My Fitness Journey | Choosing Yourself First

“You haven’t been yourself in about 2-3 years” is what my mom said to me a year ago. We were having a conversation about possible depression and seeing my doctor to get on an antidepressant. I didn’t have health insurance at the time, so we were trying to figure out how I was going to pay for the doctor visit, as well as the medication. I was a mess, my mental health was a mess.

I had just started a job that I thought was my “big break” I was looking for to get my career off the ground. I was trying to convince myself that I enjoyed this job, but I really didn’t. I hated it and wasn’t good at it, at all. I would pack a gym bag to go to the gym right after work, but would talk myself out of actually going because I was “too tired”. I really felt like I wasn’t in control of anything. Although, I tried. I would go home after work and try to figure out how to be better at this job. When I was with my boyfriend, I was thinking of this job, I would get to the office early to try to prepare better for the day. I really wanted to make this work and was willing to do anything to make it happen. The stress of my career was literally taking control of everything.

On Friday July 6, 2018, I walked into work and was immediately brought into an office and was fired at 6:45am. I was half relieved because the job was horrible, but half confused because I had no idea what I was going to do next. How was I supposed to expect an employer to hire me when I had 3 jobs in 6 months & fired from the last one after 5 weeks?

That same day just happened to be the Annual Memorial Golf Scramble I volunteer at yearly. I looked at the pictures we took and immediately realized that I needed to start taking care of myself better. I really didn’t “look” that bad, but I could tell how unhappy I was and crumbling under my own pressure to pull myself together & failing at every attempt. I was exhausted and putting on a smile to try to convince myself & others that I was completely fine. I wasn’t taking care of myself AT. ALL. I was lost & didn’t know what to do, or which way to go.


On Monday, July 9, 2018, I woke up without a job to go to for the first time in YEARS. It was a feeling that I was unsure to do with because I was exhausted, tired of trying to prove myself & my abilities to Corporate America. I knew I had a lot of potential, but was running out of ideas and options. I wasn’t sure where I was going to go next, but I knew I had to keep going in the only way I knew how- start taking care of myself and my mental health.

So, I went to the gym.

In making the decision to take actionable steps to take care of myself first, I have:
– learned how to love myself again
– worked out on a consistent schedule
– gained a healthy relationship with food
– started my own business
– started waking up with purpose every day
– moved out of my parents house (finally!)
– connected with amazing people
– become, really really happy
*I also no longer felt like I needed to be on an antidepressant.

NOW WHAT?

So, I woke up that day, exactly one year ago, and drug myself to the gym, with a commitment to myself. A commitment to turn this negative thing into a life changing experience, and that’s exactly what I did. I didn’t have a plan for my career, or anything for that matter. But, I knew that if I wanted anything to come together, I had to take control of the one thing I had complete control over: myself.

This moment was the first time since college that the chaos in my mind completely stopped. After everything, I had no desire to look for a job. It sounds weird, I had lost my trust in corporate jobs. I was frustrated at the fact that I had to prove myself to a company, leave a paycheck & benefits, for them to let me go whenever it was convenient for them.

I was lucky enough to still be living with my parents, so I had the security and stability to be able to take the time to figure things out. My dad had an (unpaid) opportunity for me at his startup business. I decided to give it a try, there was nothing I had to lose really. This was the time where I really had to understand that I had to take on every single opportunity that came my way. I really didn’t care what it was, I just had to take advantage of everything.

The crazy thing is, the moment I stopped actively looking for opportunities, is the exact time when opportunities started coming to me. I had gotten myself on a exercise routine, making better food choices, taking care of myself and that’s when things started falling into place. I would not change a single part of my journey because every experience had lead me to where I am today. Those experiences will still continue to evolve, and I can’t wait to see what comes next.

WHAT I’VE LEARNED

We are taught to work hard and keep working towards your goals, right? That’s exactly what I tried to do and I ended up running myself into the ground. It’s not my fault- I was just doing what I thought I needed to do. I was working hard towards a goal that wasn’t meant for me. I’m not the only one who has done this, right?

But, these moments are meant to happen and are necessary for success and growth. The best thing I did in my time of confusion, was to start taking care of myself. If you have chaos in your mind like I did, things will start coming together when you calm your mind. It sounds cliché, but it’s so true!

Take every situation, good or bad, as an opportunity to keep growing and getting better. I had always heard that those “bad” moments are a sign that an incredible breakthrough is about to happen. I wish there was a magic piece of advice that I could give. It’s hard and uncomfortable, but I promise something amazing is about to happen! I had absolutely no idea that getting fired would lead me to starting my own business and working from home. But, I’m so happy that it did.

The best thing you can do in a time of chaos and confusion is start taking actionable steps towards taking care of yourself. I had no idea that stepping into the gym one year ago would be the start of the most amazing journey. I had no idea all of these amazing possibilities that are waiting for me and I know there’s so much more to come. 💗🙏🏼 I’m truly living my life- not just going through the motions of the day and hating everything & everybody.

