago and keep letting down. The business that I really love and can see going far and helping people, but I just couldn’t follow through with, because there’s ALWAYS something more important?

That’s the feeling.

The feeling of slowly drowning in an endless, open body of water, in the pitch black sky (even the stars wouldn’t come out to watch me slowly suffocate), with breathy sounds of needy people ringing in my ears, asking me telling me to do things for them, thankfully drowned out by the eerie silence of the night, and OH, did I mention the cinder blocks bound to my feet? (There’s no amount of treading that could get me out of this one.)

I was overwhelmed because I thought I was the only one; the ONLY ONE struggling, and comparing myself to all the other girls out there. You know the ones. Those amazing, beautiful, caring and NEW blogger girls on Instagram, taking charge and looking like boss-ass bitches; posting beautiful photos everyday, maintaining and curating a gorgeous feed, consistently posting on their blog, commenting on everyone’s post, always engaging and being supportive with their audience, all while having a full time day job too.

So, yes. I was overwhelmed.

Overwhelmed because all these girls seem to have it handled. They are out there KILLING IT in the blogging world, AND the real world: being amazing Moms, Wives AND having a day job, while I’m over here feeling like I’m spread so thin I don’t have time to buy groceries, let alone actually cook the food.

Therefore, there’s no other reason than the fact that I MUST be weaker than them. I MUST be less intelligent, less driven, less productive, less creative, just LESS THAN.

But B reminded me, I’m not “less than,” I’m just dealing with a lot right now, and I’m in a “phase” of my blogging life where I am trying to find the right balance, the balance between Instagram-obsessed and all my other life priorities (girlfriend, employee, friend, daughter, healthy human being).

And this is true; I USED to be one of those girls KILLING IT. I was eager, consistent, focused, but always on my phone, and afraid to leave Instagram for more than 3 hours FOR FEAR everyone would forget about me. I was spending more time with my Instagram page than with my boyfriend, even when we were in the same room, and that is not a healthy balance either.

So, I’m coming to the realization that I need to set up a schedule for myself to stay on track, that’s realistically compatible with my lifestyle, in order to overcome the overwhelm. The balance was too heavy at the beginning of my blogging life to keep up long-term, and now I’m spending too little time on it due to my lack of planning and other life distractions, so I will be back to a moderate schedule that I can consistently keep up with long-term. And this is what I did:

How you can handle overwhelm:

  1. Stop where you are and take several deep breaths – breathe IN for a count of 4, HOLD for a count of 4 and breathe OUT for a count of 8.
  2. Write down a list of ALL the actions/tasks you are responsible for on a daily basis (at work, home, hobbies, etc.)
  3. Label each task with the emotion it makes you feel
  4. Examine your list and look at the responsibilities that make you sad, angry, irritated, or uncomfortable, and ask yourself “why?” “WHY” do those tasks make you feel that way?
  5. Fix or eliminate. Are you able to alter how you perform the uncomfortable tasks, or eliminate them completely? If so, devise a plan for restructuring those responsibilities.
  6. Categorize all your remaining tasks/responsibilities under the following 4 categories:
    1. Important AND Urgent (to-do today)
    2. Important NOT Urgent (plan to be done as soon as you can)
    3. Urgent NOT Important (delegate this task)
    4. NOT Urgent NOT Important (but does this make you happy?)
  7. Begin with the Important AND Urgent Category and go from there. As long as that category is finished, the rest can wait until tomorrow.

If you have any tips, struggles, or stories you would like to share about battling overwhelm, or any other feelings you are facing, let me know in the comments!

