how I take care of myself on a busy schedule

(Click here to jump to the list!)
School is back in session for the last time for me, and this is usually the time of year that my worst personal flaw comes out. Although I have been putting in extra effort to take better care of myself and set time aside to unwind, I have this tendency to be so self-destructive and it has shown through as of lately. I’m going to be cheesy and put it this way:

My name is Ashley, and I am a workaholic.

No, not in the bitches-get-shit-done, work-hard-play-hard, cliche, motivational way. I mean in the addiction way. I feel absolutely worthless when I’m not doing things to advance myself further, so I go to extremes to make sure I am always getting ahead. I panic and refuse to relax. It’s a collision of passion and expectations placed on me at a young age.

When I was in elementary school, I was told to start looking at colleges. I was given my first SAT prep book in the fifth grade. While I knew this was because my family cared about me and thought I was bright, that became my mindset from that point on: be above average in every way. In a way, I thank everyone around me for putting me in that mindset, as I have reaped some benefits, but I condemn myself for taking it to extremes. Let me draw out what my life is right now:

– I work multiple jobs. I work in a restaurant, I intern for a school district, I intern for my university, and I host an Airbnb. This takes up the majority of my time.

– I am taking five classes at school on top of this.

– I try to shoot photos and blog in one way or another almost every day.

– I do assorted freelance work, whether writing for a publication for my portfolio, or helping decorate a commercial space.

– I have a partner, bike 2-4 miles a day, and try to have one extra activity: reading a book, seeing a friend, going to the bar.

This isn’t by any means a self-pity post. I actually feel weirdly comfortable with my 7 days/week workflow. However, I have to find ways to unwind so that I don’t overextend myself.

So, how do I take care of myself on a busy schedule? The honest answer? I don’t.

You guys probably saw my Instagram story, but I had to have a severe ingrown toenail surgically removed a few days ago. Why? Because I kept working on my feet too long. My skin has been acting up on me, my sleep schedule is a mess, and I’m pretty sure I haven’t eaten vegetables in like three days. I’m working on these issues with myself.

However, here is what I AM good at that I will share with you.

1. Plant therapy

I love going to my fave plant stores to take home a new addition to my home. It’s cheap, it brightens my space, and, most importantly, it makes me feel needed without having to do anything too time-consuming. These have helped with me coping with anxiety and depression, and I love building a little collection.

2. Reading a book

I am the type of person that is reading ten books at once and then goes to goodwill to buy five more. I like to read gradually, as I don’t have the time to read an entire book in one sitting anymore, and the little bit of progress every day makes me feel like I’m putting in an effort.

3. Making lists

Lists help me feel centered and organized, and I make at least one every day. I learned a technique in an anxiety support group about taking a “stress inventory” where you write every single thing that is bothering you and you tackle it piece-by-piece. I’ve done this on the regular for years — one time my friend even found a list inside a book I lent to her. Whoops!

4. Treasure hunting

I swear, something that you score for $3 at goodwill can turn your entire mood around. Whether it’s a mug you love a lot or a little basket, just a little something that makes you feel like you have your life together can help you feel grounded and happy ♥️ I always look at this little basket bag I’m holding in this photo and I smile because it used to be a children’s picnic set that I scored at goodwill and I made it into a bag.

I hope this post helps you guys! I love that I can come to my little corner of the internet and be honest with you. Nobody has their shit together, and we are all trying here, and I am just here to share my daily life with you, imperfections and all.

Until next post. xx

P.S. These photos are of me hanging out at The Pueblo in PHX! Support local and go check it out!