2020 Recap + 2021 Anticipation

If you follow me on Instagram, you know that I did a lot of stuff in 2020. From playing music again, to writing a book, and more. A lot of projects. But if you read between the lines, you saw what was really happening… 

In January I fell into a deep depression—the deepest of my life—but gratefully started feeling better by mid-February. But then, COVID. Because we didn’t know much about the virus—and I’m sure that we are still learning more about it all the time—I chose to be safer rather than sorry. I followed all social distancing recommendations. I didn’t get closer than 6 feet away from any person for almost 7 weeks. It was tough. 

Work was also tough. At the beginning of the year, I was in a position that required me to meet with different business owners. Obviously that became more difficult with the pandemic. My contract position ended at the end of June, and then it was just hard to find another job. I went from reduced hours to no job. Because it was a contracted position, I didn’t qualify for unemployment. And to be honest, toward the end of the year, I was hesitant to look for jobs in the region as I began to think seriously about moving…I just didn’t know where to yet. 

I was so productive this year both because I needed to be for my mental health, but also just because I had a lot of time on my hands. Others were working full time jobs or caring for loved ones and I was just…alone. Nearly 24/7. (Plus Felix the cat in June).

I didn’t have a reason to wake up in the morning. And I say that not in a super depressed way, but in a neutral way—there was just nothing and no one commanding my attention. I eventually recognized that I was using creativity, productivity, and accomplishment to fill a void***. I don’t think that’s very healthy—seeking external accomplishment and validation—but it was working, and I knew it was just for a season.

Now, the seasons are changing, and I am so grateful.

While I’m very proud of all that I created and accomplished this year, I’m so eager to move to a city where I will be so close to family, and people who might as well be family. To be in a city and home that, I anticipate, will feel like the sweetest exhale. To actually have a reason to wake up in the morning.

***I want to quickly note that while I recognize that my creativity and productivity were filling a void, I feel like I received inspiration for each of my big projects this year: I had the recurring thought to start writing my book back in March; while I was trying to uplift with my podcast at the start of the pandemic, I felt another recurring nudge to begin teaching yoga again, to use my skills for good in that way; …but I think the music was just a fun project. 🙂 

A few weeks ago I had a realization that while I had the opportunity to work on many personal projects this year, next year is going to be about how I can help others with their projects. I already have a couple projects lined up and I feel so grateful and excited to be a part of them.

It’s been interesting to suddenly push pause on my own projects. Each time a personal project idea comes to my mind, I immediately tuck the idea away for later without a second thought. This is exactly where I’m meant to be. I wouldn’t have it any other way. 

I am grateful for 2020, and I feel excited, peaceful, and hopeful for everything to come.

P.S. My latest article for Healthy Humans Project is about developing resilience for 2021. It’s a topic that has defined much of my year, and one that I care a lot about. 

Mentoring, pt. 1!

A couple weeks ago I met with my new friend and business coach Camille Osborn to chat about what’s next for Looks Like Wandering and how to move forward with it. I needed to more clearly define my audience, she said, and what I bring into their lives. We took notes and made lists as we talked, and only as I was pouring over those notes days later did I finally start to connect the pieces: I can help women learn to thrive even when life doesn’t look like they thought it would.

Even though my life doesn’t look like I thought it would, it is still so dang good. I don’t have a husband, but I have the dearest, most loyal friends and family. I don’t have children, but I have a handful of “nephews and nieces” who I adore. I don’t hear footsteps running in and out of my house all day, but I’ve brought life into my home regardless. And in between all of those big things, there were seasons of depression, anxiety, betrayal trauma recovery, confusing spiritual impressions, unknowns, and more that sent me to my knees. There are some things we can’t control, but there are so many more things that we have direct influence over in our day-to-day lives.

As part of this shift for Looks Like Wandering, I’m going to push pause indefinitely on the podcast. I’m also taking down some of the free downloads that I had created, and will instead share those, as applicable, with the people I meet with and mentor one-on-one. There are still a few t-shirts left, but I haven’t decided if I’m going to restock those again or not. Those are back on sale until they sell out.

I’m planning for LLW to shift to mentoring / coaching / supporting women through unexpected trials. I’m still working out the details, but in the meantime, I’d love to start meeting with women to chat about what they’re going through right now, and exploring options and tools to help them move forward. I’ll be offering free 30-min sessions for the next couple weeks to just try this out. Please send me a message and we’ll put something on the calendar.

As Camille was so kindly encouraging me in this pursuit, I mentioned my hesitation–am I really qualified to help women through their toughest moments? And she reminded me that yes, I totally am. Because I have been there. Because I already show up for my friends every day as they go through this own trials.

And, icing on the cake, I do have some qualifications that actually support the work I do:

I have a BS in Family Studies and have continued my study of healthy relationships (with self and others) as a regular contributor on healthyhumansproject.com.

