autumn has arrived. (and so has my anxiety).

Good morning, friends. 👋 Happy Indigenous People’s day to you. I’ve missed you all.


I wanted to start by acknowledging that what is happening in Israel and Palestine right now is absolutely horrific and unimaginable and it feels unfair and wrong on some level to be able to sit here, writing to you from my apartment, when so many people are in danger, under attack and dying. If you’re like me and are still trying to understand more about what’s happening and the context behind it, Sharon McMahon has an Israel/Hamas highlight on her Instagram that I’m finding helpful. To my Jewish and Palestinian friends, I’m sending you all my love.

Apple Picking

I took the last few months off from posting and boy am I happy to be back. I love connecting with you all in this way.

How was your summer? How has the start of fall been for you?

For me, last weekend I got to go apple picking with Dan, which was just the most fun. We got up hella early (to beat the crowds), rented a car through Turo, drove our way into Indiana, and promptly proceeded to pick 18 pounds of fresh apples. We finished our visit off with an early (10:30am) lunch at the food trucks at the orchard (veggie burrito for Dan, pulled pork and potato salad for me). My plan is to make 2 apple pies a week for the next month to make our way through the inordinate amount of apples that are now sitting in our fridge.


Sunday, I was lucky enough to participate in the Chicago marathon. As a spectator, to be clear. Tell me why watching a marathon makes me want to weep.

There are thousands of people, of all backgrounds and sizes, running and working together. From where we were watching, it looked like a gigantic, friendly stampede was coming over the hill in front of us. Some avid runners, some newer; there are people in wheelchairs being pushed by their loved ones; there are people running on prosthetic legs. There are hundreds of people cheering from the sidelines (one man next to us kept cheering for his wife, ‘FAVI FAVI FAVI!’). People are holding up their handwritten, sweet af signs. Everybody is rooting for everybody. It’s as if the runners are running on behalf of Team Human and we’re all just rooting for each other… for community, for strength, for courage. For love, in this often hard-to-exist-in world.

Brb, tearing up just thinking about it. God bless all those runners. You inspire me!


Anywho, what I really wanted to share with you today was related to autumn. Is it just me, or does the fall sort of rattle you a little? Not majorly (not as much as winter*), but for me, I notice that as the leaves begin to change and the air begins to crispen (that’s definitely not a word), certain things just get a liiiiittle thrown off.

What’s funny though is every year, without fail, these predictable, seasonal changes take me by surprise. I suppose I have a case of seasonal amnesia, because as my body begins to break down, I begin every fall by thinking, ‘What the hell is going on with me?’ and then a few weeks into the season I finally recall, ‘Oh yeah… I think this happened last year, too…’

I think I’d enjoy fall (and winter) a whole lot more if I just did a little more to remember and prepare for the season as it’s starting.

So, I’m writing myself a little love-note to self, to read at the start of every fall, so that I can properly prepare for the season ahead.

Whether you struggle with the shift in seasons or not, I hope reading this letter inspires you in some way. It’s more or less a reminder of good, basic self care practices, so I’m hopeful it’ll still be relevant.

And if you have your own struggles that come with the start of the cold weather… I highly recommend writing yourself a letter, too. It’s nice to be reassured by someone you know (you) that there’s actually nothing wrong with you and that everything’s going to be okay.

Dear Autumn-Bibs,

The leaves are changing, the temps are dropping, and I’m here to remind you… your body is going to feel the effects of it. ✌️ I’m also here to say, it’s okay, there’s no need to panic, and this will pass.

Let’s not beat around the bush. Here’s what you can expect the fall to give you:

  1. Insomnia.
  2. Increased anxiety.
  3. Frequently feeling chilled-to-the-bone cold.
  4. Increased melancholy & nostalgia. (And as winter gets closer: a sense of looming depression. i.e. SAD).

I know… sounds kind of awful. But I want to remind you that all of this stuff is (for you and your body) very normal for this time of year. Not to mention very treat-able. You will (and are) getting through this.

Here are some things that I’d like you to integrate into your routine for the next few months — each one, in different ways, addressing the 4 challenges above.

1. Yes to sleep suppies, no to blue light. 🙅🏻‍♀️

For whatever reason, fall fucks with your circadian rhythm. So do what you can to mitigate that.

When the sun goes down, wear your blue light blocking glasses. Trade Netflix before bed for reading one of those (dozens of) books you’ve ordered instead. Wear your manta sleep mask.

And take your sleep supplements (as needed). Note to the reader: consult your healthcare provider for medications and supplements that are right for you. For me, I like magnesium (nightly), and kava, l-trytophan, and pure honokiol — all about an hour before bed, every 2-3 nights (every night leaves me feeling a little too groggy in the mornings*).

2. Cold showers & movement are your friends. 🚿

Sometimes anxiety is obviously linked to circumstances. And sometimes? Your body just FEELS anxious. For no apparent reason.

Regardless, remember the tools that help you physically move through those feelings of anxiety fastest: end your showers with a minute or two of cold water exposure, to dissipate that tightness in your chest. Go for a run. Do some jumping jacks. Yell. Breathe. Take a yoga class, a boxing class, or The Class.

3. Layer up, buttercup. 🧥

We know it’s going to be bitter cold now (on and off) and come winter (consistently) so let us prepare.

First of all, you’ve been complaining for two years that your winter jacket isn’t warm enough, so invest in a new one. Charge up your hand warmers, and break out the slippers and wool socks.

And remember your favorite combo of attire to maximize warmth when cold indoors: a base layer (top & bottom), followed by a cashmere layer (often thrifted!), followed by a heating pad or two (one for the shoulders, one for the legs). When heating pads aren’t available, the Comfy always comes in clutch.

(I’m chuckling reading this back ^ — we take layering very seriously).

4. Get reacquainted with your journal. And don’t stop going to therapy.

Whenever you’re feeling a little blue or nostalgic during the fall months, Dan always reminds you that fall is the most contemplative season. And it truly is!

When this contemplation inevitably brings up some feelings for you (melancholy, sadness, confusion, what have you), remember that your journal is still available to you. If you recall, you used to journal every day, religiously. While you don’t have to go back to that level of consistency, aim for a morning or two a week, where you jot down just a few sentences about how you feel. I promise it’ll help. It always does.

And keep your regular therapy appointments on the calendar… having a space to express whatever feelings or flashbacks are coming up for you is so important.

5. Put time on the calendar for friends & nature.

Last but not least, don’t forget about all the fun things you love about fall (and winter). Make it a point to do those things, and schedule time in to be outside and with friends. Before you know it, spring will be here, and you’ll forget all about your layer-laden fall and winter (until you read this letter again, come September 2024).

Until then, be well & stay warm.

With love,

~Summer Bibs~

P.S. Oh yeah one more thing! Food. Whenever it starts to get cold, you can expect to see a significant uptick in your cravings for sugar, carbs, and fat (usually at the same time). No need to overthink… Enjoy your 20 dozen pies, and trust that your body will recalibrate soon enough.

The latest podcast episode:

who are you & what are you doing here, with guest alex blue:

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a quick may check-in

Hi friends,

Happy May to you. 💛 I just wanted to pop in and say hi and see how you’re doing.

