I have been really stressed lately – and unfortunately, this weekend that all came to a head.
On Thursday night, despite a delay in my first flight out of Charlottesville, Virginia (where I went for a recruiting trip and got to relive some nostalgia and once again enjoy one of the best meals of my life at The Flat creperie), I made my connection and got home on time. Good thing, because when I landed at Denver Airport, my coworker / friend Elizabeth was waiting for me. I was looking forward to having her join me to ski Vail for the weekend!
Friday was packed – back to back meetings all day, and Elizabeth was a champ about deferring to my schedule in terms of the short window when we needed to leave my house and head downtown for my final meetings of the day. Elizabeth worked for me on a project two years ago, and in December we founded a women’s network where the goal is enabling virtual connections for women who might not otherwise get to meet. Friday was our second meeting, and it was a huge success! I was really excited by the engagement, the post-session interactions I saw, and the feedback we got after.
Following the office women’s book club that I run (yup, had two women’s events back to back), Elizabeth and I hopped in the car and started heading to the mountains. I knew it wasn’t ideal that we were leaving at 5pm rather than midday, especially since there was supposed to be a huge storm, but I had my fingers crossed that it would work out…
…until we got to Empire and saw brake lights ahead. I belatedly pulled up Google Maps, and realized that traffic was awful, the worst I have ever in my life seen it. I called my friend Heather, who I knew was driving out earlier in the day, to see what it was like ahead… and she advised me to turn around ASAP. She and her husband had left at 1pm and still hadn’t even reached the tunnel (normally a one hour drive)! Unfortunately, that was easier said than done – we had just passed an exit, and now cars were literally parked, with people getting out and walking around. Google Maps told me the next exit was 3.4 miles away, but that was estimated to be a 90 minute drive. Insane!
Without other options, we stayed on the highway, inching forward every few minutes, and after about a mile (in 30 minutes), I saw an emergency pulloff in between the eastbound and westbound traffic lanes, and followed another car’s lead in taking advantage of it. I was nervous about doing so, but the risk was worth it – we were able to get back to my house by 9pm for some pasta and wine, rather than sitting in traffic for another hour to get to the exit.
The next morning, I woke up super early and was not in a great mood. I now had the whole weekend ahead of me, with my original plans foiled… what to do? I read a novel for a while till Elizabeth woke up, but the novel put me into an even worse mindset. For no reason, I felt close to tears – and it became evident that stress in various areas of my life is getting to me 🙁 I hoped I could shake this.
Elizabeth and I had made plans with my friend Heather for brunch at Snooze… my favorite! I called ahead to check on the wait, and learned that Snooze now offers an app where you can put your name on the list for a table before you got there, which was awesome. Just as I was turning off the highway exit to get there (2 minutes away), I got a notification that our table was ready. Perfect! I love when technology can make life easier 🙂
I was also really excited to introduce Heather and Elizabeth to each other, as I thought they’d have a lot in common. I was right! We had a lovely brunch – both the food and the company were perfect.
Unfortunately, while I didn’t end up in a sugar coma, I think my server was giving me caffeinated coffee instead of the decaf I requested… and I drank a lot of it. I got up from the table feeling dizzy and jittery and out-of-it, which sucked… it took me until about 6pm to start feeling normal again. No fun!
Elizabeth and I headed to Kohl’s after for me to do a quick Amazon dropoff (love that they offer this now!), and we ended up having fun browsing the store a little bit and talking about various retail trends. Elizabeth came to PwC after spending her entire career until now at a major home furnishings company, and she’s just as passionate about the retail & consumer sector as I am.
One thing I learned at Kohl’s, though, was that she hadn’t yet subscribed to Retail Brew, the twice-weekly roundup of retail news that I love, so I shared my link with her – and now I will also share it with all of you. Yes, it’s a referral link, but I seriously love this newsletter!
We headed back to my place after that, and since I was still feeling super out of it from the coffee, headed down to lounge around on the couches in the basement and just chit chat. We caught up on work, dating, and everything in between – and as I had kind of expected from the morning, I ended up in tears at several points, with a few situations I’m finding really frustrating 🙁
Finally, we dragged ourselves off the couches and headed up to Boulder to do the Celestial Seasonings tour. I love this tour, and as with Kohl’s, it was a lot of fun to chat about the manufacturing / sales logistics while we were there! It’s nice to have someone to talk about that stuff with rather than just keeping the work / consulting thoughts in my head 🙂
The only downside of the tour… learning that Celestial Seasonings just discontinued their Almond Sunset flavor! My absolute favorite blend is Emperor’s Choice, which was discontinued two years ago, and my backup has now been Almond Sunset… which is apparently gone too. I sweet talked a manager at the shop and she was able to find two more boxes of Almond Sunset in the back for me (likely the last two that will ever be sold), so now I will be hoarding it like crazy.
