Anyone else love a good Spotify Wrapped? 🙋🏻♀️
It may be the nostalgia I love, but it's one of those little things that I look forward to every year because it allows me to go back and reflect on what I've listen to throughout that year, which brings back the memories those songs carry.
With this energy in mind, I decided that, in honor of 2022 coming to a close, it's time to wrap up this year in laughter, love, and lessons just like Spotify so cleverly does for all its listeners. Knowing this reflection was coming, I of course had to take you along for the ride! So sit back, relax, and enjoy the crazy rollercoaster ride 2022 has been for me.
Wellness Awakening: January-May
Right at the start of 2022, I deepened my relationship with wellness by starting Wellness Weekly- a TikTok series known for being short, sweet, and sure to help you live a more-well life. This series was born out of my growing passion to learn how to live a more-well life myself as I felt like I was always putting my wellness on the back burner. I felt like if I held myself accountable for posting about wellness every week, I would heed these reminders myself while being able to help others find their best life. It was a win-win situation!
That become more evident as I stayed on my wellness longer than ever before into the new year and support from my friends and family trickled in. I was adopting long-term habits (some that I've stayed consistent with throughout the entire year) and was making an impact in other's lives!
Unfortunately, what comes up usually comes down. After a few months and a lot of stress, I noticed myself fall off the wellness wagon. I was keeping up with a few of my wellness activities, but I allowed them to become more of a chore rather than something I consciously did for myself. With the craziness of end of the year testing for my students, wrapping up the school year, and throwing a show into the mix, it often felt like all I could do was just go on autopilot and plug away at the things that needed to get done.
This all came to a head during the last week of May, which was also the last week of school for the kiddos. I was feeling incredibly overwhelmed and sad, which is why when I started feeling yucky on Monday I thought I was getting my typical stress sickness. Turns out it was COVID-19. Therefore, I missed the last week of school with my kiddos and struggled to get what I could done to wrap up the school year all while battling the worst sickness I could remember ever having.
Having COVID-19 and being forced to put on the breaks was extremely tough, but it led to an incredible breakthrough...
Summertime Rebirth: June-July
With my COVID-19 gone and summer officially starting, I was able to reclaim some of my energy and find a new normal for the next few months. I started the summer out with a beautiful cruise with some of my favorite people, which allowed me some of the active relaxation (AKA- not just sitting in bed like I pretty much did the whole time I had COVID) I so desperately needed after a draining few weeks.
When I returned home, it was time to get to work! I had goals for my wellness- both personally and professionally- and I worked to find a rhythm that worked for me. I'll be honest- finding this rhythm and staying consistent was extremely tough. I'm someone that thrives on having a specific schedule that I have to adhere to, so without having that, I definitely wasn't as productive as I could've been. However, I did get a lot of rest while accomplishing the goals I set for myself.
Some of my favorite wellness activities I made time for over the summer include...
Lots of time soaking up the sun (one of my favorite activities) ☀️
Getting outside for a walk + podcast 🎧
Starting this blog 💻
Developing my content writing biz further 📔
Cooking more for myself 🍱
Deep cleaning around the house 🌿
I absolutely loved the freedom these days brought as I allowed myself to just chill for longer stretches of time than I possibly could during the school year. However, before I knew it, the summer days were wasted away and it was time to go back to school...
School's in Session: August-September
I'll be honest- I forgot how tough back to school was. Once I was in it though, it all came back to me. We spent countless hours setting up my classroom and in pre-school week trainings until it was time to meet the kiddos. I remember being so incredibly excited to meet my kiddos and seeing their sweet faces as they took in our beautiful classroom for the first time made that insane week completely worth it.
Then came the actual teaching part. This school year, I decided to teach Math & Science instead of Language Arts & Social Studies like I did the year prior, so I was in the midst of learning two new curriculums again. Thankfully, my mind is geared more towards Math & Science, which showed both in my teaching and my enthusiasm for designing lessons. However, there was another big difference I had to reconcile with- my kiddos. This year, I was placed in an inclusion classroom, which means I have students with documented needs and general education students. This style of classroom plus the subject change made my first couple of weeks a flurry of figuring out how to best serve my students as we learned what one another needed- both in our subjects and as a classroom as a whole.
However, as the days turned into weeks, my students and I grew closer bonds and were able to find our way together. We definitely still had some bumps in the road, but we were working towards a fully-functioning classroom in which everyone does their share and is getting their needs met by their teacher.
During this time, I was also part of another show! I absolutely loved being part of this beautiful cast, but was terrified as it was my first straight play (which means no flashy musical numbers, which is where I usually shine). Fortunately, I stuck with it even though my mind was telling me I was doing a terrible job and learned so much about myself as an actress. Though it was extremely tough to juggle the show, school, and the self-care routine I was trying to incorporate into my daily life, I would not trade this time for anything.
Quarter-Life Crisis: October-December
Once the show wrapped and October blew in, I was able to slow down a bit and try to begin recharging from an incredibly hectic couple of months. With this time came a growing realization...
I was not happy in the life I was living. I allowed myself to go back on autopilot to get through my busy season and in doing so neglected myself in almost every category of my life. Sure, I still journaled and worked out and treated myself occasionally, but I also worked myself to the point of near burnout and didn't take any time to connect with myself and what I needed.
Around this time, I started to get into the song "Quarter Life Crisis" by Taylor Bickett. Guys- I can't even describe the gut punch this song gave me. I related to almost every lyric of this song and while I was glad to have something to relate to, I realized I didn't want to feel this way. I wanted to feel joy in the life that I was living- not like everything was a chore. I had lost sight of the long-term goals I had been working towards this summer in the wake of everything going on and felt like I was just trying to survive my day to day.
So, for what truly feels like the first time in my life, I made some big changes. I started prioritizing myself over everything else. I made sure self-care was worked into my schedule in the ways I needed it to be instead of simply remaining consistent with a couple of things in the name of self-care. I got a therapist and started working on my mindset. I worked tirelessly to stop trying to make everyone around me happy with the decisions that greatly impacted my life and learned to start listening to myself.
I won't lie- no part of this was easy. I was wracked with stress and guilt and indecisiveness and confusion and did I mention stress? Within two months I was sick twice with both illnesses lasting over a week. I felt more negativity come up during this time than I had in a looooong time.
However, it felt like a lot of this negativity was working its way out of my system and, in time, I started to feel something I had been missing for my entire adult life- peace. I had always been so worried about what was next and how to succeed in everything I set out to do that I allowed my peace to slip away from me. As I worked to let go of my need to succeed and constantly be busy to achieve that success and welcomed in more joy and self-care, I noticed a huge shift in how I felt.
Sure, I wasn't doing everything I wanted to be doing all the time and my life is still, to this day, a big confusing mess, but I've learned the power of ease and going inward. These two concepts have been revolutionary as I work to infuse my life with more joy and abundance and I urge you to take your moments of ease and introspection whenever possible. Trust me, I know it's not easy to find the time, but as someone who neglected it for so long then reintroduced it into her life, I'm telling you it's vital for your happiness.
Going into 2023, I'm incredibly excited and- I'll admit it- scared to see where this year takes me. I feel like I'm at the precipice of something great if only I don't let my self-doubt and imposter syndrome get in the way.
Thank you so so much for your support of Kimberly Brooke Wellness this year! Whether you've been watching my TikToks since the beginning or this is your first blog read, I appreciate you being here more than you know. Throughout this year, one of the things that has brought me back to myself has been sharing wellness content in hopes of inspiring you to live a more-well life 🌿
I hope you have a fantastic New Year and look forward to continuing to share all the wellness goodness I possibly can with you in the new year 🎉