From your soon-to-be not overwhelmed friend,

A

51 Reasons to Be Grateful Today

51 Reasons to Be Grateful Today
  1. Your physical health that helps you live a long life
  2. The time you’re able to spend reconnecting with those you love
  3. Your friends: the family you choose
  4. Your family and the support they are able to give you
  5. A safe place to live; a place where you are warm, protected and able to sleep in peace
  6. Your legs that help you walk, jump, run and explore life’s adventures
  7. Your creativity; the imagination only YOU have
  8. Your eyes that help you to see the vast world around you
  9. The ability to do anything or be anyone you want to be
  10. Your ears that help you hear the wind, the ocean and the music around you
  11. Your mental health that allows you to function easily in the world
  12. Your ability to make a change in your life if you aren’t happy
  13. Your arms that help you carry all of life’s necessities
  14. Your hands and fingers to help you write down your passions
  15. The childhood that made you into the person you are today
  16. The unique traits that make you, YOU
  17. The freedom you should never take for granted
  18. The kindness of humanity that resonates within your soul
  19. Your heart, the constant beating that reminds you that you are alive
  20. The inner peace you are able to channel when you are alone
  21. The excitement you feel when things are going well in your life
  22. The miraculous sound of the rain as it cleanses the world around you
  23. The restlessness in your soul, that keeps you always moving forward
  24. The ability to learn from your mistakes
  25. The abundance of love inside you, radiating from your core
  26. The emotional release you experience when you laugh & when you cry
  27. Your shoulders that support you, even when you feel like you’re holding up the world
  28. The consistency of time, to help you form a routine and prioritize your passions
  29. An incredible fear that drives you to succeed
  30. The support system you are able to reach out to when you feel like you can’t do it on your own
  31. The helping hand you receive, even when you’ve hit rockbottom
  32. The resources that always seem to be there, even when you least expect them
  33. The resiliency you have to pull yourself out of the low points in life and create a better path for yourself
  34. The ownership you have over your life and career
  35. The quietness your soul feels when you are happy and content in your life
  36. The ability to ask for help when you are struggling
  37. The freedom you feel when you’re creating something meaningful
  38. The passion you experience when you are doing something you love
  39. Your ability to see the world, to experience this entire planet
  40. The faith you have, knowing something out there is bigger than us
  41. The decisions you were able to take, that led you to where you are today
  42. The lessons you learned and the guidance you received in order to create this beautiful life for yourself
  43. Your endless pursuit for knowledge, and your ability to learn 
  44. The acceptance of Mother Nature’s wrath, amidst all her glorious beauty
  45. The ability to forgive, along with the ability to not forget
  46. The knowledge that you’re only one decision away from changing your entire life
  47. The bravery to follow your dreams
  48. The lightness you feel when you fall in love
  49. The ability and strength you have to stand up for what you believe in
  50. The memories you can return to instantly, just by closing your eyes
  51. The endless possibilities that await you

We are all in this together.

We are all in this together.

I can’t believe I’m typing this right now. Today has been a struggle. 🙈 I honestly feel completely distracted and unmotivated, despite hitting a major goal on Instagram last night! 550 followers, I feel truly grateful that I’m able to bring value to your life, whether that’s in beauty, fashion, lifestyle, motivation, or just entertainment…I AM a goof sometimes! (or all the time) 😜

But today feels different. I go through these stages every once in a while where something, somewhere inside me starts feeling completely lost. I feel numb to my surroundings, I feel alone in my thoughts, and irrationally misplaced in this world. This happens to me about every couple months, pops up without a warning and lasts anywhere from 2 days to 2 weeks.

Besides feeling completely disoriented, nothing seems to be sticking. I’m sitting at my computer trying, wishing, PLEADING my mind to focus and get something done, but there are constant, irrational noises permeating everywhere around me, and I keep seeing distractions from my peripheral. My head feels like it’s tuned to 37 different TV channels and it keeps flipping back and forth between them all, as they each play louder and louder until I can’t remember what I’m doing (or trying to do) in the first place.