I typically plan these little newsletters further in advance. But today, I’m writing to you in real-time. Sitting in a window-filled café, sipping a chai tea latte, feeling the sun on my skin… and wondering why I don’t take myself to cafés to write like this in the mornings more often.

And I’m now quickly realizing it’s because, one, I normally have to work in the mornings (I happen to have today off).

And two, (there’s just no way to say this nicely) caffeine makes me need to go #2.

So, like, clockwork, I inevitably need to use the bathroom about 5 minutes after I start drinking my cute little chai.

Which means I then need to lug my laptop and phone with me to the bathroom (because I’m scared they’ll be stolen if left unattended), and I also find myself nervously hoping that no one drugs the drink that I’ve left sitting on the table to save my spot while I’m doing my business (because that’s a thing that could happen, right?).

Anyway, today’s newsletter will be shorter. All I really want to say is, hi, 👋 how are you? I’m tired. Are you tired?

It’s not bad-tired. But the busy-ness of spring and soon-t0-be-summer, especially contrasted with the hibernation-esque winter I’m coming out of, has done a number on me. 😅

What about you? How was your April? What was your fav part?

I’d love to hear from you (truly). And regardless, I hope you find ample pockets of rest for yourself this month of May.

If you’d like to connect more this month and/or support my work, here are a few ways you can do that…


I’ve been posting more on LinkedIn these days. Trying to write things that feel honest and true to me, and perhaps don’t fit in with the usual, ‘Rah rah, I love my career’ posts that seem to fill my LinkedIn feed these days. (No hate to those posts, btw).

I recently wrote on LI about:

  1. Why companies should stop referring to their employees as ‘family.’ Read it here.
  2. And 5 things to do if you work remotely and feel like you’re losing your mind (🙃). Read that one here.

Connect with me on LinkedIn if you haven’t already! I’d love to hang out.


We’ve come a long way since I posted my first vlog back in 2018. (Don’t even try to find it; I’ve since hidden it from the general public 😛).

But the video interviews for my podcast – who are you, and what are you doing here – are up on Youtube now. My hope is that when you watch them, you feel like you’re sitting in a living room with us, just exploring the answers to these two questions for yourself, as you learn how our guest answers them. (Find links to the pod on all streaming platforms here).

Our most recent episode is with my dear friend Emily Wilson. We share about our experiences growing up in religious institutions, and what it’s looked like to find our way out and outside of those institutions in adulthood.

It’s a vulnerable conversation, and I think it’s nuanced in a way that these conversations often aren’t (CW: religious trauma). Watch it here (or below).

And check out Emily’s art and Etsy shop here!


If you’d like to support this work on Patreon, I’d be so grateful! You can donate as little as $3 a month, and all of the money goes towards keeping the pod, this newsletter, and all other content alive. 🙂

Thank you all for being here. I appreciate those of you who read my musings here more than you know. Sending love to each of you. 🌱


making things when you’re burnt out // creativity & privilege.

Creativity as a privilege.

I quit my job back in May.

Which, speaking of privilege, was a huge one.

I had some money saved up, and was hopeful I’d be able to take a few months off before finding another job. So after weeks and weeks of contemplating it, I finally gave my notice, and left.

My main goal with quitting was to recover. I was burnt out, felt like I was constantly in survival mode, and most days, I barely recognized myself.

My second goal was to hopefully get back in touch with my creativity, which I hadn’t given much of any attention to for the greater part of 3 years.

I’m not sure how common a goal it is to ‘get in touch with your creativity.’ My guess is many people naturally integrate creativity into their lives, so don’t need to make it a goal.

Others, I imagine, are like me before I quit: running so fast in their pursuit of survival (and perhaps success) that a seemingly frivolous goal like ‘getting creative’ does not, or literally CANnot cross their mind.

Capitalism & privilege.

And this is what I can’t get out of my head. How capitalism has turned creativity — what should be a birthright — into a privilege.

When we’re young, and if we’re lucky, our needs are largely met for us, by parents and caretakers. Our creativity is more easily accessible, because we have the space for it to exist.

We play, we make bad art, we use our imagination.

Then we get older, the responsibility to care for ourselves becomes ours, and oftentimes, we become stressed at best, or in my case, entirely burnt out. We swap the natural desire and space to express our creativity with the desire and need for survival.

This especially goes for those that are marginalized: POC, minorities, the LGBTQ+ community, the disabled, women…

Many of us can’t possibly integrate creativity into our lives, because we’re too busy running for our lives. Trying to keep or find a job, make money to pay for a roof over our heads / for food / for survival.

Never mind if you’re dealing with any kind of crisis or other significant challenge on top of the challenge of surviving. A breakup, a layoff, a health scare…

Reaching rock bottom at the worst of my burnout got me thinking about my life before capitalism ruled it. And how I used to make stuff… because I wanted to. And how good and glorious that felt. 😏

Creativity as a birthright.

This is what I want for all of us.

The space (and consequent desire) to make stuff, and the joy and fulfillment that comes with that.

I’ve heard it said that at our core, we’re all just mammals who like to make beautiful things and look at said things. (And when we’re not doing that, we like to cuddle and groom the other mammals that we love). And I tend to agree.

So I think we should all have the right to do these things.

It’s only fair, given that none of us even asked to be here (not literally, at least).

And yet, what I have a hard time reconciling, is the fact that we’re all born into these systems, often rigged against us, causing access to these things to be reserved for only those that have significant amounts of privilege (read: money).

And for the rest of us… well, we’re hustling to survive. Thus causing the notion of making shit for fun to sound almost silly.

Like I’m sorry, but I’m worried about paying rent next month, and buying groceries to feed myself. And at the end of each day, I’m so wiped, I’m lucky if I can make a meal and zone out in front of the tv before doing it all again the next day. So no, I do not have time to draw or color or do whatever else it is you mean by ‘create.’ 🙃

^ me, if you asked me if I create, in the thick of my burnout/job searching. And this is and was me coming from an already incredibly privileged place myself, relatively speaking. I can only imagine how much harder it is for people for whom the system is so much more aggressively rigged against.

Reclaim it with me.

Still, I believe, creativity IS our birthright. Or else, it should be. It’s only become a privilege since survival itself has become a privilege. And I want to change that.

So. What do you say? How do we do it? Should we overthrow the government? All live on a commune and care for each other like family? 👀


For me, and for now, it starts with the little things.

In the middle of a busy day at work, or looking for jobs, it’s cutting up a snack for myself, and laying it on a plate, just so.


It’s journaling about nothing for 3 minutes in the morning, in handwriting so messy that I know I’ll never be able to read back what I wrote. (I’m always amazed at how time slows down, even in those 3 minutes).


It’s saying no to shit I don’t need to say yes to, towards the end of a long work day, so that I can log off to make a nice meal for myself and my partner instead. (Art).

It’s folding the clothes beautifully, after a big load of laundry… that’s right. Chores are art, damn it.


The question for me (and for you if you’d like) is: how can we invite art and freshness into our existence as it is?

And if that doesn’t feel feasible to do on your own: how can you rely on the support of those around you, or perhaps seek out support from those you don’t yet know, to help invite it in?

