I started out my veterinary career with A LOT of bad habits. Granted, I worked a busy internship schedule that took a lot out of me, but I did not prioritize myself for the first few years of my career. I paid the price because I almost faced burn out just a few years out from graduation. I found that I was not excited to go to work and dreaded getting out of bed on work days. This was NOT the life I thought I would be leading when I was studying like crazy in vet school for my dream career.
So, what was I doing wrong? For one, I prioritized the wrong things when I got home from work. I would do things like this...
- Vent to my husband (negativity spiral)
- Drink wine...and not like a glass...like, a bottle (numbing spiral)
- Stay up late (insomnia spiral)
- Not eating well or working out (self destructive spiral).
- Struggling to say no...overextending myself (exhaustion spiral)
When I finally hit a wall, I realized that what I was doing to myself was NOT working. I was always exhausted and did not feel like I was relaxing during my time off from work. In order to feel like our best selves at work, we must do things outside of work that refill our cups...not empty them. I was running on empty, over-caffeinated cups, and it just was not working for me.
Then, I started reading about routines. I thought the whole idea seemed cheesy at first, but the fact that SO many people were raving about them got me thinking. They have to be helpful if this many people found results from having them. And so, I created my daytime and evening routines. I set boundaries for myself. AND I saw results!!
Ashley's Evening Routine
Consistency. That is the name of the game, friends. You just need to start something and stick with it. It does not need to be complicated. You will see mine is not very complex, and it works for me.
1. Unwind on the way home from work: This used to be more involved when I had a 30 minute commute, but basically I will run through a few things in my head that are bothering me and LET THEM GO! I have some mantra's I repeat like, "I cannot control everything" or "Someone else's words or actions do not define me." Repeating these simple phrases over and over have really helped me to let things go. I also blast music loudly, and sing along. These two little moves get me in a better frame of mind when I walk in the door when I get home.
2. I put my phone away: My phone is attached to me all day long while I am at work to calculate drug doses, use my Plumb's app, scroll Insta when I have down time, and look up information to help me with my cases. I have found that iPhones are ADDICTIVE AF and that I can waste valuable precious home time on it if I am not careful. So, I plop it on my dresser, ignore it, and make sure to spend actual quality time with my husband and furkids. This little change has helped me feel more connected to my husband and has helped me feel more relaxed as well.
3. Self care routine: This may seem trivial but having a self care beauty routine that I do every night has seriously helped me too. I like how it makes my skin look more "glowy" at work with less of the dreaded eye bags. I am an evening shower person now, so that is the first thing I do when I get home. It almost feels like a "work cleanse" as I wash work off of me. A few times per week, I use this face mask. Sometimes, I can talk my husband into joining me (HAHA! You will be surprised how many men love these too!). I have found this skincare kit is my favorite for the price and effect on my skin. Lastly, I use these cooling eye pads a few times per week, and they have made a huge difference.
4. Unwind with a TV show, then read with tea! I used to just get sucked into TV every night, but I found watching TV caused me to get all worked up before bed (I talk/yell at the TV a lot...). I would also get sucked into a show and 3-4 hours would go by before I knew it. Now, I switch over to a book, as I find this a lot more relaxing. Tea has become a ritual as well for us where we have a cup before bed every night. I have now associated it with unwinding before bed, and it helps make me sleepy.
As you can see, it is nothing fancy! Just a few consistent things I do each night that help me. I just started using the Calm app last week and am going to add meditation into my regimen now. They also have sleep focused content that can help you fall asleep, which is right up my alley now that my pregnancy has impacted my sleep. I am hopeful this will become another great addition to my evening routine.
One last thing! I learned to set better boundaries for myself and won't say yes to everything people ask of me. That allows me to have some days where I relax and prioritize myself and then reserve other days for when I am more up for errands or dinner with friends after work. It has made a huge difference, and I can say that I now swear by morning and evening routines.
Head back into our blog to read each of our morning routines, and don't forget to read our last blog on what Monica does for her evening routine. Happy relaxing, VOTR fam!