What I learned from a headache

by Joanna on February 26, 2015

A couple weeks ago, I was in a funk. For three days, I woke up tired and throughout the day had no motivation. “I don’t feel like doing anything” kept running through my head. And each afternoon, I got a headache. On my way to CVS to get some Advil, I thought “I just want to take a nap right now. I want to go home and go to bed.” And then I thought “I’m just going to empower myself to do that. I’m going to use some sick time and go home and rest. My body obviously needs that.”

I got home and climbed into bed for a nap. I thought about turning on the TV while I fell asleep but something told me not to. That I didn’t need the mental clutter and noise. That I just needed to be.

Within two minutes of my head hitting the pillow, I had a realization. There was something at work that was really frustrating me. It had been bothering me since earlier in the week but I didn’t know that consciously. It wasn’t until I started telling Mike about it that I realized how much this was affecting me — and my performance. The next day, I woke up like my usual self, energetic and ready to take on the day. And I had a conversation with my boss about what was bothering me and I felt so much better.

I share this story for two reasons:

1. You’ve got to listen to your body. You are the only one that can feel your body and hear your intuition. It’s up to you act on those messages. You can discern when it’s a “take-some-Advil-and-go-through-your day” kind of thing or  it’s a “stop, listen, or this will just continue” kind of thing. But only you can discern that. So you’ve got to listen and you’ve got to act. Which brings me to my next point…

2. Sometimes you’ve got to empower yourself and give yourself what you need.  Your boss isn’t going to say “I can tell your head hurts and that you’re in a funk” go home and take a nap. No. You need to decide that for yourself and give yourself permission to do what you need to do.

If I wouldn’t have taken that three hours off, I could’ve been stuck in that negative energy (and the corresponding physical symptoms) for a while — impacting both myself, my team, and my work.


Something I love to do

by Joanna on February 24, 2015

I love taking myself on lunch dates. Especially during the work day. Sit down. Relax. Read a book or blogs on my phone. Look around. Write. Think. Just be. Peaceful. Away from the computer.

Lunch date

A couple months ago when I first started my new job*, I went to a small Italian pizza place down the street from my office. I could’ve gotten it to go but decided to sit for a while and enjoy the time out of the office. I ordered an eggplant parm panini and while I waited for it to arrive I jotted down some ideas in a notebook, read blogs on my phone, and just looked around. It was so relaxing. I’ve been thinking about that sandwich ever since. It probably wasn’t anything to write home about but the experience of just taking a nice break to decompress and regroup made it feel so luxurious and special.

I’m not one that has super strong beliefs or opinions on things but if there’s one thing I really believe in, it’s lunch. And taking a real legitimate break to enjoy it.



*I started a new job in November. Still in university fundraising in DC but managing a small team. It’s going really really well!
**Pictured above: lunch from my most recent date with myself at a bakery near my office. A few “salads” and a butternut squash soup.


link love

by Joanna on February 20, 2015

I found the perfect time to go to the grocery store: Thursday night at 8:45. Just got back from a super quick trip to pick up a few things for breakfast on Saturday morning and it was a dream! There was no one in the store so I was able to zip around, getting the few things I needed — and a few extras that caught my eye. My good mood probably helped with the zipping!

Happy weekend! Some links for you:

A super indulgent smoothie I drank four times this week

I love taking myself on dates so I loved this post about a girl who dated herself as a rebound (Good share, Colleen!)

I always say “sometimes saying no to others means saying yes to yourself” so I love my friend Jess’ idea to capture your no’s. And check out her email course, 30 Days of Gutsy, too!

Love this idea for connecting with friends!

I’ve been thinking about making these pancakes again for a couple weeks now…maybe this weekend?

And a quote from a book I’m reading:

Loneliness is an invitation to recognize that our hearts have more capacity to love. The same way hunger pangs tell us when we need nourishment and energy, loneliness is our heart’s way of encouraging us to engage.” ~Shasta Nelson, Friendships Don’t Just Happen



My takeaways from a Super Soul Sunday on marriage

by Joanna on February 19, 2015

This week’s episode of Super Soul Sunday was an interview with Rob and Kristen Bell, husband and wife authors of The Zimzum of Love: A New Way of Understanding Marriage.

Here are some of my takeaways:

Your marriage is only as healthy as the least healthy one of you.

Marriage is a creative act. I never thought of it this way before but I just love that. It gives marriage energy, makes it seem like an opportunity, something that is anything but stagnant. 

If it’s working right, marriage is a little space of unity and light. It’s inspiring. And that’s good for the world.

The power of sexuality is less as a search for something and more an expression of something you’ve found.

When you get married you get a second set of eyes. So during an argument ask: “What am I not seeing?” and “Tell me why you see it that way.” (The clip about how to fight well.)

There were so many nuggets of wisdom in this episode (and I’ve saved it on my DVR) but these are the ones that stuck out to me the first time I watched.


Look me in the eye

by Joanna on January 27, 2015

I’ve started to get gray hair.

Probably a year, year and a half ago at least, they started to grow in on the right side of my head in one clump. There were a bunch but they weren’t really visible because of the way I part my hair.

But in the last two months a couple have started to grow in the top layer. On little scraggly one right in the front of my hair that you just can’t miss if I have my hair up – which when I’m home is like 100% of the time.

I’ve noticed that every time I look in the mirror I look at the grays. Are they getting longer? Are there more??

But I’ve decided I’m not going to do that anymore.

What kind of message do you send to yourself if you focus immediately and intently on your gray hairs or any other part of your body that you find questionable?

Instead, I’m going to look myself in the eye.

When I look myself in the eye, I see my beauty. When I look myself in the eye, I see my heart. And all of the love that resides there shines out. 

And that’s what I want to see when I look in the mirror. I want to see me. And so the eyes are the place to look.

And, just like when I look at someone else in the eye, when I look myself in the eye, I can’t help but smile.


The next time you look in the mirror, notice where your eyes go. Then, look yourself in the eye.

It will probably feel a little awkward at first. Because it’s like looking at someone who really, truly loves you. It can be super vulnerable. So it’s ok if it’s only for a fleeting moment at first. Look anyway. And then, next time, look a little longer. And then, a little longer still. Share a moment with your love-ly self.


Love always,