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Turning Pain into Power: Healing From Broken Love

This is a topic that I debated on writing about. Frankly, I wish I could delete the memory of this relationship & person from my mind forever and never speak of it again. I also didn’t want to be disrespectful to my current relationship in any way, so I kept putting off this blog topic. Then I came across this picture last week while scrolling on Instagram:

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This reminded me of what my ex-boyfriend used to tell me. Now I see this  picture and think “yeah, duh!” At this point, it doesn’t hurt anymore. But, I do know there are some women (& men) who are currently in an emotionally abusive relationship like I was. Maybe currently hearing these things from the person they love. Maybe someone is trying to muster up the courage to leave the relationship, or maybe they are trying to heal the open wounds of a breakup. I’m hoping that by me writing this & telling my story about how I moved forward might help someone that is going through a similar situation.

I’m here to tell you I know how painful it is & yes, you can find love again. The love that you deserve. It is possible to turn that pain into power.

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Here are some things this individual said to me:

“You’re too emotional.”

“I’m too busy.”

“My goals are bigger than your goals.”

I felt like I had to be better & do better. I constantly felt like I wasn’t enough & I had to do everything I could to make him happy. I was in this relationship when I was at the lowest, most depressed time in my life. I did not love myself and found “love” through him, I was pretty much dependent on the relationship. I was in denial about how toxic it truly was, kept blaming myself, thinking I was doing something wrong every single day.

Until he said something along the lines of this to me:

“We’re only together because you’re too emotional & I’m too busy to deal with it if we break up.”

That was the moment that it hit me that I did not want to be with this person. I wanted to respect myself more than to be with someone who treated me like trash. So, I initiated the break up, blocked his number & blocked him on all social media. I went from one day relying on him completely for my “happiness” to having to figure out how to love myself again. Let me tell you what, it was really freaking hard, but 2 years of healing & I am so happy I did it.

Everyone handles break ups differently, so it will look different for everyone. But, for me, I focused on myself & my friendships. This breakup was also when I realized that I had neglected my friendships for a year and a half for the most part. After feeling so lost and unhappy for so long, I really just wanted to find myself again & be truly happy.

I journaled.. A LOT. I went to counseling. I cried. A LOT.

What I had to learn was to let myself feel the emotion that came to surface at every moment. The rollercoaster of emotions every day, throughout the day was crazy. I would be doing homework & randomly felt like I had to cry. So I did. I think often we feel guilty for feeling this way. “You should be happy that you’re not in that situation anymore!” Well, yes. But the emotional damage is real & it doesn’t heal overnight.

My mom also told me “You don’t have to have everything figured out right now.” I didn’t feel ready to delete all of the pictures off my phone or give away the jewelry he got me. So, I approached those things when I was ready to deal with them. About 2-3 months after the breakup I deleted all the pictures off of my phone & completely cleared him off of my social media accounts. Now I’m selling the jewelry he got me! I think that piece of advice my mom gave me was very important. It is important to make sure you are dealing with certain things when you are ready to do so. That definitely helped me not feel completely overwhelmed.

If I could go back time, I would have never got in that relationship, knowing what I know now. It was an empowering thing to experience because now I finally understand my worth & I’m not afraid to stand up for myself anymore. Not to mention I finally found the love I deserve with such an amazing guy! There’s always a silver lining, even though it might not be obvious right away, or still hurts years later.

Finding Love Again


You will know when you are ready to jump back into the dating game again. But, what I wasn’t ready for was all of the emotions from my past to come back once I started again. I hadn’t felt those emotions in a LONG time, from when I was in the bad relationship. I could feel myself pulling back & naturally just wanting to retract, protect myself & not fall for the same mistake again. It was really hard, harder than I expected. It took a lot of time & patience for me to get to the point where I’m at now. I kept fighting for the relationship & have now been with my current boyfriend for a year and a half!

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Finding love again is possible. But, you have to fight for yourself first. You have to let yourself feel the pain, so you can grow and eventually turn that pain in power. Power over your own life & your own happiness. It’s hard & at times you might feel like giving up. It’s OK! You’re not alone & you are not “crazy” for feeling how you feel. You do what you need to do to get to where you need to be. It takes time & it takes patience. Most importantly, it takes choosing yourself over anything else first.

The most important thing that I got from this experience is my strength and power over my life. It taught me a lot of lessons and I can’t even begin to explain how much I’ve grown from the experience. Would I still go back in time and not get involved with that person? Yes, absolutely. That would’ve saved me a lot of pain & heartache. But, you have to move forward with your experiences. You must turn that pain into power. Pain isn’t fun. But it’s what we do with that pain that can make all of the difference.

I hope you found this to be helpful if you are going through a similar experience! If you are going through this kind of emotional pain, don’t give up on yourself & know that you are not alone. Feel free to reach out to be personally if you need any additional advice or guidance!

- Blissfully Jess2

 

 

HAPPY VALENTINE’S DAY: 5 things I love about myself & my boyfriend

Happy Valentine’s Day!