It’s not fair that we have to work to create space for something that — survival mode aside — would be so inherent to our existence. I’ll say it again, creativity is our birthright, and I wish the world (or at least the US) saw it that way.

But if fighting for it is the only way, then fight for it, we must. Right?

Wait, why do I sound like I’m about to start a revolution rn?

The cool thing about taking this approach, is creativity begets creativity. Life creates life. So doing these tiny things, I notice, naturally feels so good that it encourages me to do more things like it. Capitalism may have 40+ hours of my life, but I will find ways to build creativity and thoughtful intricacies into it, no matter what. That’s how I feel right now at least, caffeinated and heading into a weekend. (Ask me again on Monday and perhaps I’ll have a little less pizzazz and fight in me, for this so-called revolution).

Anyway… that’s what I have to say this week. Stepping off my 🧼📦 now. What do you think about this stuff? How do you create space for creativity or whatever it is that brings you joy in your own life?

Btw when I say creativity, I really just mean anything that brings new energy and life into your own life. Playfulness, joy, laughter, writing, drawing, coloring, knitting, photography, posting on social media, having a conversation, sex, dancing, resting, reading, (as I said) laundry, making snacks or food for yourself, journaling… the list goes on. All of these things involve creation of some sort. Making something exist that wasn’t previously there. And they’re all equally beautiful and valid. 🎨

Okay, I’m signing off now. Would love to hear from you, as always!


🎙️ Did you know I have a podcast? 🎙️

Listen on SpotifyApple Podcasts, or Youtube.

Pro-tip 💡: On Youtube & Spotify you get video, too!

💫 This post is brought to you by… me! 💫

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Before I was afraid // creativity & ignorance.

Some reflections on writing and making stuff.

I just went back and re-read some of my old blog posts on here.

I remember how happy I was to be creating back then.

Just writing for writing’s sake.

Because I wanted to, needed to, and knew I was meant to.

So I did. Simple as that.

I remember a time when writing came so naturally to me (and I thought so little about why I would or wouldn’t write), that when I came across a motivational message online, encouraging people who were feeling stuck in their creativity to ‘overcome their fears’ and ‘do the thing anyway,’ I was fully confused… wondering why people wouldn’t just make the thing that’s on their heart, if it’s clearly asking to be made.

Then & Now.

My creative process used to be so simple:

  1. Get an idea.
  2. Write about the idea.
  3. Share the idea.
  4. Feel good afterwards. (Because being creative and letting that creativity be seen generally feels really good).

Now, my creative process looks something like this:

  1. Get an idea.
  2. Get distracted, usually by some form of fear or anxiety, oftentimes rooted in something entirely unrelated to said idea.
  3. Forget the idea.
  4. Remember the idea again a few days later.
  5. On the rare occasion I have the time/energy for it: write about the idea.
  6. Think about sharing it.
  7. Think about all the reasons I shouldn’t share it: I’m probably saying it wrong, it’s already been said before, nobody cares, what if I get canceled, I shouldn’t write until I’ve figured out a way to monetize it, if I’m gonna write then I should start by responding to the texts and emails that have been sitting in my inbox… the reasons are endless.
  8. More often than not: I don’t share the idea.

Ignorance really is bliss.

My creative mind used to be so untainted by the world, and by the other, darker parts of my own mind, that it was as if I had never encountered creative procrastination or fear at all.

Or… maybe I had, now that I think of it. But it wasn’t a lot. And when I did feel some hesitation, I recall now that I’d rely on my religion to remind me that I was allowed to – even urged to (by god*) – to share whatever it was on my mind, in order to help the world see the way (…the truth, and the life).

Oh my, there’s a lot we could unpack here.^ But for now I’ll just say: for the first 20-something years of my life, I was a pretty devout and unquestioning Christian. And at the time, this certainly made me more compelled to just share the thing, rather than not. More reflections on how my interpretation of faith affected my life in future posts, I’m sure… ❤️

Anyway, religious or not, the bottom line is: I was naive.

I was young.

My world was quite small.

My sense of reality was limited.

And in a lot of ways, I was ignorant.

And that, incidentally, made making stuff and sharing it really easy.

On keeping posts up that I no longer believe in…

Reading my old blog posts back, some of what I said I still agree with.

But a lot of it I don’t.

Some of it I really don’t agree with (peep some of the religious stuff).

You’d think, because of this, I’d want to hide or archive the older pieces, for fear of people finding them and misunderstanding who I am today because of what I said back then…

But you know what’s weird? I can’t bring myself to take them down. Not right now, at least.

At the risk of sounding arrogant, I feel so proud of past Bibs, for writing all that stuff.

For daring to let herself be seen, as she actively processed and tried to understand herself and the world.

And for no reason other than, she felt like it (and/or felt like she was meant to).

Creating for creating’s sake.

Especially now in the age of social media and coaching – there’s so much writing shared to try to get something.

To get clients, get followers, get you to buy a program or a product…

And there’s nothing inherently wrong with that. I’d be lying if I said I didn’t dream of my own writing funding my life someday.

But there’s something so precious about the fact that I wrote back then primarily for the love of writing.

So for now, the old stuff stays. If for no reason other than to inspire me to try to do the same from time to time.

My oldest stuff on this blog I wrote back in 2015, 8 years ago. I can appreciate that 8 years from now, I’ll likely (and hopefully) have evolved to a point of disagreeing with some of whatever I might post between now and then. That’s part of any growth-oriented life.

But it’s no reason to keep quiet, right? Life is so much richer when you let people in on the journey.

For anyone reading: thanks for being here. Some of you have been here since 2015. And others for even longer. I know I had at least three other blogs before this one…

  1. Bibs in Berlin (study abroad semester in Berlin, pretty straightforward).
  2. Bibs’ Bread (I used to bake bread for food pantries, and write about it. This was before I realized I was severely intolerant to gluten. Joke’s on me 😏).
  3. And Love Your Neighbor, Love Yourself (the prequel to

Speaking of, what do you all think: if I want to share some writing like this, this year, would you prefer I do it like this (on my site), or on substack (which seems to be ‘the new blog’)?

Thoughts are welcome. Also, how are you? Have you ever experienced ignorance as a catalyst for creativity? I would love to hear from you. 🌱

P.S. In this piece, I originally planned to talk about creativity as privilege, and how, over the years, the internet has changed how and what I share with the world, but I’m realizing now that this creativity stuff is a multipart series, and I want those things to be their own post. So if you came here for that, I hope you’ll stick around in the coming months to hear it. I sincerely thank u 4 ur patience. 😌

🎙️ Did you know I have a podcast? 🎙️

Listen on SpotifyApple Podcasts, or Youtube.

Pro-tip 💡: On Youtube & Spotify you get video, too!

💫 This post is brought to you by… me! 💫

If you feel so inclined, you can support my work on Patreon,


2022 Holiday Wrap

Happy New Year, friends! How are you feeling now that the holidays are over? I said this over on Instagram, but I always feel so many mixed emotions this time of year.

Gratitude, for the joy-filled memories, the carrying on of traditions, and the time to see family and friends.

Grief, for a myriad of reasons. Holidays often come with so many hopes and expectations, and it’s nearly impossible for all of them to be met. (If you’re feeling grief particularly strongly this year, I see you ❤️).

