Outdoorsy Valentine’s Day weekend in SF + reflection on finding balance with work

Last week definitely had its ups and downs. The ups was centered around Valentines Day as Joe and I spent the whole weekend together doing what we do best: spending as much time as possible outdoors. The whole weekend felt like one continuous Valentines date and I left it feeling so rejuvenated. The lows of the week was centered around work. More on that below.

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Friday was Valentine’s Day! Joe and I had a special evening planned, starting with grabbing happy hour drinks at Jones, one of my favorite outdoor bars in the city. Flashback to two summers ago when I went to Jones almost every weekend! They had a full cocktail menu and views of Nob Hill – it was Joe’s first time and he loved it.

After getting liquored up, we went to Anchor and Hope, a seafood restaurant where we had our second date. 🙂 It was interesting being back as little things like where we sat/the food we ate came back to our memories and we couldn’t help but reminisce on our early-dating days and marvel of how far we’ve come. Just like last time, the food was to die for and we tried completely new things this time. I am one special gal. ❤

On Saturday, Joe and I spent the whole day outside. It’s hard to describe how special the experience was, as we walked 7+ miles from Lower Pac Heights, through Golden Gate Park, to Ocean Beach! I turned off my phone and could completely unwind, focus on the beautiful scenery and spending time with Joe. We ended the day with dinner at Java Beach Cafe (my favorite spot in the Sunset) and a movie night. The whole day felt so cleansing which was just what I needed after a difficult work week.

On Sunday, Joe and I ran some errands and shopped for food and drinks for a housewarming party he’s throwing next weekend. I got so excited helping plan the menu and assigning myself as co-host 😛

In the afternoon, we were feeling restless and headed outside for another outdoorsy day. We went on a hike through the Presidio and ended on Baker Beach, where we laid out a blanket and chilled. I just love SF because where else can you find such a perfect day in the middle of February?!

After our hike, we hung out in the Richmond, grabbing some banh mi sandwiches and hanging out at the music store.

Another perfectly refreshing weekend in the books ❤

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Now onto the work stuff…while I try to use this blog to focus on the positive things in my life, it’s hard to ignore how stressful things have been for me lately on the work front. I use to be pretty good at work/life separation, but lately it’s been hard to separate the stresses at work from bleeding into my personal life.

Things took a turn for the worse over the past few weeks and I’ve called my mom in tears more times than I’d like to admit. I felt so demotivated and burnt out this week that I even took a few days off to clear my head and reflect. I definitely don’t have all the answers as I’m just beginning a process of creating more balance and finding happiness with a stressful job, but I wanted to share a few takeaways so far:

  • Happiness is not “if-then”. It’s natural to think that happiness works as “if-then”…If I get into this school, then I’ll be happy. If I get a promotion, then I’ll be happy. I’m starting to internalize that happiness is a state of mind regardless of what you have.
  • Money/titles/accomplishments are superficial. I realized for so long, I’ve been focusing on the wrong thing: a better title, more money, more results in my work…I’ll probably look back and regret chasing these shallow things when I wish I stopped and smelled the roses. I’ll never be 26 again and have my whole life to accomplish things in my career. It’s natural to keep chasing the next milestone in life (good school, good job, etc), but now as an adult, I’m learning that determining what is important in life is completely up to me.
  • Advice to my younger self. I asked myself this week, what advice would I give to myself 5 years ago when I fresh out of college? I would say “explore, take risks, the pain will pass…and most importantly, be kind to yourself.” This is ever so important right now too.
  • Expect change. One piece of advice I got from a wellness podcast was to expect change. So many of my stresses are because a change comes up (new task, notification, org change, personnel change) and it stresses me out. If I can learn to expect change and not react so strongly to it, it’ll do wonders on my mental health.
  • Breath. My workday is very fast-paced and stressful, and I realized that I don’t take time to breath. During stressful moments, I’m trying to take 1 minute to take deep breaths, lower my heart rate and relax.
  • Reading the news. Reading the news and listening to podcasts has helped me recalibrate my priorities. There are so many bigger problems out there, and while it’s normal to hone in on stresses from a place where you spend 45-50 hours a week, in comparison to the rest of the world I still have it pretty good.
  • It’s normal to feel the burn out. I was pretty hard on myself for feeling this demotivation, but after catching up with some friends this week, I realized that SO many people in their 20s are going through the same thing, feeling burnt out after a year a new job and figuring out the “why” of work. I think it’s less obvious in SF since everyone is grinding away in the optimistic tech bubble, but reconnecting with my NYC friends made me remember it really is normal to feel this way.
  • It all works out in the end. When I look back in life and remember times when things didn’t work out, I’m always happy that things turned out that way. It’s a great reminder that even when we don’t get something we want, more likely than not, God is protecting us.
  • Have other focuses. Taking a few days off and entering this past weekend was so incredibly rejuvenating. I spent time outside every day and it was a sweet reminder that life is so beautiful outside of the stresses I’ve narrowed in on. Work has been my #1 priority this past year, and I’m starting to re-focus my attention to doing things I love: running, outdoorsy weekends, travel, spending time with loved ones…my goal is to find something new to focus my energy on so that work is no longer my top priority and the center of my life.

In the end, I’m actually grateful that I hit this sort of “rock bottom” since it’s propelled me to begin this journey of figuring out what is important in life outside of climbing the corporate ladder. In the past few days, I’ve had time to reflect a lot, and despite having little control over forces going on at work, I actually feel like I’m gaining more control of my life by focusing on options for the future. I have a feeling this is going to be a big year filled with big changes and I’m very hopeful 🙂


2 thoughts on “Outdoorsy Valentine’s Day weekend in SF + reflection on finding balance with work

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