Valentine's Day Blog

It’s the season of loooove, right?! We all love celebrating Valentine’s Day… if you are in a stable relationship, of course. I believe that voicing our love ourselves is just as important, if not MORE important. No matter how you are celebrating, whether it’s gathering roses and chocolates, spoiling your significant other, or maybe you are riding the love train solo; however you are celebrating this hallmark holiday, I hope you take the time to treat yo self as well. We should show ourselves love often & everyday, but this day I think it is a good excuse to really do it, and do it well & over the top.

Self-care is extremely important, as we all know..right?! It’s also a different topic for a different day (soon!). I encourage everyone to take some time this Valentine’s Day to show OURSELVES some love, while we are showing our loved ones extra love as well. Whether that means pampering yourself a little extra, writing about all the things you love about yourself, or whatever else YOU need.

In honor of Valentine’s Day, this season of looove, I am going to write out 5 things I love about myself as well as 5 things I love about my boyfriend.

5 things I love about myself 💗

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1. I never give up

Life has a funny way of throwing a TON of curve balls & bumps in the road. We’ve all been there, so I know you know what I’m talking about. I feel like no matter what I try to do, there’s always 20 things in my way that I have to overcome. Again, we’ve all been there. No matter what has happened throughout my life, I know that I will never give up. I’ve already come this far & I’m not stopping now!

2. I’ve learned to accept who I am

I remember always wishing I was better, smarter, prettier, skinnier, etc, etc. Again, I think we’ve all been there at some point in our lives. As humans, we strive to be socially accepted. We need social acceptance to survive. Therefore, we often feel like we need to be different than who we are to be accepted by others. It’s often very hard to be convinced & convince ourselves that we are just fine the way we are. 🙂 After many years of trial & error with learning about myself, I have finally learned to just own who I am.

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3. I have a great personality

Even though it took me a long time to accept who I am, I’ve always known that I have a great personality. I love how nice I am to everyone & how I truly want the best for everyone. It’s definitely a major part of who I am that I’m most proud of.

4. I’m uniquely smart & have learned to use this accordingly

This goes along with my first post, My journey from a struggling high school student to starting my own business. Smartness is something I definitely OWN now, because I felt so dumb for a majority of my life. I am now using my intelligence to make a difference in the world & I have to admit, it’s AWESOME. There’s no better feeling than being able to use your talents to make a difference.

5.  I truly want to make a difference in the world

When you have a burning feeling in your soul that you really want to make a difference, it’s honestly an amazing feeling. Not knowing how I truly wanted to make that difference was hard because I knew that I had to do it somehow. To wrap up these 5 things, I am just very proud of myself for sticking to what I truly want to do in this world. I am still holding onto that burning feeling of wanting to make a difference in the world. No matter where life takes you, never forget about your passion & what you want to do on this earth.

Side Note: I have to be honest, coming up with the fifth reason was a little tricky. It’s sad to think that it took me a while to come up with only 5 things that I love myself. But, I did want these reasons to be thoughtful & good reasons to love myself. I think it goes to show that when you don’t take the time to think about all the things you love about yourself, you often realize that you forget how amazing you really are. I encourage everyone reading this to take some time to write out a list of things you love about yourself. We all need this reminder sometimes. 🙂

5 things I love about my boyfriend ❤

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For those of you who don’t know my boyfriend, meet Michael. We’ve been dating since October 2018 & he is truly a spectacular person! Also, my brother’s name is Michael. Yes, it is a little confusing & slightly weird.

Anyway… Here’s just a small glimpse at the amazing reasons why I looove him. ❤

1. He loves me unconditionally

The feeling of being unconditionally loved is an indescribable feeling. From the very beginning of our relationship, I automatically felt like I could be my true, authentic self around him.

2. He knows how to make me feel better

I am a very emotional person & with all the changes & everything going on in my life, he knows how to keep me grounded. It’s almost like he knows me better than I know myself. He know what I need from him to make everything better.

3. He makes me laugh

Laughter is the best medicine, right?! Being able to have those inside jokes & just laugh with each other is a feeling I can’t explain. I know understand why it’s important for your significant other to be your best friend, because we truly to just have fun together!

4. He supports me

Holy crap, this one is HUGE! I also never understood the true importance of support in a relationship until I met Michael. He came into my life right in the middle of my Mid-Twenties breakdown trying to figure out what I wanted to do with my life. With all of the changes in my professional career, he has been with me every step of the way.

5. He is my best friend

I know I already mentioned this briefly, but he truly is my best friend. He’s my rock. Keeps me sane. Makes me feel special & worthy of love. This is also something I never felt or experienced until he came along. He is the first person I call (other than my mom, of course) when good things or bad things happen. He’s there when I need to be cheered up or to celebrate success. We are truly just living our lives, enjoying the time with each other. It is an amazing feeling to be with someone who makes you feel like that.

All I have to say is wowThis exercise was very refreshing & leaving me feeling great about myself. I really do encourage you to take the time to take advantage of this hallmark holiday. Show yourself some extra love and remind yourself about all the reasons why you love yourself & how amazing you. We are all constantly stressed and worried about the future. It’s OK to take this time and reflect on how amazing you are. It’s your turn!

Now, what do you love about yourself?!

Valentine's Day Blog

- Blissfully Jess2

 

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