Before I showered and got ready for dinner, I went for a quick Peloton “fun run” on the treadmill, choosing Matty’s Lady Gaga run. It was a solid mix of her music, and Matty shared a lot of trivia about Lady Gaga that I didn’t know, which made the time fly by. The 30 minute runs are definitely becoming easy / normal for me – probably time for me to start stepping it up to 45 minutes as my default! But on a day like this, where I was tired and stressed out, 30 minutes was perfect to give me a pick-me-up without overwhelming me.
Finally, Elizabeth and I ended the night with comfort food and brews at The Post in Lafayette. I hadn’t been to the Post in a while, but their fried chicken was just as good as I remembered it! Combined with fried brussel sprouts, buttermilk biscuits, and mac and cheese, that was just the indulgence I needed to try to turn my mood around.
We got home around 9:30pm, and I was happy to have an early bedtime – I think a lack of sleep is also part of what’s been shaking my mood. However, when I turned the light out, I tossed and turned, stressing about any number of things. Usually when that happens, I can pop a melatonin gummy and/or read a book to take my mind off things until my eyes start drooping. But Saturday night, I kept reading until my eyes would glaze, then put the book down and try to sleep… and instantly I’d start stressing again. I ended up staying up all night (literally did not get a minute of sleep) and reading three books cover to cover by morning! Good for my Goodreads list, terrible for my health / mental well-being 🙁
I was so grumpy in the morning… but the day ended up actually going reasonably well. Elizabeth and I went to brunch downtown at Linger, along with her cousin Stephanie and Stephanie’s boyfriend. As it turns out, all four of us were consultants, so we had a lot in common as far as work, but it was also neat to hear about how different things were at a boutique firm. It was a really fun brunch, and I was excited to meet this group!
I said goodbye to Elizabeth after brunch, and jetted back up to Superior in order to attend a public engagement session we were hosting. Last year, we purchased a $4 million car dealership in the middle of our population center, and now we are contracting with architecture / design firms to turn it into a community center. I am really excited about the possibilities for this building, and I was really happy with the excellent job our town staff did putting together an interactive session to generate ideas and understand preferences!
Following the engagement session, I met up with my friend Chris for a long walk and talk around the neighborhood. In the last year, we’ve started meeting up for these walks as a healthier way to catch up than just sitting down for drinks, and I love it! This was exactly the kind of exercise-that’s-not-a-workout I needed after a sleepless night, and it was a beautiful sunny day. Plus, Chris is one of my closest friends and yet due to the holidays / some opposite travel schedules, I hadn’t seen her in several weeks! This catch up was sorely needed, and I left it in a really good mood.
I closed out my weekend heading down to Postino’s in Denver for a glass of wine and some bruschetta. Honestly, I was pretty tired and kind of just wanted to get to bed, but it was nice to close the weekend out with an activity. I’ve been listening to NPR’s Life Kit podcast lately, and while some of the episodes make me roll my eyes (seriously, millennials? You need a podcast to teach you these basic things?), I really liked their episode on how to have a good weekend. One of the tips was to schedule an activity with friends on a Sunday late afternoon / evening, so you have something to look forward to all weekend rather than succumbing to the “Sunday scaries”, and it’s something I’ve done for years – going back to when I lived in New York and my best friend Mat and I would do Indian food takeout and watch TV every Sunday night. Even something low-key like that took the edge off!
While I’m talking about this episode of Life Kit, I also really liked the advice to try to make every weekend feel like a mini-vacation. Of course you’ll have chores you need to do, but there’s no reason to save the things you love for vacations only a few times a year. I think a big part of why I’ve been so happy living in Colorado has been that every weekend feels like a vacation (especially since I was fortunate enough to buy my mountain house last year). I love living in a place where I can go hiking or running before work, on trails that many people travel thousands of miles to visit on vacation.
While this weekend was a rather crappy one from an emotional perspective, I also found it eye opening that when I logged it in my Daylio, it was one of the only bad days I’ve had in three months. Life will always have its ups and downs (and when there are a lot of downs in a row, it’s a big sign that something needs to change), but I need to keep it in perspective that overall, my life is pretty good and those downs are few and far between.