By Kaitlyn McMillan
College graduation. Moving home. Finding a job. Finding my way. That’s what life has consisted of the past month or so. Since being back home as a recent college graduate, I’ve gotten a job at Willie’s Icehouse and Grill (come get one of our famous margaritas). In addition to serving up fresh margs and fried pickles, my internship at talkStrategy has also been a new, exciting adventure that I can’t wait to tell you about.
From the moment I started learning about public relations in school, I knew I wanted to work at an agency. I loved the idea of being able to work with so many different clients and learning about each one as I go. While the new world I’ve been thrust into is one of experience, learning and opportunity, it also comes with a new set of challenges that I’ve enjoyed navigating so far.
This new set of challenges requires one word: balance. This is a word that as a student has been ingrained in my mind for years, but it’s different now. Balance in school was about knowing when to do your homework and when to go to sleep. It was about saying no to hanging out with your friends or going out in order to study for a big exam. Now, the word balance has taken on a whole new meaning for me. I have to balance two jobs, which happen to be quite different from each other. Late nights at the restaurant and early mornings at the firm have been challenging, but also exciting.
Not only do I have to balance my time, I also have to take care of my emotional, mental and physical health as well. In our current social and political climate, it can be hard to find ways to take care of ourselves and “switch off,” so to speak. Between what’s going on in Ukraine, and the horrific events that took place in Uvalde this past week, I sometimes find myself feeling even more overwhelmed and tired than I already am. After conversations with my co-workers and other people that lead lives similar to mine, I know I’m not alone. While I wanted to write this blog to highlight the ins and outs of work/life balance, I also want to share my 5 top tips for when I feel like I need a break.
#1: Take a walk
This is my number one tip for a reason. Getting outside and taking a couple of laps around the block or at the park can instantly boost your mood. Grab some water or an ice cold lemonade to make the hot summer days more enjoyable when walking. Nature rules.
#2: Talk to someone
If you’re feeling stressed or overwhelmed, talking to your co-workers or someone you trust can always help. The day after the news broke about Uvalde, I talked to my account team about it and they were not only thankful for me sharing my feelings, but they also reassured me that I can come to them anytime and take a breather when needed.
#3: Get some exercise
I’ve always relied on getting my heart pumping to make me feel better. While it boosts your serotonin instantly, it also reduces anxiety, depression, and improves your mental health tenfold. It doesn’t have to be some crazy bootcamp workout, just get your heart rate up for 30 minutes per day and you’ll be golden.
#4: Treat yourself
This one is easy for me. Going to grab some ice cream or that meal you’ve been craving is a great way to boost your mood. Not only are you relaxing and taking your mind off of things, you’re rewarding yourself for all the work you do. You deserve it!
Break out the essential oils and yoga mat, because it’s time to get your relaxation on. Turn on some spa music and do some stretching to ease your mind and relax your body. You can even upgrade to a full-blown spa night (I love doing this), by taking a bubble bath and lighting some candles. It’s great for the soul.
While this new chapter in my life has been fun and stressful at the same, learning how to get my mind right and balance my work/life has been an adventure. I hope these tips reach anyone who may need it, and never forget that it’s okay to take a step back for a while. Wish me luck in the real world everyone.