I’m bringing this to your attention to let you know that, although most of my days are filled with sunshine☀️, rainbows 🌈, and immense belly laughs 😂, it’s not always like that. We ALL struggle with our own inner battles, and we have to remember to take care of ourselves. Sometimes this lack of consciousness passes in a day or two, and sometimes it truly feels like walking around with 15 monkeys and an elephant on my shoulders for almost a month, but IT DOES PASS.  In the meantime, I pop on my noise cancelling headphones, turn to my “instrumental” playlist on Spotify, and try narrowing my task list down to one tiny step at a time.

What are your best coping strategies for your inner battles?

How long do you usually feel that way?

And what is your best advice for someone going through their own internal battles today?

Let’s help each other, because WE ARE ALL IN THIS TOGETHER.

 

Don’t be afraid to be yourself: “What’s the WORST that could happen?”

Don’t be afraid to be yourself: “What’s the WORST that could happen?”

Be a sprinkled donut in a world full of bagels! ⠀

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When I was 8, I lost all confidence and stopped talking, not altogether, but I would mostly speak only when spoken to. I tried to fit in, I tried to act “normal” so I wouldn’t be made fun of anymore. I went from being a loud, goofy and weird “wild child” to being the most shy and quietest person in the room. ⠀

I lived like this for all my teenage years and into my early 20s, where I started drinking alcohol to loosen my shy inhibitions a bit, until I finally cut ties with that shell of a human, and started living my whole life again. ⠀

Let’s backtrack a bit, I was 23, in a bad relationship at the time, living in a different state where I had no friends and was completely miserable. I was quickly losing faith and hope in my own happiness and I didn’t know what else to do until something unexpected changed my life.

One day, I was cleaning our apartment and an infomercial popped on the tv talking about Tony Robbins. (I must have been living under a rock, because I had no idea who he was at that point.) I bought the tapes, figuring it couldn’t hurt, all those people seemed SO happy, even though I knew it was an infomercial. ⠀

As I was listening to the tapes, he said something that changed my life forever. I honestly can’t remember exactly what he said, but I FINALLY realized that I could change my life, and be happy. I don’t know why I had never thought of that earlier; that I could always move back home, that I could always turn my life around, that I could always BE HAPPY, I just had to make the decision to do so. ⠀

I ended that relationship, moved back home to CA and regained the confidence in myself that I had lost 15 years earlier. I finally realized that I CAN be my weird, goofy self and walk around with confidence because I am a worthy human being and SO ARE YOU! I’m not saying you’re going to grow your confidence overnight, it’s definitely been a journey, but every day is another step closer to being your true self and speaking up for your own beliefs. Honestly, I look at every decision I make and everything I say as “what’s the worst that can happen,” and that motto has TRULY changed my life for the better.

As an example, you go to your boss to ask for a raise, “what’s the WORST that could happen?” You COULD get shot down, you COULD be embarrassed, or worse yet, you COULD be fired (which, let’s face it, if you’re asking for a raise, you probably haven’t done anything worth being fired over), but IF you were to be fired, you’ll find another job, you’ll do something else, no one is dying, this is not the end of the world. Stand up for yourself, because no one will stand up for you. Same goes for being honest in your relationships, both familial, friendships, and romantic relationships. If those people don’t like you for who you truly are, you’re better off without them. There are so many GOOD people out there who would love your crazy, goofy self!

I’m now in my forever relationship with the love of my life, and if I hadn’t shown him my true colors at the beginning, if I hadn’t turned away all the other suitors I’d been dating, because I was looking for more, someone WORTH investing my time in, someone WORTH investing my vulnerability in; if I hadn’t shown the confidence in myself and if I hadn’t been completely insane and goofy every day of my life, I may not have landed such an equally weird, supportive and loving partner in crime.

Every day is a chance to be yourself, stand up for what you believe in, and to not settle for anything sub-par. You are worthy, you are deserving, just prove it to yourself. YOU GOT THIS, Girl!!

With love and strength,

Ashley

PS: I’m always on your side, just think of me saying to you “What’s the worst that could happen?”