And then, once the celebrations all come to an end, I just feel exhausted for a while.

It’s interesting because I know all my body, mind, and nervous system want to do is rest, after the month+ of festivities; but I actually find it hard to do that. It’s not until I’m well into January that I experience all parts of me feeling the permission to slow down again, and embrace the deep calm and rest that I know I need. Anybody else?

The holidays bring with it a sort of buzz, and it just takes time for me to come down from that.

Anywho, are y’all ready for the annual virtual holiday card? As always, I’ll leave a couple questions at the bottom of this, encouraging you to reflect on your year. I really hope you’ll comment/email/DM your answers to me if you feel comfy, because hearing from you about your year is always my favorite part of this. 😌


Navy Pier, Chicago, Illinois, January 2022

Starting with January. Remember this view from last year? (This is the view from my covid-priced rental looking out onto Navy Pier and Lake Michigan). My lease ended at the end of the month, so I made it a point to soak up the views and the space as much as possible. Side note: moving is such a drag. If you’re moving this year, god bless you. You can do it. And I know it sucks. Shoutout to Dolly who made it all possible, on a budget.


I <3 short hair.

For anyone wondering if the buzz cut was an impulse decision (perhaps spurred on by an existential crisis?) thankfully, it was not. I’ve been wanting to shave my head for over a year, but hesitated because I thought I ‘didn’t have the face shape for it’ and ‘only certain people can pull that look off,’ which, I have now come to realize, is simply patriarchal BS. If you’re lucky enough to have hair, and to live in a place where it’s safe for people to have a variety of hair lengths (regardless of gender), then honor what you want to do with that hair. Confidence comes from within and honestly? I have never felt better. 😏


Sunset cliffs in Ocean Beach, San Diego, CA

Mid-March, Dan and I escaped the seemingly never-ending Chicago winter and spent a week vacationing in Ocean Beach, San Deigo, CA. Aside from the steep California prices and the current and impending affects of the climate crisis on the west coast (💔), San Diego is arguably one of the best places on earth. The weather is mild, the landscape is perfect (beaches + mountains), tons of food for all dietary preferences, and OB in particular has so much character. It’s a quirky little neighborhood with big hippy energy.


Claude takes on Chicago!

My sister came to visit! It was her first visit out here, and it was so special to have her. She surprised me with the most relaxing birthday gift I’ve ever received while she was here, too, and took me to Aire Ancient Baths. My favorite part about the experience was when we sat under a waterfall meant more for viewing, and laughed hysterically as the water matted our hair; all while the couples in the pool just stared in disbelief. I also gifted her a pair of matching pants… almost as cool as a 90-minute spa experience.


We started a podcast!

Well, first I quit my job. Then I started the podcast. More on why and how in a future post, perhaps. But this was something I’d also been wanting to do for a while, and all I can say is: if you have the privilege to be able to make the time for things that you want to make (even if just for a season), simply because you want to and not because you need to – do it. Capitalism will try to convince you it’s not worth it – that your time is best spent producing in a way that will provide immediate monetary compensation. But there is nothing like making something and learning something new just because you want to. It’s liberating and empowering.

Also, is it just me or do these headphones make it look like I have cinnamon rolls on my ears?


The Narrows in Zion National Park, Utah

A college roomie trip! Two of us former roommates flew out to meet our third roommate in Salt Lake City, Utah for a week. The company was absolutely unmatched. As a YouTuber once said, ‘I love my time with my girls!’ The location was also unmatched. 🥵 Literally. The nature, of course, is unreal. Plus, I have to admit, SLC itself is hands down the strangest city I’ve ever been to, and I say that with no hate, and much respect. Have any of you been? What did you think?

Sadly, the girls trip was cut a little short due to a surprise visit from c*vid, but we all made the most of it (and are all feeling better now!).


Duxbury, MA

I spent July in MA and got to see some of the many beautiful humans I love there. Something I seriously wonder: will Claude and I ever stop taking handstand pics together? As unfortunate as it is that we’re not exactly vertical, I am impressed by our synchronicity.

This day was a really special one to me. We went to the beach with my nephew and I got to push him around on a boogie board in the water with my dad, and it was the most fun. This winter I asked him if he remembered when we played in the water, and he said ‘yes,’ and ‘maybe we can do it again sometime.’ So, yeah, I pretty much can’t wait for summer now.

(And if I’m being honest, I anticipate Claude and I will keep taking pics like this, as long as our bodies allow).


Smashed coconut in Lincoln Park, Chicago, IL

August was a relatively quiet month, which was much-needed after the active July trip to Mass. Lots of beach trips and lots of time outside, soaking up the beautiful Chicago weather.

One weekend, I went to a little meditation circle in Lincoln Park, and we did an exercise where we symbolically released some shit we didn’t need by smashing coconuts on the ground. Incidentally, I couldn’t bear to just throw away my perfectly good coconut afterward. So I contemplated eating it. But since it had been on public park grounds, I opted to carry it around with me for the rest of the day and photograph it in cute places instead. I even took it with me to the beach after, and we both went swimming. I suppose you could say this coconut became my pet for the day.


Good old Chicago.

More time outside! This view is from a park not far from our neighborhood. Dan and I love to come here and sit in ‘our spot.’ We bring a blanket to lie on, a book and some headphones, and just relax, talk, and dog-watch for a couple of hours. It’s one of my all-time favorite activities, and one of the few places by us that’s really quiet. Needless to say, I’m very excited for it to become warm enough for us to be able to start doing this again.


County Line Orchard, Hobart, Indiana

Okay, this was one of my favorite things we did all year. WE WENT APPLE PICKING. As a born and raised New England girlie, apple picking was a classic fall activity growing up. Every year we’d go, at least once. The last few years I haven’t been because I don’t have a car in the city. But recently, we’ve started using Turo (think: Airbnb for cars), and it’s been amazing.

We got up really early one morning, rented a car for a few hours, drove to Indiana, and had our picking done and apples in-hand by the time the crowds were getting big at the orchard. We ate a little lunch together afterward, complete with apple cider. And I baked, I want to say, 10+ apple pies this season, in order to use up all the apples we got. 😅 (Thank god for pre-made gluten-free Trader Joe’s pie crust).


Too Many Zooz Concert, House of Blues, Chicago, IL

Happy birthday, Dan! For Dan’s birthday this year, we went to a Too Many Zooz concert at the House of Blues. It was sublime. If you’ve never heard of Too Many Zooz, give them a listen when you’re needing a little pump up. As the kids say, the energy was LIT (… do the kids actually say this?). Truly, the energy was so good, and I left remembering the magic that comes from listening and bopping to music with hundreds of strangers. It’s something I hadn’t experienced since pre-covid and even though I’m not a huge concert person, I was surprised by how much I had missed it.


Wedding at La Brasa, Somerville, MA

My friends, Jenna and Mike, got married in December! This was a really sweet evening, getting to witness their love, along with all of their loved ones. I had never been to a restaurant wedding before – I loved the intimacy of it. Congratulations, Jenna and Mike. And shoutout to my mom for always letting me borrow her clothes so that I don’t have to buy a new outfit every time I’m invited to a special event like this (which is a LOT by the way) (jk).

