Life is one giant balancing act and just in case you’re feeling like you’re failing or struggling, I want you to know that you’re doing a great job!
Sometimes I feel like we’re all swimming in a dark ocean with nothing more than moonlight to guide our way, and we can only see what’s immediately in front of us, but the vast ocean surrounds us with the unknown. If someone could just turn up with a nice sailboat and guide us to our destination maybe we could see the big picture, and maybe we wouldn’t waste time worrying or being anxious or questioning everything.
From a very young age, we’re praised for knowing the right answer. But often there are crossroads we face in life, times of great uncertainty. These are wonderful moments when we don’t know where to go next, don’t have an answer, and we even might feel very stuck.
So how do we deal?
It’s not always easy or pretty, it’s often messy and chaotic and filled with questions but somehow, someway it always has a way of working out. Trust me on this one! There’s something bigger than you that can see it all with the lights on. ife can be so stressful, and trust me – I of all people do not handle stress well! But recently I’ve been trying to figure out how to manage it…because we can never fully just get rid of it. So when life happens, you’re equipped.
You ready to dive in?
Last week in my life as a UX design student was a great example of a rollercoaster of uncertainty. Full of so many ups and downs! I was trying my best to juggle the stress of my two hour commute, while learning how to wireframe, prototype in new design programs, and deliver a full presentation pitch on a website redesign. I told myself I would handle my stress well, meditate everyday, and make sure to rest.
Naturally that did not happen!
I found myself glued to the screen, on the third cup of coffee at 1am, chewing sugar free orbit gum like it was going out of style, hardly stopping for a bite to eat, then getting up at 5am the next morning to power walk an hour to catch my train to the city. No matter how hard I tried, it felt like I was doing nothing more than pushing pixels around a screen and overthinking if a button should be round or square.
On top of that Jay was also going through a very stressful work week, and we have several fights each evening. I had many moments of wanting to just quit the program all together, because I hate fighting with my husband and it really ruins my whole optimistic mood when we are in a blow out fight.
I found myself saying a lot of negative things in my head like:
“If I were smart enough, I should be able to prototype super well.”
“If I were talented enough, I should know exactly what to design next.”
I realized something had to change.
So, how to get unstuck?
It was time to reframe.
Yesterday in the middle of a beautiful hike, breathing fresh air and soaking in sunshine, I realized this: it always makes sense, it always works out. We have to believe that what is true at the peaks is also true in the valleys and the darkness. What would it look like if you could trust that? What is one thing you could surrender today?
Sometimes the biggest barrier to finding a way through the darkness is the pressure we put on ourselves to have all the answers. To break through, make peace with the ‘I don’t knows’, the could bes, and take a step back in order to more confidently take a step forward. While I don’t have all the answers, I am now implementing two tools for purposeful balance while the journey gets rocky:
A Midday Walk…
So last Wednesday, despite the fact that my huge project was due Friday, I purposefully took long lunch hour walks to the SF MOMA and the new epic Salesforce Park as a mental break. I also started scheduling longer showers for myself, because I find my best ideas come in the shower when I am just allowed to have a brain dump with myself. Take some deep breaths and simply enjoy the sunshine and fresh air. Even a short walk will wake you up and give you a boost of energy, and your body will just feel better getting some movement.
A Solo Date!
Doesn’t a cocktail on your patio with a podcast playing at sunset sound absolutely divine? Or a dinner seated at the bar of your favorite restaurant as you read your favorite new fiction book? We have so many responsibilities and deadlines and errands and crunch times going on that it’s rare that we take the time to treat ourselves.
Next time you go pick up your regular coffee, go inside and sit at a table for 20 minutes, and simple sip and enjoy! Sometimes enjoying experiences for the simple joy of it is more important than tackling just one more thing.
I personally have spent the weekend binge watching Little White Lies Season 2, cooking up a storm of healthy food for the week ahead (so I don’t get stuck with only lattes and gum), and finding my way back to balance and creativity.
We all need those day to step away from our work and focus on a fresh perspective that can bring the reminder of true optimism to your life!
If you made it this far, and want to ride with me on this creative life that’s a rollercoaster of emotional adventures, hop onto my Instagram where I post daily inspiration on my stories and feed!
Sending you all my love and support as we head into a new week!