I am a certified yoga instructor with experience working with women specifically in that capacity. I also have a bit of experience with chakra therapy, if you ever wanted to explore that!

I have personally worked through betrayal trauma recovery and attended a support group for family/spouses of addicts for several months. If you are experiencing betrayal trauma, girl, I’ve been there. And you’re going to figure out how to move forward, however that looks. I’ll support you in any way.

I also have experience as a caseworker for the State of Utah, and have also earned a certificate in Substance Use Disorder Counseling. I’ve been beside people in some of their lowest moments, and have also seen their resilience and strength. Whatever you’re going through, you can get out of it.

If you want to work with me, send me a message on Instagram @lookslikewandering and we’ll set something up! Can’t wait to get to know you better!

June 2020 Updates: Podcast, Postcards, T-Shirts, Yoga, and a Newsletter!

A lot has happened since I last posted. As I shared on Instagram, I no longer felt interested in posting about career paths or anything related to business when COVID-19 happened. And it seemed like most of you guys were feeling the same—in an Instagram poll that I did toward the beginning of social distancing, most people said that they were worried about emotional strain more than anything else. While I was already moving in that direction anyway, COVID confirmed it. The latest two episodes of the podcast were call in episodes. My hope was/is that with these episodes, those who are social distancing can feel less alone in their experiences, both the good and the bad. That we could all feel a sense of community. Here are those episodes, if you haven’t already listened to them:

I’ve surprisingly been doing okay. I struggled through a very deep depression earlier this year, and I think that helped me be ready for the several weeks of being alone during COVID. I was experiencing, and have been experiencing, many highs and lows as many others are, but I feel like I was prepared, and I’m grateful for that. (I never would have thought that I’d be this grateful already for that terribly low season earlier this year.)

A lot of things are in the works, as my focus has been changing with Looks Like Wandering. The podcast is still happening. I have people lined up to interview, but haven’t done that yet. I apologize. I’m trying to balance quite a few things right now, and I haven’t done great with that one.

We have been doing a campaign on Instagram: use the hashtag #lookslikefindingjoy to share the daily joys you are creating in your home, and I’ll send you a pack of 3 Finding Joy postcards, beautifully designed by Alexis of @figuringslowly. Full details here. Once you’ve shared the hashtag the required 5 times, please DM me and I’ll send you your postcards!

I’ve also designed a couple t-shirts, with the help of my dear friend Heidi. They are currently in production and I’m taking pre-orders for them now. More info about those here. (*Note: If you’ve done the #lookslikefindingjoy giveaway, your pack of postcards also came with a 10% discount code for the shop. You can add that to the existing pre-order discount).

I am also excited to share that I’ll be teaching yoga again, this time over on Patreon. I want to give a little background on this. I am a 200-hour certified yoga instructor, and used to teach regularly up in Utah County. I really enjoyed it, but was barely making any money doing it, and missed practicing yoga just for myself. I grew more in debt as I continuously did not ask to be paid what I was worth as an instructor.

I really care about providing value, and I truly believe I am doing that with this. Yes, it costs money, but in exchange, I will be sharing short yoga videos every weekday, consistently. That is the baseline, and I intend to add more value in any way I can. And I do still have free yoga videos online: a few years back, I filmed a whole beginner’s yoga series on Udemy, and recently set that as a free course. While my teaching style has changed a bit since then, it’s still there as a free resource.

My Patreon is entitled “5 Minute Yoga with Allie.” Every weekday, I will be sharing 5-10 minute yoga videos as a jump start for your day, as a way to wind down at night, as a warm up or cool down for other physical activity, or really anything. It is me showing up for you consistently. I promise, it will be worth the investment. And if it’s not, simply cancel your subscription anytime. I know my efforts are worth being compensated, though, and I feel really good about that exchange.

I do want to give one more thought on this, a little behind the scenes of this project. I’m planning to record all of the videos ahead of time, then post them each day. I’m still figuring out some mental health issues, and if I did have to record or teach live each day, there are days when I simply wouldn’t be able to show up for you. Some days I need to step back, and that is totally okay. Pre-recording these videos is beneficial to both you and I.

Lastly, I am starting a newsletter for Looks Like Wandering. When you subscribe (on the sidebar on the website) you will also be able to download “The Wandering Guide,” a list of journaling prompts to help you consider your next step forward in any area of your life. If you follow Looks Like Wandering and want to make sure you get the first updates, special deals, etc., join the newsletter. I won’t send things out often, but when I do, you’ll be the first to know—and it won’t get lost in an algorithm.

Thanks for sticking around, friends! I’m excited about everything I’m working on, and I’m so glad that you’re part of this community.

Allie Barnes