Happy Monday! I can’t believe this is the last week of summer. (Though, I guess technically, summer ends in September—but you know what I mean!) It seems like just last week, Lindsey and I were enjoying a night at The Tides Inn over Memorial Day weekend. I feel like this summer flew by because I was so busy, both with work and personal trips. I was out of town for at least one night 10 out of 14 weeks this summer, so needless to say, I’m excited that my fall travel schedule is looking very light. Though I love traveling, I also really love routine—and I am excited to be able to take advantage of experiences closer to home this fall. It’s no secret I love warm weather, and am truthfully, while I am not all that excited the cold weather coming our way, I am ready for the change that a new season brings. I’m excited to dig out my fall clothes, enjoy all things pumpkin, and start getting excited about the holidays.
Before we start to transition into all things fall here on the blog, I wanted to check in and share a little bit about what’s going on in my life lately.
DO YOU UNPLUG ON VACATION?
Weekend before last, I went to Nashville for my best friend’s bachelorette—more on that trip coming later this week! As I was setting up my out of office email responder at work, I made a goal for myself—I wasn’t going to check my work email until I got back into the office on Monday. Seems simple enough, right?
At my old job, I was really good about disconnecting when I was on vacation—especially on the back half of my time there. I was settled into my routine, projects moved relatively slowly, and the volume of email was maybe 25-50 emails per day. At my new job, which I started in December, I’ve had a harder time unplugging from work on vacation—and it’s not because of any pressure put on me by work (my teammates are the best and we all happily cover for each other on vacation!), it’s because of pressure I put on myself. Since I’m newer at work, I’ve felt like I’ve put in a ton of effort to get caught up and fully understand projects. Stepping away, even just for a few days, sometimes feels like a setback, even though, rationally, I know it’s not, since I can—and do—always catch up. The other thing that really stresses me out when taking vacation is the volume of emails I receive—usually between 150-200 emails every day. So if I’m out for a couple of days on PTO, my perfectly organized inbox starts to feel a little out of control.
But, I’ve come to realize that if I don’t step away fully when I do go on vacation (at least the majority of the time—there are sometimes when you take a vacation and there’s a pressing project that you have to stay involved in, and that’s just life!), I’m going to burn out. Since I earn paid vacation, my company is literally paying me to take time off. And I’ve found that when I do unplug from work on vacation, I come back much more refreshed than if I try to half be present on my vacation, half on my phone checking work emails.
So when I went to Nashville, I turned my work cell phone off. I brought it with me in case there was an emergency (and, it’s nice to have a backup phone, just in case!), but since it was turned off, I didn’t kill waiting time checking my work email or feel the temptation to “just do a quick skim.” When I got back on Monday, I was able to catch up on everything more quickly than I thought I would—and I enjoyed my trip so much more. This is definitely a strategy I’ll be using on future vacations.
One other thing I’ve learned this year is that it’s hard for me to fully disconnect from work and really recharge when I just take a day or two off work. As such, next year, I’d love to take at least one consecutive week off work. This year, the most days I’ve taken off at once was three, and while it was a great way to create a longer weekend, I really want to make sure I’m maximizing the impact of my vacation time moving forward—and I think that means fewer, longer trips.
DO YOU OVER SCHEDULE YOURSELF? /
In addition to unplugging on vacation, one thing that has been on my mind a lot lately is how to ensure better balance between social plans and recharging time at home. Before I left for Nashville, I had ten straight days where I had a social commitment, and on the weekend days, I had multiple. Don’t get me wrong, I love my friends, I love being busy, and I love saying yes to dinners out, salads with friends after spin class, and birthday celebrations. But as much as I love being social, I also love having a day or two a week where the only plans I have are with my couch and a good book or Netflix show.
I’ve also been getting invited to social plans a lot lately that in my heart of hearts, I don’t want to say yes to—whether it’s networking cocktails or a dinner that will require me to commute an hour after work. I feel bad saying no to people, so sometimes I go anyway—but I often want to tell them that I don’t always even have time to see the friends I do want to see, or that I travel often for work during the week so it’s nice to have a few nights off when I am in town, or that I’m currently booked through the middle of September (true life—I just made plans for October 2 this week, hah!).
As such, my goal for the fall is to not schedule more than two or three social activities each week after work, so that I have at least two or three nights a week where I can just do me and workout, grab a salad, and sit on my couch to blog and watch TV. (Especially since we’re rapidly approaching cheesy Christmas movie season!) I’ll let you know how this goes—but I am really going to try to stick with it.
EVERWOOD ON HULU /
About a month ago, my friend Abbi texted me with a very important PSA that one of my all-time favorite shows, Everwood, is on Hulu! I loved Everwood in middle school and early high school, and I’ve been rewatching it now as an adult—it ages better than most shows you enjoy when you’re 15, and, as an added bonus, I don’t remember all the plot lines, so sometimes I feel like I’m watching a brand new show!
For those of you unfamiliar, Everwood was a show that aired on The WB, and later, The CW, that follows the story of Dr. Brown, a world-renowned brain surgeon who’s wife, Julia, dies in a tragic car accident. After Julia’s death, Dr. Brown moves his two children, 15-year-old Ephram and 9-year-old Delia, to Everwood, Colorado, to start over. He opens up a family practice, and competes with the other family doctor in town, Dr. Abbott. Over the four seasons of the show, the story follows the Abbotts, the Browns, and recurring characters in town—like Nina, the Brown’s next door neighbor.
It’s such a feel-good show, and even if you didn’t watch it during the original run like me, I think if you like shows like This is Us, Friday Night Lights, Gilmore Girls, or A Million Little Pieces, you’d really enjoy Everwood.
LABOR DAY WEEKEND PLANS /
I’m closing out the summer with one last trip, and it’s not just any trip—it’s a great American road trip. On Thursday night, my friend Emma and I are meeting up in DCA (she’s taking an earlier flight from LGA!) and flying to Jackson, Mississippi—and I’ll hit my 31st State!. From there, we will be spending a night in Natchez, MS, then driving to Oxford, MS for a night. After, we’ll be crossing into my 32nd state and heading to Birmingham, AL by way of Tuscaloosa. Then, we’re heading to Atlanta, and we’ll fly home the Tuesday after Labor Day.
My friend Ashlee (who lived in Oxford and Birmingham!), my friend Becca who just took a similar road trip, and a few my blog followers who went to Ole Miss have been SO HELPFUL in providing us recommendations on where to eat and drink, what to do, and where to shop. Emma and I both majored in American Studies in college, and I feel like you can’t understand America without understanding the American South—so I am excited to explore it with someone who, like me, has a deep appreciation for and curiosity about history.
I can’t wait to share more about our trip here on A Touch of Teal—stay tuned for a recap post in September!
That’s what’s going on in my life lately—I’d love to know what’s going on with you! x