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5 Habits I’ve Adopted to Change My Life for the Better

Life is hard right now. What am I saying… it’s always been hard! Life is not supposed to be easy but especially during these hard times with the ongoing pandemic, it’s easy to feel in a rut or even depressed at times.

We’ve been dealing with COVID-19 for close to an entire year… the Spanish Flu lasted 1.5 years and yet, I have a strange feeling that we will be dealing with our pandemic longer than that. For those who think coronavirus is going away, think again. Just when you put your guard down, the virus can take hold of your body. My poor husband, Mitch, tested positive yesterday. He caught it from someone almost a week ago who worked with someone else who tested positive. A complete third party situation. I got a test after learning Mitch’s results and mine thankfully (and surprisingly), were negative. Mitch left to go quarantine at a family member’s condo and I stayed up until 1am deep-cleaning and disinfecting the entire house. I’m still going to get another test in a couple of days just to be sure. Until then, I’ll be laying low at home and counting my blessings.

During this pandemic, both my husband and I lost our jobs and have had to take a step back with any plans we had made once we got married. To be honest, I was hoping to be pregnant by now but since I lost my job and all of my benefits, the baby plan has been put on the back-burner. I know it’s for the best and it’s all a part of the plan, but I still get sad about it from time to time. Now, we are directing our attention on moving (closer to family) and starting a brand new business- from the ground up! We are so excited about this new venture but it’s also very bittersweet as we’ve been in Austin for almost 10 years and love this city so deeply. Luckily, we will only be two hours away so we can come back whenever we feel the urge to visit friends and our favorite restaurants.

So many things have been happening all at once and it’s so easy to become overwhelmed. I’ve had very dark days where I’ve felt totally hopeless and alone. The last several months have been hard- not only on my psyche but also on Mitch’s psyche and our marriage. It’s not easy dealing with first year of marriage and a global pandemic. However, we always come together at the end of the day so that’s a blessing. When 2020 was coming to an end, I made promises to myself to obtain in 2021. I had to look deep inside myself to realize that there are things I need to change and things I need to simply accept. Since adopting these 5 habits into my life, I’ve felt more hopeful, motivated and positive. I kid you not when I say that I’m feeling so much better than I have in months and actually seeing some light at the end of the tunnel.

  1. Put down the wine when you’re sad and drink a hot cup of tea.



    Anyone who knows me, knows that I love my wine. I am the biggest fan of Cabernet Sauvignon and I love pairing my meals with a big glass of wine. However, drinking alcohol also has the side effect of making me feel anxious- especially the day after if I’m slightly hungover. For the most part of quarantine, I would enjoy at least two (sometimes an entire bottle) of wine every night. Every. Single. Night. It was like clockwork. 5pm hit and it was time to pop open a bottle. It wasn’t until I actually realized that I was becoming dependent on my evening glass of wine to feel “better” that I realized I needed to chill out. Since cutting out alcohol almost two weeks ago, I’ve felt more energized, alert and my skin hasn’t looked so clear and bright in a very long time. I’m loving my evening hot cup of tea because it helps me relax and wind down for bed. Currently, I’m enjoying a soothing caramel bedtime tea which I add splash of dairy-free milk to along with a sprinkle of cinnamon. It’s a hug in a cup! I’m not saying that I won’t ever drink alcohol again, but I am certainly enjoying this cleansing, detoxifying moment.

  2. Start reading a book.



    When I was a child, my dad tried so hard to get me to enjoy reading. Like a lot of kids, I simply didn’t care to read and only read when my school enforced it. Anyone remember AR points?? Now, I LOVE getting lost in a good book. I do enjoy fiction; however, I’m also a big fan of self help books. As humans, we can always be learning something and continuing to grow. Our brains will never reach a limit of how much there is to learn in life. I enjoy reading because it helps me re-set my mind and re-focus. Currently, I’m reading Untamed by Glennon Doyle. It is so funny and inspiring and I highly recommend it. To those who don’t think they enjoy reading, just try. Start with a topic you know you will enjoy and keep going from there. Reading will truly transform you into a better person.

  3. Find ways to express gratitude.



    Gratitude journals are all the rage right now. They certainly are an excellent way to write down your thoughts, feelings and what you’re thankful for. For me, my gratitude journal is this blog. Writing (or typing) my thoughts and feelings helps me get everything out of my head. Moreover, I have also been taking the time each morning to find a quiet place to pray. I’ve had an interesting relationship with God over the years. Some days I find myself to be feeling very faithful and other days, I feel confused and uncertain. As I’ve gotten older, I’ve connected again with God. I find that praying helps clear my foggy brain and it’s nice to say out loud what I’m feeling grateful for. We have a lot to be thankful for and whether you are religious or not, it’s nice to be able to notice all of the positives in life.

  4. Figure out what it is you love, and f’*** do it.



    So many people don’t know what they truly want to do in life. We pick jobs that we hate but can’t leave them because bills have to be paid. We struggle with finding what we are passionate about. We fall into career ruts and can’t get out. Since losing my job due to the pandemic, I’ve had a lot of time to reflect on my job history and think about what I want to do moving forward. I moved to Austin for one reason and that was to attend culinary school. I fell in love with my now husband while attending culinary school and have come a long way in the food and events industry. I’ve had moments of asking myself “why did I pick this industry? Why the hell didn’t I choose something essential? Why did my parents not force me to go to medical school?” But the thing is, I chose this profession for a reason. I love food and talking about food and cooking/eating food. This is my passion. Now, how can I really earn a fair living while doing what it is I love to do? During this pandemic, I started my own meal prep/meal delivery business and it’s kept me busy and financially stable. My husband has also been helping me which has been great. Fortunately, we were both given a can’t-pass-up opportunity to start a new catering/meal service business that is completely ours. It will be a lot of work but we are ready. So find what it is you truly love and go for it! Whether it’s starting a new business or playing video games for money, just do it.



    What we fear doing most is usually what we most need to do.” – Ralph Waldo Emerson



  5. Get a good night’s sleep.



    Going to bed isn ‘t always the easiest thing to do. These days, we are so consumed and mesmerized with our phones, laptops and TVs. I’m not sure I know anyone who leaves their phone out of their bedroom, doesn’t turn the TV on, and/or goes to bed every night at the same time. Oh wait, yes I do… my mom! She and my dad don’t have a TV in their bedroom, they don’t bring their cellphone to bed with them, and she goes to bed every night between 10-10:30pm. That’s why she’s so beautiful and looks 10 years younger than her age! 🙂 But seriously, sleep schedules are all over the place it seems- especially now since we are all at home or working from home. Luckily, I sleep pretty well each night but unfortunately, my husband doesn’t. It’s been important for me to get him to adopt new going-to-bed habits so we can both sleep soundly together in our bed. What helps me and seems to be working for him is not drinking alcohol, eating three hours prior to bedtime, drinking sleepy-time tea, and *trying* to get in bed around 11pm. (Also a little bit of the devil’s lettuce works for him, too.)

    I don’t think people need 8 hours every night to feel rested. Some people only need 6 hours of sleep while others may even need 9 hours of sleep. Making bedtime a nightly ritual and priority is what will keep your body in a routine.

Everyone needs different things in life to feel at peace with themselves. We are all unique creatures with specific needs and it’s about finding what works best for you. I strongly believe that in order to be content, we must be selfish and build that relationship with ourself first. Be selfish!

With love,

JJ

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