Phew. Another year, come and gone. Thanks for journeying with me through mine.

I have to share my usual disclaimer: this is fully a highlight reel. (Tears, lowlights, struggles, sleepless nights, and anxiety not pictured). AND, I recognize the incredible privilege I have, to be able to have experienced all of these things, and also talk about them. I am continuously blown away by the complexity, beauty, and injustice of this world.

So, tell me.

How was your 2022? What’s one thing that happened that surprised you last year (whether in a good way or a challenging one)?

And/or, if you’re more into looking ahead: what are you looking forward to in 2023? What’s one thing you’d like to do this year, just because you want to (and not because it’ll make you money or look good on a resume)?

Email me at I mean it when I say I would love to hear from you!

Talk soon,

2021 Highlight Reel

Hello friends! It appears this blog has turned into a virtual holiday card of sorts. 👀 How have you been since I sent over my ‘2020 year in review’ post? What did you get up to in 2021? What were your highs and lows? I would love to hear from you. 🤗

Here’s a little summary of my year…

Note: it’s important to acknowledge that there were many challenging, ‘darker’ aspects of 2021. Things that happened on a personal and/or collective level that have been omitted from this reel. That’s not to discount the importance of these things, but I did intentionally keep this ‘light’ for the purposes of this post. I typically (not always*) talk about things with a bit more substance over on Instagram. Still, I hear the privilege in this statement and in this blog post and I’m committed to continuing to navigate the best way to show up in the world given the position that I’m in. I welcome thoughts or advice on this topic if you have any.

January // Baby gets her first apartment.

Started the year off with a bang. I rented my first ever apartment (solo), in Chicago, Illinois.

Covid was raging, vaccines weren’t a thing yet, and as a result, I lucked out and found a place in the heart of the city, for a price that was about one third what it normally would be.

Biggest personal takeaways from living alone during covid: solitude is glorious. Loneliness comes and goes, and living alone provides you with space to face that loneliness and honor it in a way that living with others often does not.

It’s also empowering af to prove to yourself that you can count on you to take care of you (and that includes knowing when to ask for help from others when you need it**).

February // Yoga with Bibs is born.

About a year into the pandemic, I started my own virtual yoga studio, Yoga with Bibs. Teaching these classes has quickly become the most rewarding thing I do and one of the things I’m most proud of.

This was taken back in India in 2019, when I did my YTT, but the spirit of YWB is there!

Takeaways: I love creating spaces for people to be, to breathe, and to honor their bodies together.

Starting something is HARD and imposter syndrome is real. I remember crying in the shower the morning before teaching my first class thinking, what the FUCK am I doing. I’m grateful I did it anyway. And I’m deeply grateful that people continue to trust me to co-create this space with them.

Quick plug: If you are reading this, I would love to invite you to try out a class. Email me or fill out this quick form and I can let you know when we have upcoming classes. ☺️

March // I turned 28. And it went really well!

It actually really DID go well. 😂 I know these photos may concern some, but as you can see by the words on my tear-stained shirt, I am indeed a sensitive creature, and crying is as natural (and beneficial!) to me as breathing.

The backstory is I got up early on my birthday to journal, started reflecting on the beauty and brutality of life, and not long after, my partner walked into the living room to find me staring out the window, like so. Honestly, I couldn’t think of a more on-brand way to start my birthday and while I can’t recall what I was processing, I’m glad I processed it. 🤷🏻

EDIT: pretty sure I was writing this at the time of the tears.

April // Vaxxed and visited.

In April, I got the vaccine and had my first visitor in my new, big kid apartment! Seeing a friend and leaving my apartment to go places other than the pharmacy or grocery store (even masked!) felt wild and reckless, but was so incredibly fun and also so nourishing for the soul.

May // Outdoor fun.

Anyone that’s lived in Chicago knows that May in Chicago is just the absolute best. The city comes to life again, everyone emerges from their six-month-long winter slumber, and the vibe is just JOY. All around.

June // First dip(s) in the ocean.

Dan and I visited our families in Massachusetts, and also visited the ocean quite a bit. There is just nothing like going in the ocean in the summer time. Some days we’d walk to the ocean and even go for a swim before or after work. Cannot recommend this enough if you have a body of water at your disposal.

July // The one month that things were normal.

I stayed in Massachusetts for several weeks and got to see so many humans that I love. This was during that beautiful post-vaccine, pre-variant stretch. It was surreal to be able to hug and have meaningful conversations with all of these people (not all are pictured). I hope we have more times like this in the future where things are safe(r) than they are now. 😭

August // A little bit of everything.

August was a nice litte mix of things. Lots of walks outside. A much-needed haircut. A visit from my other friend also named Sarah. A night out to see Meg Stalter perform. And that photo in the upper right, idk what exactly was happening there. It was after a long day at work, I remember that much.

September // The start of a 4-month long wedding season.

It seems that everyone rescheduled their 2020 weddings for Fall of 2021. Pictured below is the first one I went to. It was so sweet to celebrate the people getting married. And also kinda cool to put on real clothes for the first time in 2 years.

October // more odd ‘n ends.

October was a solid month with unseasonably warm weather. Flew through ‘Somebody’s Daughter‘ by Ashley C. Ford (excellent read). Went apple picking. Bought vegan Doc Martens (psa: they’re not comfortable). Got brunch with friends who were in the city for the Chicago marathon! And saw one of my OGs, Rob Bell, live. Grateful for each and every one of these good timez.

November // mini high school reunion + more weddings.

That middle photo was just a typical post-wedding glow-down moment. Yk I like to keep it real.

December // dodging covid.

December included one wedding in PA, two Christmas family gatherings, two covid exposures, and one wedding in RI to close out the year. December was probably the most stress-filled month tbh, but was also filled with lots of sweet moments that I’m so thankful to have experienced.

I am utterly exhausted after putting this little post together. Maybe it’s because I started it at 5am and it’s now 10am. Or maybe it’s because 2021 was just a wild year and I think maybe we’re all a bit tired…? Tell me. How was your year? I would love to hear from you.

I hope you and your people are healthy and safe. 🌱

Sending love to you,

P.S. Link again to sign up for yoga class info is here. 🕉

2020 in Review

Dear humans who are still subscribed to and/or interested in this very sporadically posted-on blog,

Happy 2021! Whew. What an effing YEAR.

I wanted to write a little something to first and foremost, check in and see how you’re doing. I hope that you are well and your people are well. If you or someone you know has been affected by covid (and/or other health concerns or hardships) know that I am thinking of you and am sitting with you, in whatever you may be feeling or experiencing. If there is anything I can do to support you, please please let me know (by texting or emailing me at 💙

Second, I thought it might be nice to share a bit about what we’ve all been up to this year, similar to what I did last year. A virtual holiday card if you will. I always get so sappy this time of year; I love a good opportunity to reminisce and reflect.

A couple of things I want to acknowledge first:

One, part of me is hesitant to put this out there because I don’t want the contents of this little note to come across as minimizing or diminishing any of the truly horrific things that have happened this year (that I’ve experienced, that you’ve experienced, or that we’ve experienced collectively). I recognize I’m coming from a very privileged position and to that end, it feels inappropriate to just share a highlight reel of my year without fully owning that.

