To say 2019 was life-changing... would be an understatement. I ended the year in a completely different position than how I started -- both personally and professionally. New job - new apartment - new state - new beginnings.
Obviously, the biggest change came when I decided to take a job in Austin, Texas. Albuquerque was good to me (for the most part) and the choice to leave after 4.5 years was not easy. But the opportunity to grow my career presented itself... and I took it. Six months later -- I am now feeling more adjusted, more comfortable, and more convinced that I made the right move. (God doesn't make mistakes... and I knew He was calling me back to Texas for a reason.)
Like any year, there were a lot of ups... and a lot of downs. But considering it all, I'm grateful for the hard-learned lessons. Here are my 2019 main take-aways:
1. Prioritize self-care: It's easy for me to burn myself out. Between the charity events, school visits, tough work hours, living away from family & trying to be a normal 20-something year old, I find myself taking on too much, too often. Earlier this year, I finally hit a point where my body & brain were telling me enough. I burned out - mentally & physically. It would be easy to just say "take a vacation"... & pack my bags & go. But given that I'm only allotted 10 vacation days & 10 sick days a year... time off is hard to come by. (And up until this summer, I had actually never used a sick day.)
That changed this year. I finally worked up enough courage to take a 'mental health day'. (Our shop allows us to use sick days for illness, medical appointments & mental health -- it's a use 'em or lose 'em policy.) I finally realized that I needed to start putting more importance on my mental health -- to avoid the burn outs, unmotivated days & the "I give up" feelings.
Whether it was a pedicure, a bible study or simply just doing something that made me happy, self-care became a big focus for me in 2019... and I hope to continue this in 2020. (New Year's Resolution 2020: use all my sick time - not as vacation, but for wellness)
2. Family time is most important. Along the lines of self-care, I learned this year that a week home with family or a weekend visit from sister can make all the difference. It's always stressed me out to have to go to work and entertain visiting family... but this year, I really made an effort to relax when spending time with my my parents & sister. I still get a overwhelmed at times... but I'm happy to think I made at least a little progress in this department this year.
3. Toxic environment = toxic mentality. It's amazing what a life reset can do for your spirit. It wasn't until this year did I realize the effect of positive surroundings. Surround yourself with encouraging, motivated people... you find yourself with a more go-getter, positive attitude. Less trash talk, more heart-to-hearts. For me, it was like flipping a switch. It was that significant.
4. Goodbyes are hard. I've always struggled with letting go. Literally, my whole life. I'm the girl who went away to college but came back after high school graduation to visit my teachers during winter break. I'm also the girl who has looked up guys of past relationships on Facebook / scrolled through their Instagram weeks after a break-up (50% crazy, 50% 'I work in news' & we're nosy by nature). But nonetheless, I prove the point that moving on is a slow process for me. I eventually let go and get on with my life... but given this year's out-of-state move & job transition, I've realized I still struggle with the goodbyes. I'm an "all in" kind of gal... I do everything with all my effort, all my focus, and all my heart. So yes, goodbyes aren't easy for me. And this year certainly proved that.
But with the good and the bad... comes another close of a year.
Thanks for the memories 2019... & look out 2020. #BigThingsPoppin
I worked the morning shift for 6 years before transitioning into my new role here in Austin. That's 6 years of my alarm going off at 1:45am. Now one would think you get used to it after awhile... but I can tell you, you don't. Your body never really gets used to waking up at that ugly hour. What really happens is you just learn to function on little sleep.
There are multiple sleep schedules when it comes to working the morning shift. Some TV anchors go for the normal 8 hour block of sleep which means they're in bed around 4pm-5pm. Others will go to bed right after they get off work and will sleep from 11am to 7pm... then get up, do their thing & go to work at 2am-3am. However, I found the 'split sleep' option to work best for me -- a 2-3 hour nap after work... then going back to bed around 7pm-8pm.
If I didn't get that midday nap, I would be an absolute zombie for the rest of the day. "Aren't you groggy when you wake up?" ... the truth is yes, there were times where I just wanted to sleep all the way through the afternoon, evening and night. But more often than not, I was able to power down for a couple hours then wake up with more energy to be a "normal human".
That being said, it took me a couple years to find that rhythm. I also, up until this past July, knew nothing different when it came to a work schedule. I started my career on mornings & continued on mornings for 4.5 years while in ABQ.
Fast forward to now. I'm on a different shift, fighting the same battle - how to be the most 'normal' with a wacky work schedule & weird sleeping options.
As of now, my schedule is supposed to run as follows:
-- MONDAY: off
-- TUESDAY: off
-- WEDNESDAY/THURSDAY/FRIDAY: late morning to early evening
-- SATURDAY/SUNDAY: early afternoon to late night. NBC's Sunday Night Football always pushes us really late.
I can tell you that in my 6 months of working here, that weekly schedule has happened twice. TWICE. Between coworkers taking vacation, unexpected trips, sick days and the news dept needing an extra body... I've been filling in wherever needed. (Note, this is not me complaining. There is always a bit of this expected when being the weekend meteorologist). But the problem was the team had been short-staffed for so long -- vacation days had built up. So once I jumped on-board, my schedule was turned upside down as I was plugging holes all over the place: mornings, nights, days, repeat in any order.
Because I'm scheduled to work a normal 9am-6pm shift during the week, I go to the gym in the morning as I always end up too tired to go after work. So that leaves me waking up at 5:30am to make the 6am workout class. But come weekends, I have to force my body to stay awake to be alert for the 10pm newscast (I usually end up staying up until midnight).
Bottom line, I'm forcing myself to be an early bird during the week and night owl on the weekends - which leaves me with a pretty jacked up sleeping schedule. Not only am adjusting what time I wake up & go to bed every few days - but also, after 6 years of splitting up my suggested 8 hours, I almost ALWAYS wake up once or twice in the early morning. Whether it's 1am or 6am, I consistently find myself waking up, staying awake for an hour then forcing myself to go back to sleep.
I'm not so much concerned about not getting enough sleep but more frustrated about the schedule wreaking havoc on my energy level. I feel like I can't keep or maintain the same kind of energy I had working mornings (which is crazy to think about). I slam just as much coffee on this weekend shift as I did waking up at 2am working mornings. I don't understand it.
I try to talk myself into thinking "I'm only 6 months in - it'll take time to figure this out." But in the meantime, I continue to struggle with this impossible work vs life balance... so bear with me. Between the multiple cups of coffee, dark eye circles & pseudo-midday naps, I'm bound to figure out a new rhythm eventually. Right?! *panicked look*