let's enjoy this

Life is stressful. And sometimes, even if you're doing things you really want to do, you burn out. Your to-do list is terrifying, you don't want to talk to anyone, and staying in bed bingeing on Brooklyn 99 seems like the most reasonable way to pass your day. Or summer. Whatever. 

It used to hit me for weeks at a time, and I was really doing things I love. When you're looking for help pulling yourself out of your slump, it seems like every mommy-blogger and "fitspo" model is telling you all you need to do is pray, juice a lot of raw vegetables, and buy a SUV full of Lululemon and your whole existence will turn around. As someone with neither the inclination or the budget to do any of that, I sort of just bumped around and crashed into a lot of self-help books. Then, writing my advice column, I started to get a lot of questions from people on how just be ...better. I'll be honest: I don't always feel qualified to answer this, but I do believe strongly in leaning into your desire to better yourself. I make myself lists all the time, so here's one for you on how to make everything just a lil more joyous:

1. Fix the outside: Look, in the immortal words of my hero Tan France, "You'll feel much better when the outside matches the inside." I love overalls, sparkly makeup, and my wild curly hair, and I embrace that every day with the way that I dress and present myself. My aesthetic is fun, but can get serious really quick. I have a nose ring, and will probably eventually accumulate some tattoos, and that may affect future opportunities. Whatever judgements people may pass on me as a result of the way I look is on them, and while we're both going to have to live with that, it's an easy price for me to pay to unleash my personality.  Allow yourself to express the person you are, and you'll feel a lot more confident and comfortable in your day-to-day. It won't always be easy - budgets, judgement, and a host of other outside influences may discourage you. Ultimately, you need to make that call though, because you're the one walking around every day as yourself. 

2. Plan it out: I know, I know, this is a worn out soap box, but everyone needs to get their **** together and in order to do that, you need a schedule. Start light - write down when you need to go to work, what time you want to wake up, stuff like that. Then start adding in time for studying, family time, or date nights. Eventually, you'll be down to when you want to do laundry and the dinner reservation you made for your next anniversary. I used to be a MASSIVE procrastinator, because I knew the last minute was always there for me. Now, I like a two week lead on everything. Routine is SUCH a huge component of organizing my life and not only making sure that I stay on top of stuff, but that I know what I'm looking forward to when it gets done. You'll also start to see it in other parts of your life, whether it's what you do before breakfast every day, or how you budget yourself. As you become more naturally organized, you'll start to feel like you have more time - because you will. Go do something fun with it. 

3. Build a tribe: I will be the first to admit that I am a serial friend-maker. I am extremely interested in people, and will genuinely encourage you to tell me your entire life story. With that said, I realized about two years ago that while I was launching a lot of relationships, I wasn't cultivating them, and so I was essentially investing my time in dead stock. I had to take a serious look at a lot of my friendships and ask "How are either of us benefitting from this relationship? Do I genuinely enjoy spending time with you?" Too often when spending time with some people I would catch myself spacing out, checking my phone for the 4578238x time, or listening for an opportunity to speak. I became more comfortable with the idea that it wasn't selfish to bow out of those relationships, because neither of us were truly happy. As I began to thin the ranks, some people truly began to shine, and I could truly invest in them. I find myself today with a smaller, but much more solid front line of humans I am delighted to call family. 

These three things are the building blocks I've used to improve not just myself, but my life. I still get easily anxious, procrastinate, and find myself tearing through my closet because "nothing looks good", but it's less frequent now. I feel, well, not peaceful per se, because I'm pretty much always over-caffinated and under-slept, but happy. I hope that by sharing this, you get a little piece of that too. If we all do it together, maybe we can take over the entire planet and get rid of all the "juice bars" which are definitely just traps for people who go places solely to take Instagram photos.

Just checking to make sure you were paying attention. 

x Justina 

ps. if you read this and want to chat about it, email me: justina (at) abentpieceofwire (dot) com

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