Even so, while I will spare the details of my personal ‘lows’ of 2020, it has been a challenging year, and as important as it is to sit in the grief, heartache, and pain of it all (which I have and continue to do), for me, it’s equally important to talk about all of the other stuff that happened this year, too. Even if only to help myself remember it wasn’t all bad. So consider this a wildly selfish act, but here’s a bit of what my year looked like.

By the way I would really love to hear what you’ve been up to and how you’re feeling after this year if you’re up for sharing, too. Community and connection are so important right now (now more than ever), and while emailing isn’t quite the same as sitting across a table from you and catching up (which is what I’d really like to be doing!), I will take what I can get. 🙂 I miss you!

2020 Highlight Reel

January 2020: I visited my fam.

At this point in the year, I was preparing to move out of Chicago and do some traveling starting in February. Before I hit the road, I took a trip back to Massachusetts to spend some time with my family, including my (most adorable) nephew. It was a grand time.

Face of nephew not shown due to misunderstanding of where to look at time of photo being taken (which incidentally works out great for privacy purposes).

February 2020: I published my e-book, and traveled to Puerto Rico to help build earthships for 2 weeks.

Earthships are self-sustaining homes made of recycled materials that encourage autonomous, communal, and sustainable living. Participating in this project was one of the most life-giving and empowering experiences of my life, and I’m so thankful for all that I learned and all of the beautiful humans I got to work alongside and get to know there. I never knew pounding tires and building bottle walls could provide such a sense of purpose! I hope to help with more earthship builds in the future. ⚙️If you ever have the opportunity to participate yourself, I highly recommend it! They do these builds all over the world. And if you have any questions on it, let me know!

I also published my first e-book, all about holistic healing and how to enter the world of natural health in a healthy way. 🤓 If you’ve read it or do read it, I’d love to know what you think!

March 2020: After Puerto Rico, I spent a week in Panama.

This trip was supposed to be a couple of months long, but ended up being cut short due to some differences in expectations between us and our host. It ended up working out because the day I flew back to the States (on my birthday, actually) was right around the time that lockdowns started happening due to covid. Had we not flown back when we did, we may have gotten stuck in Panama! I do hope to go back someday when things in the world aren’t so crazy. Panama is a beautiful place. ☀️

Standing in a farm in Panama, watching the sunset.

April 2020: I spent some time in the state of Colorado.

There is nothing like the sun shining in Colorado. I am grateful for the time I had here to familiarize myself with ‘quarantine life’ while also still being able to take walks outside (since we weren’t in a super city-ish area). Can’t wait until the next time I can visit.

May 2020: I traveled back to Chicago and felt many, many feelings.

I was going through some stuff in May. I took time to retreat, grieve, go outside as much as possible, and take lots of moody selfies. It was lovely to be back in Chicago and meet up with folks I hadn’t seen in-person for a while, and give myself space to feel.

June 2020: More time outside and more grieving in Chicago.

I stayed in Chicago for the majority of June, and spent more time outside with people I cared about. More importantly, June was the time that the murders of Breonna Taylor, George Floyd, and countless other POC came to light. While police brutality against the black community is certainly not new, this was a month where many of us (finally) opened our eyes to the reality that we are living in a country in which systemic racism runs deep, right alongside colonialism, capitalism, and white supremacy. 2020 has served as a potent reminder that we have so much work to do, in 2021 and beyond, in moving the needle towards real, lasting equality.

July 2020: I spent the month exploring in Colorado with one of my best friends.

It was so special to spend a month in a nature-filled space with Sarah, who was one of my old college roommates and is one of my very best friends. We spent a lot of time hiking and talking and eating home cooked meals. There were lots of animal sightings, along with doing laundry by hand, and beautiful sunrises and sunsets. There may or may not have also been a few hikes that ended with in me in tears, begging Sarah to help me make it through the hike. Sarah is an expert hiker and I… not so much. She was such a good sport, helping me through the extra steep parts and encouraging me as I screamed for my life intermittently. Bless you, Sarah. 😂

August 2020: I saw family and friends (socially distanced) in Massachusetts.

It was so special to see my nephew and other people who I hadn’t seen since January of that year. There were lots of walks outside, along with talks of how our years have been so far.

September 2020: Back to Chicago.

I spent this month doing more of the same: lots of walks outside and time spent in nature. That’s one of the things I love most about Chicago; you can’t travel too far without running into some sort of park or body of water. You get a nice balance of nature + city life.

October 2020: You guessed it… more time outside in Chicago.

The pictures speak for themselves. So thankful for the time to be in nature, especially before it got more wintry. We had some really warm October days this year!

November 2020: A 2020 attempt at flying home for the holidays.

It was a successful attempt, thankfully. I made it to Massachusetts on November 22nd. There was a slight change of plans since I was supposed to spend Thanksgiving with my family, but was unable to due to covid. I ended up spending Thanksgiving down the Cape instead though, which was lovely, and my family and I had a belated Thanksgiving later on in December. ❤️I will say, trying to get a rapid covid test on short notice around the holidays was not easy (it was an 11-hour affair that started by getting in a line at 4:30am and waiting there for hours in the pouring rain). But alas, I got my test eventually, and it was negative. 🙏🏼

December 2020: Christmas in Massachusetts.

I spent the rest of the year in Massachusetts, so I could avoid flying twice for both Thanksgiving and Christmas. The holidays always seem to go by so quickly. I spent Christmas with my family. It felt like a particularly big gift this year, with all that’s been happening in the world. I was also able to go on some walks with friends that I haven’t seen for ages, and was reminded of how glorious it is to be able to go a year without seeing someone and catch up like no time has passed. So thankful for to time to connect amidst these crazy times.

If you’ve make it this far, you are a champ! Okay. Now your turn. 😊 What have you been up to this year? If you’re not sure how exactly to answer such a broad question, here are some things I’m particularly curious about. 😉

  • What is one thing that you are proud to have accomplished or gotten through this year?
  • What is one moment that brought you joy this year?
  • What’s one lesson you’ve learned this year?
  • What’s one thing you’re looking forward to this coming year?

Shoot me a text or an email ( if you’re up for it! I would love to hear from you. 🙂

Wishing you so much goodness this coming year. I know it has been a challenging one… if no one else has told you recently (and even if they have), you are doing a great job, and you are so so loved. 🌱 Happy new year to you and your people. 💛✨

Love, Bibs

Happy 2020, Friends

Hi everyone,

Bibs here. 😊 Long time no speak! Happy, Happy New Year to your and your people. 💚 I wanted to send you all a quick note to ask how you’ve been doing, and to share a bit about what I’ve been up to this past year and a half.

It’s crazy… the last time I was consistently writing to you all was in the summer of 2018, and in so many ways I feel like a different person than I was then. It’s hard to believe so much can change in so little time. Here’s a little of what I’ve been up to…

In 2018, I was working remotely for a start-up in Oakland, California and was living in Lexington, Massachusetts.

The cute lil’ nook in my apartment in Lexington.

In June of 2018, I sold most of my stuff, left my apartment, and began living the “digital nomad” life.

