Kind of a long one, but there has been something on my mind lately.
Aside from my birthday celebration, I have been stuck in a rut of sorts. I thought once I got a job, the rut I was in before would subside (for obvious reasons). There were a brief couple of weeks where everything was exciting because, well, I was starting a new job and my work schedule was ever-changing. The gear-shifting within the team was different and kept me on my toes. Once I switched into my official schedule, however, that is when I noticed my everyday life started shifting tremendously as well.
When I was still in training at work, I worked a typical eight-hour day/five-day work week with weekends off, starting at 1:30 p.m. and ending at 10:00 p.m. The week of my birthday celebration, I switched into my new schedule which meant officially moving into a 10-hour day/four-day work week. My shift is now 11:30 a.m. to 10:00 p.m., Friday through Monday. At first, I was very excited about the switch because how can you not love the idea of a three-day weekend? But I knew there would be some major disadvantages I would have to adjust to with having mid-week off. Initially, I thought my biggest hurdle would be that my social activities would be few and far between. What I didn’t expect, however, was how it would affect my daily life.
For most people, getting off at 10:00 p.m. isn’t so bad. Technically, if I wanted to go out on weekends, I could just leave straight from work and still be able to sleep in the next morning. As an introvert and an early bird, getting off at 10:00 p.m., and not getting home until 10:30 p.m., means only one thing to me: time to go to bed. Naturally, my body wakes me up around 7:00 a.m., but I have been pushing myself to sleep until 8:00 a.m. to get the maximum amount of energy needed for my shifts. Yes, my job only requires me to sit and stare at a screen and/or take phone calls for 10 hours, but that is still 10 hours of mental and physical attention. When I get home, I am less likely to spend time on my bedtime routine and even more less likely to motivate myself to get up and work out in the mornings like I had gotten used to when I was not working.
Almost immediately, I started to notice weight gain and breakouts on my face. Since I am sitting for so many hours, my usual [and unfortunate] snacking habit only amplifies because I have a scheduled, 30-minute lunch break everyday. I tried to combat and, frankly, justify this habit by working out on my off days, but eventually it just started to feel like I was staying at the same weight because I hadn’t changed anything about my routine at work. I also stopped focusing on my skincare rituals because I just wanted to get to bed as quick as possible. When you’re borderline falling asleep, who has the energy to stay up an extra 15 minutes just for a face mask?
That feeling of laziness further translated into me really falling into the casual dress code at work and overall just looking and feeling like a slob. I did not like what I was seeing in the mirror and I was losing my self-confidence. I know it seems like these “daily life problems” are extremely vain, but personally I like the feeling of taking care of myself. At first, I too did register this as vanity and trying to ‘keep up appearances’, but then I realized, the things I used to do everyday when I was unemployed were things I enjoyed. I enjoyed working out four times a week. I enjoyed my morning and nightly skincare routines. I enjoyed being in my own skin! I have always believed in the saying, “When you look good, you feel good.” All of these little things that seem vain from an outside perspective truly affect my self-confidence and ultimately takes an effect in the way I operate.
I decided to bite the bullet. I needed to press reset. This meant waking up a little earlier on a couple of work days to get a quick workout in. This meant staying up a little later to prep my skin to repair overnight. This meant choosing healthier snacks and eating full meals. Overall, it meant that in order for me to feel like me again, I had to make some small sacrifices that I knew would ultimately make me happier. Now, I am definitely fortunate that my only problems right now outside of student loans are trying to work on looking and feeling better about myself, but we all have our own personal struggles. Self-confidence has always been an issue for me and I know it will never really go away. The issue is, I am always looking from the outside in instead of the inside out and telling myself, “Things could be worse.”
I realized, however, that I should not let others/other things dictate what should and should not be important in my life. What is important to me is working on that so that I can ultimately be a better person for myself, for my job, for the people in my life. So yes, liking what I see in the mirror reflects in other areas for me personally. Naturally, we sacrifice parts of ourselves for different things whether that be a job, a relationship, or a personal goal. The lesson here is that we have to always remind of ourselves of what brings happiness into our lives. It is about making sure that every now and then when we get lost in it all, we remind ourselves of those things that bring us a sense of confidence; things hat help us restart, refresh, and renew.
photo cred: Ilse Campos