Let me start off this post by saying that I 100 percent do not have it all figured out. To be quite honest, I don’t really have anything figured out and that’s totally fine. But, when I graduated from college, I knew that the transition from college life to “real life” would be a tough one. All of a sudden, I went from having classes 2-3 times a week to working 5 days a week plus a commute—not fun. Not to mention, summer is no longer something to necessarily look forward to because you don’t get 3 months off. While I’m thankful that I have a job, saying that the transition was easy would be lie. My mom can vouch for me that I cried a lot my first month of working a 9-5 job because I was tired, overwhelmed, and I’m not someone who likes change (but then again, I literally cry about everything). However, I have found a few things that have made the transition easier and a few things that make working all day a bit easier to manage.
1) things to look forward to
This point is so important. In college, chances are you had things to look forward to: having a long weekend, spending time with your friends, college parties (if you were into that sort of thing), and all of the school breaks. Once you start working, a lot of the time your college friends move away and the school breaks disappear. I have found it helpful to have things each week to look forward to that aren’t related to work. Whether that’s a trip to see my boyfriend in Texas, a “date” night with my mom or dad, a shopping spree with my grandma, or simply just knowing that the weather will be nice and I will be able to talk a stroll around town, these are all activities that I look forward to. Regardless of what you’re doing, it’s super important to have things to look forward to to get you through the long work week.
As someone who is an introvert and finds it difficult to make friends, I can completely understand if you’re sitting there reading this and thinking, “Okay, but I don’t have anyone to do anything with.” And that’s totally fine and normal. For me, I decided to sign up for a paint class one day (of course, my mom went with me) and I also just recently purchased a yoga membership package for CorePower. Even though I don’t know any of the people who are in the yoga class(es) with me, it still helps me get out of the house, interact with others, and have something to look forward to during the week.
2) meal prepping
Unless you work in boujee corporate America (and congrats to you if you do!), then chances are you don’t have a fabulous cafeteria like the one in The Devil Wears Prada and have to either buy your lunch daily or pack a lunch. Personally, I don’t buy lunch because not only is it a waste of money, but you can make much healthier options when you pack it yourself!
Since I’m vegan (and these options can be great even if you’re not vegan or are just trying to eat more plant-based), I like to prep veggies and a protein at the beginning of the week. Since I live at home, I like to roast a big sheet of veggies—like brussel sprouts, broccoli, onion, Japanese sweet potatoes, etc.—to be shared with my family and also pre-wash and put into Tupperware canned beans or lentils/quinoa for the week. Some of my favorite things to bring with me to work are a salad topped with the roasted vegetables and protein, a date stuffed with nut butter for a snack, a yogurt parfait made with dairy-free yogurt, berries, and coconut, and occasionally a soup or a pre-packed vegan meal like these cauliflower rice meals from Kitchen & Love.
My favorite part of meal prepping is how easy it is to great ready for the next work day. The night before going to work, I pack my lunch with all of the goodies that I pre-made. This helps me relax more because I can sleep in an extra half hour in the morning, and I’m not worrying about not having something healthy to eat at work.
Need some vegan meal inspiration? Follow my board on Pinterest! Don’t know what to use to pack? Here are some of my sustainable favorite!
3) planning your day
For as long as I can remember, I’ve been an organizational freak—yes a freak. When I was in school, I got so excited about buying a new planner at the beginning of the school year. I’m also someone who prefers writing down my to-do lists with pen and paper over typing them out. But I find that planning my day—even week—allows me to be more organized and relaxed. At the beginning of each week, I’ll write out a to-do list of everything that I want/need to accomplish that week at work. In the past, I have been found to stress and get everything that I need to get done for the week in one day. Yes, you read that right, I would try to get everything done for the week in one day, completely forgetting that I had four more days ahead of me to get stuff done. Writing down my to-do list allows me to see exactly what I need to do. Plus, there’s nothing more satisfying than crossing something off your to-do list once you complete it!
In addition to planning out my work week, I also like planning out my days/weeks for personal activities. Similarly to how important it is to have something to look forward to—like I mentioned above—planning your personal schedule can help keep you accountable to doing fun things and taking some time for yourself. For example, I always plan to have a Brunette with a Blog post go live on Saturday’s. This keeps me accountable to use some of my free time during the week to write a blog post. Another thing that I plan during the week is my workouts. Since joining CorePower, I have been planning out my yoga classes for the week. Personally, I like doing yoga on Monday’s to start my week off right and I know that my studio location offers Hot Power Flow (my class of choice) Monday nights at a time that’s convenient to my schedule. I personally don’t have trouble making sure that I workout during the week, but I am someone that struggles with feeling rushed for no apparent reason. Therefore, I love planning out what my day is going to look like in terms of times (ex: from 6:45am-7:45am I have my commute to work, from 8am-3pm I am at work, from 3pm-4pm I commute home from work, from 4pm-5pm I finish working from home, from 5pm-6:30pm I go to the gym, and so on). I find this very helpful in calming myself down, especially when I feel like I have no time in the day to do the things I enjoy doing.
Here, here, and here are a few of my favorite planners at the moment.
Do you work full-time? If so, what are some of your tips and tricks for managing your days? Let me know in the comments below!