I started by living by the beach in Danvers, Massachusetts for a couple of months with two college boys. Living with them reminded me of how different life is in college versus out of college — it was a lot of fun. 😊

Beach in Beverly, MA

In August of 2018, I made my way to Cambridge, Massachusetts to stay with my college roommate and her husband for a couple of months, which felt like the good old days all over again, only somehow even better this time.

My college roomie Maggie and I drinkin’ some smoothies in Somerville, MA.

In September of 2018, I started staying with my high school friend Miki. It was a dream come true to be roommates for a bit, and to be so lovingly welcomed into her and her family’s home.

I regret not taking more pictures with Miki, but man, isn’t this bed beautiful?

In October of 2018, I flew to Iceland and met my remote teammates for the first time. I had an absolute BLAST and thoroughly enjoyed getting to know the amazing people I got to work with every day face-to-face.

The Suiteness crew, Reykjavik, Iceland, October 2018.

I also met a very special human on that trip – we’ll call him Larry – who you’ll notice shows up quite a bit in the rest of the places traveled this past year…

Fun fact: I met Larry precisely as I was snapping this selfie.

In November of 2018, I spent a few weeks in Ocala, Florida with my friend Jerica and her family, whose love and encouragement and honesty was so healing — I can’t even begin to explain.

Hangin’ with Jerica’s fam was the funnest.

Later that month, I took a trip to Chicago, Illinois to visit Larry, which was really wonderful and lovely and amazing and beautiful in every way.

Here’s a cool pic from a rooftop in Chi-town.

In December of 2018, I spent a few weeks in Germany, where I was able to connect with my dad’s side of the family and soak up beautiful quality time with them and with friends.

At the end of the year, I spent a few days in New Hampshire with Larry, and got to spend Christmas with my mom’s side of the family, which is always a party.

On New Year’s Eve, I got on a plane and began a 24-hour trip to Mysore, India, where I spent the month of January getting my 200-hour vinyasa yoga teacher certification and learning what it means to live in community with beautiful people from all across the globe.

In February of 2019, I flew back to Boston to visit family and friends.

A couple o’ beauties I am grateful to call gal pals.

Later that month, I flew to Chicago and moved in with Larry.

Chicago is a really cool city, but is it cooler than a comfy-looking bed?

In April of 2019, Larry and I flew to Colorado and spent a few days there.

Later that month, I flew out to Oakland, California for a work on-site, which, similar to Iceland, was also a blast and so awesome to be with teammates in real life.

After that, I went back to Boston for a week to visit family and friends before flying back to Chicago.

In May of 2019, Larry and I went back to Colorado for his sister’s graduation, which was a great time.

Posing with Larry’s van.

In June of 2019, I went to Fort Lauderdale for a week to spend time relaxing on the beach and catching up with two beautiful friends, Angela and Pam, who I hadn’t seen for quite awhile.

Work biddies 4 life.

This isn’t travel-related, but later that month I got laid off and was able to spend the warmest months in Chicago fun-employed, hanging with beautiful people in the city.

Peace ‘n love yo, peace ‘n love.

I also started teaching yoga this year.

I clearly don’t enjoy it very much.

In July of 2019, I went back to Boston for a few days for my nephew’s first birthday party, which was just the best.

I love him so much. 💛

In September of 2019, I had a solid week of quality time with friends and family in Boston. A HUGE shoutout and thank you to everyone who made time to get together and who hosted me. I love you all more than I can say!

My friend Sarah scheduled her layover in Boston and got up hella early to meet me for a few minutes one morning before I flew back to Chicago. 😭

I got a new remote job at the end of September, and in October of 2019, I went to Boston for a few days before flying out to Miami to meet my new teammates. It was so fun to get to put real faces to the little avatars I talk to every day on Slack.

A couple of my teammates. 🤗

In November 2019, Larry and I went to Colorado to visit his family for Thanksgiving, and in December, we went to Massachusetts to visit my family for Christmas.

This brings us to January 2020. I’m currently in Chicago, but just for about another month before I pick the nomad life back up again. Details on that to come. 😉

PHEW. So this is where I’ve been and what I’ve been doing! I’ve taken a step back from social media and blogging in an effort to be more present with the people in front of me, but I do hope to keep things a bit more active here this year, and to post when it feels right to. 🙂

There’s a lot more I could share here, about personal evolutions and experiences, and other things that have happened, but I’ll leave that for another time. For now I’ll just say, a lot has changed, but one thing has stayed the same…

I’m still doing my best to keep things weird. ✌🏼

Anyway, ENOUGH ABOUT ME. How have you been? I’d sincerely love to hear from you. What was one of your favorite things about this past year? What is one thing you’re looking forward to in 2020?

Comment below, DM me at, or email me at Can’t wait to hear from you!

P.S. Remember that e-book on holistic healing I said I was going to have out over a year ago? Well 2020 is the year… I’m actually going to publish it. (Honest.) Stay tuned!

10 (Really Deep) Conversation Starters for Anyone who Hates Small Talk // 2019 Edition

A couple of years ago I wrote a post with 10 conversation starters for anyone who “hated” small talk. After another couple of years of listening to podcasts, reading books, and watching content (mostly centered around question asking), I’ve come across 10 more questions I’d like to share.

This is for all of you who love to dive into the deep, the intense, the joyful, and sometimes the messy when it comes to conversing with people you care about. The next time you’re hanging with close friends, out to dinner with family, or want to throw a new acquaintance for a loop, try throwing one of these questions into a conversation and seeing where it leads. 🙂

10 (Really Deep) Conversation Starters for Anyone who Hates Small Talk // 2019 Edition

1. What’s one thing you know for sure?

2. What is one thing you are afraid people will find out about you? (Something you avoid telling people, at least at first)

3. What’s the most difficult decision you’ve had to make (to fulfill your destiny)?

4. How would you describe your childhood?

5. What keeps you up at night?

6. When is the last time you cried?

7. What is one thing you like doing that makes you feel the most free, alive, or full of joy?

8. How do you like to play? What are your hobbies?

9. What is your dream job? Or what is one thing you want to accomplish before you die? How are you pursuing that?

10. What makes you angry? What makes you cry?

Once again, thank you to the original question-askers who inspired this blog post (Oprah, Rob Bell, Liz Gilbert, Laura McKowan, Meadow DeVor, Lewis Howes, and others I am sure I am forgetting right now!).

Happy Chatting. 🤓

xo, Bibs

Photo by Laszlo Kiss on Unsplash

10 things to consider if you’ve just started working remotely

I started working remotely full time about 4 months ago, and I’ve only recently found enough time has passed that I’ve been able to find my groove and really find a new normal that feels good and sustainable to me.

Remote jobs seem to be all the rage lately, especially amongst us millennials. Remote work was “the dream” for me for a long time – and still is! It’s such an amazing way to be able to earn your living and I feel so lucky to be able to have the incredible remote job that I do. I can honestly say I love it.

With that said, there are a LOT of things I wish I knew before starting to work remotely. As awesome as it is, it does not come without its challenges or without calling for some major life adjustments. I’ve been keeping tabs on the changes I’ve made in my life and lessons I’ve learned as I’ve adjusted to the “digital nomad” life, and I’m sharing my top 10 with you today.

If you recently started working remotely, or if you’re considering going remote, (or even if you just want to reassess how you’re feeling about your onsite job), I hope you’ll find these helpful in some way.

1. Working remotely will not solve your problems. It will give you different problems.

I don’t say this to be a downer. I say this to be real with you. As much as working remotely may alleviate some of the stresses you experience working in an office, working remotely will come with its own shit sandwich, just like everything else does. As Liz Gilbert talks about in Big Magic, you just have to ask yourself which “shit sandwich” you like eating more – in this case, do you like the “shit” that comes with working in an office or the shit that comes from working remotely better?

2. Your social life matters, now more than ever. (I’m lookin’ at you, Introverts).

Hi, I’m Bibs and I’m a raging introvert.

For a long time, I wanted to work remotely because the thought of not having to be around people all day in an office didn’t scare me like it did my extrovert friends… it actually kind of intrigued me. (No offense to my past coworkers. So much love to you all). But one thing I discovered REALLY quickly is I start to go a wee bit nuts when I’m alone for too long. I think most people do.  We are meant to have consistent, meaningful human interaction, and even though it’s possible to have 2-sided conversations with yourself and your alter ego…… trust me. It’s no replacement for the real thing.

I’ve been surprised to discover that as someone who used to need at least a few days to myself each week when working in an office to “recharge,” I now can only handle one, maybe two, nights a week where I don’t have plans before I begin to feel a sense of isolation and general stir crazy-ness that borders on unhealthy. So fill up your calendars, people! And find what kind of social life feels healthiest for you. Friends are a beautiful thing. (And if you don’t have any friends, or enough friends, great news! It is actually possible to make new ones!, exercise studios, and spiritual homes can be a great place to meet people).

3.  Eat lunch when you’re hungry. Go to the bathroom when you have to. Shower every day. In other words: take care of your damn self.

Don’t forget that while you are online for work, your boss understands that you are a human being, who needs sustenance to be able to work well, and who has permission to relieve him or herself when nature calls. When I first started my job I may or may not have gone a day (or three) too long without a shower, and waited to go to the bathroom until I was about to burst. SMH.

Basic self care, man… It’s a good thing.

4. Having a remote job does not mean you get to chillax all day every day. Working remotely is a hustle.

Of course it depends on the company you work for, but at least working remotely for a startup is a hustle. This is something I knew going into my job – it’s one of the reasons I applied for my job actually. I love the hustle. But it’s something to keep in mind. If you’re looking for a relaxing job, you will not necessarily be better off remote.

Another challenge is getting friends and family to understand this concept. Be prepared for people to think that work for you looks like lounging around in your pajamas on your computer all day. And be prepared to tell them that even though working does usually involve comfortable clothes in some capacity, there is seldom much lounging involved.

Btw get dressed in normal clothes sometimes. It can even be comfy clothes, but don’t work in the same clothes that you sleep in… there should be some level of differentiation between work and sleep. It’s just good practice.

5. Make it a point to meet with the people on your team regularly for remote coffee or remote lunch.

Recreate the water cooler chatter, the happy hour conversations, and the random office interactions by asking to hop on quick 15 or 30-minute calls with people on your team. Getting to know your team on any kind of deep or personal level will not necessarily happen just through weekly team meetings, but it’s so important for feeling that sense of connectedness and camaraderie that makes work so enjoyable.

6. If you’re not sure how you’re performing, ASK.

Don’t stress yourself out by assuming you’re not meeting your boss’ expectations and getting on yourself to hustle harder (especially when you’re already hustling as hard as you can without burning out). And on the flip side, don’t assume you’re doing amazing if you haven’t been told so. Feedback is your friend. Ask for it when you need it.

Also, know who you are and how you work. If you tend to be the type to overwork yourself and convince yourself you’re not doing enough, RELAX. Take a chill pill and remind yourself you’re in this for long-term success, not short-term burnout. And vice versa, if you have a tendency to just kind of coast and do the minimum amount of work you’re told to do, put markers in place to give you the accountability you need to get moving and to really reach your full potential.

7. Spend your non-working hours somewhere other than on a computer.

If your method for relaxing after work is screen-related (Netflix, gaming, scrolling through FB) then — how should I say this —

Find a new way to relax.

Pick up a book, get into podcasts, join a gym or community that gets you out of the house, phone a friend. Your eyes can only handle so much computer time before going cross-eyed. (I realize this is ironic, as someone who is blogging for fun as we speak, but still, find hobbies that are primarily non-computer-related).

Btw for the times you are on the computer and have to be, get yourself a pair of blue light blocking glasses. Zenni Optical and Swanwick have some great ones. Another thing I’ve noticed helps a lot is keeping my computer at or slightly above eye level, that way you’re not craning your neck and eyes downward all day.

8. Make time to play & exercise. Preferably at the same time.

If you follow me on IG you know that, after a brief 11-year hiatus, I started doing gymnastics again.  If there’s some physical activity you used to love doing as a kid (dancing, running, some other sport), look for groups (of adults) in the area that are doing that thing and join them! It’s so easy to get into a “no-nonsense, all business” mindset when you’re online for work; not to mention all the other aspects of life that call for seriousness. You deserve to have fun, too. Carving out a little time each week or even each month where you don’t have to worry about the day-to-day responsibilities and can channel your inner “kid” is so liberating.

9. Check in with yourself (and adjust) often.

I’d say this is a good life practice in general, but this is especially important if you’re working remotely. It’s crazy how easy it is to get stuck in unhealthy habits if you’re not consciously trying to change them. As Liz Gilbert says, if you’re not actively creating, chances are you’re actively destroying. For me, I was surprised at how easy it was to get sucked into the vortex of the interwebs. If I don’t set clear boundaries for myself around when I’m on my computer, both for fun and for work, I can easily spend 10 out of 12 waking hours online in some capacity.

Wake up: check my phone. 9am hits: sign into slack & other work apps. 5pm hits: turn on Netflix.

Do not let this be your life, because it gets real old real quick. Boundaries are a good thing here.

Beyond that, ask yourself regularly how you’re doing. Do you like your life? Are you happy? Do you like where you’re headed? Do you like who you’re becoming? If the answer is no to any of these questions, ask yourself why, and try to tinker with how you’re living your life to improve things. You deserve to live a life you love. But it won’t happen without you taking the time to check in with yourself and adjust accordingly.

10. CELEBRATE. And take advantage of the perks of remote life.

Working remotely is freaking awesome. And it’s a significant accomplishment! As much as remote work is becoming more and more popular these days, remote jobs are still not super easy to come by, and it’s a big deal that you’ve landed one and/or have crafted your business to be able to do it! Honor that accomplishment.

And also don’t waste that accomplishment. Take advantage of the flexibility. Take the time to travel when you can, even if it’s just staying over at a family member’s place a few towns over. Work in the cafe down the street, instead of staying cooped up in your home. Work outside if the weather’s nice! Do the things that you said you’d do “if only you could work remotely” before you actually got your remote job. You deserve it, and you won’t regret it.

If you work remotely: did any of this resonate with you? And if you work in an office: did this make you want to work remotely? Or make you never want to work remotely? 🙂 Let me know what you thought!

Photo by Kevin Bhagat on Unsplash