Monthly Life Update, March 2021

It’s been a minute since I shared a deeper life update here on the blog. If you follow me on Instagram, you get more of a picture of my day-to-day life and everything going on. But I feel like here on the blog, it’s more about sharing posts and content I think you guys would find helpful and inspiring… so sometimes life updates don’t always happen! So I wanted to take a bit of time to share what’s going on + also explain why I haven’t been as consistent of posting here to the blog every day. Definitely let me know if you enjoy this time of post!

My health

I’ve toyed with the idea of having 2021/my 36th year be ‘the year of prioritizing my health’ since it’s felt like the past 3-4 years have been one thing after another after another (my climbing accidentmy lung collapsemy diagnosis). It truly feels like I haven’t been healthy and happy in my body in years. I’m heavier and weaker than I’ve ever been, my eating routines are out of whack, and I haven’t been to therapy in way too long. It feels like I’ve skated by in survival mode for so long and now I’m 36 and I don’t recognize my body. Add in the fact that I now live in a place where I want to be active all the time and I either can’t keep up or I’m slow and weak. I used to be a strong rock climber and now I’m not. It bothers me. I’m considering doing a 30 rides in 30 days on Peloton, just to get me started moving again and back into the routine of daily exercise.

Mentally, I need to do more work. In true Joanna fashion, I’ve put it off as long as I can and avoided actually putting the effort in. I’m one of those people who’s really good at prioritizing others and my business over myself… and that’s really got to stop. I recently decided to give Talkspace a try since we live in such a remote area. It’s been so hard to find a therapist out here or even someone to help manage my medications.

The other thing is that I am truly exhausted all of the time. The stress and anxiety of living through a pandemic for a year has taken a massive told on my energy levels. I know I’m not alone. It genuinely feels like I can never get enough sleep. So that is why sometimes I just don’t post for a while. I’m just too tired, especially since I try really hard to put care and thought into everything I post here to the blog and on social media. The burn out is real and I’m just trying to figure out how to actually slow down and recharge.

As many of you know, I’m also a very sensitive person. I think because of that the two recent shootings have shaken me in a major way. Two of my best friends are Asian and when I think about some racist jackass targeting them, my body has a physical stress reaction. It makes me very, very angry and scared and heartbroken to even think about someone causing my friends harm. I’m having a hard time wrapping my mind around the hate, especially toward cultures that I so deeply respect. I refuse to come to terms with the suggestion of now that more places are being opened that there will be more shootings.

The cabin

I’ll be sharing a much bigger post about this tomorrow because it will be the 6 month marker of us moving here, but as an overview living here has been really, really hard. I miss my tiny bungalow so much, especially the kitchen. I also miss being near friends, even if we’re all still social distancing. And stuff just takes so much longer and more effort to do out here: the power is out, the wifi is down, the one grocery store 30 minutes away is expensive and the quality of produce isn’t great. The mail lady smokes so everything reeks when it arrives. As with city life, there are tons of small annoyances out here — it’s just that they are different now.

Now that it’s spring, I’m starting to make more peace with the cabin and our new life out here. Electricity is much more stable and I’ve found a few ways to improve my connectivity issues. But the single hardest part is the fact that I’m alone out here a few days a week, every week while Sean is in the city working. Sometimes it’s only 3 days, but sometimes it’s 5… and it’s hard. It’s been nearly 6 months and I really miss seeing my husband every day and eating dinner with him.

On a somewhat related note, I’ve actually struggled to accept our cabin because it is so big and so empty most of the time. 2000 square feet feels like way too much space for one person. There are times where I just wander the house because it’s just so BIG. The bungalow felt so approachable for one person… but this house is way more work than I could ever imagine dealing with by myself in any long term capacity. There is stuff in every room, don’t get me wrong. We have definitely spread out. But when Sean isn’t here, there are usually at least 2-3 rooms that I don’t regularly occupy since I just don’t need to. I spent so many years advocating for small space living and yet here I am complaining about too much space… this shift feels like something I’m grappling with and not totally sure how to handle.

I’ve loved having a room dedicated to being my office. And I’ve loved having two bathrooms. Plus, it’s nice to have a guest room when Andy comes to stay… and the ability to put all of our stuff into one room until we figure out how we want it organized… and to close a door to a renovation. But on a day-to-day basis, I feel like I’m floating in a really, really big void of a house sometimes.

Our tiny zoo

On a less stressed out/dramatic note, our tiny zoo has recently been expanded! As of this past weekend, we have 13 baby chicks in our guest bathroom in a brooder. That brings the total number of birds in our flock to 24! Not to mention that I am waiting on additional chicks to hatch in April. Sean literally said he didn’t care how many chickens I got, so I kinda went overboard. They make me really happy, so it’s ok.

Diamond, our puppy, is officially a year old and getting more well behaved by the day. I love our wiener dogs so much, but, as any wiener dog owner knows, they can be incredibly stubborn. Lucy and Noodle have always loved Sean and Andy more than me. Probably because I’m the mean mommy, especially when they are barking. Meanwhile, Diamond is so EASY. She is eager to please and is totally my dog. She listens to me and loves me most… and honestly, that’s exactly what I wanted from a new dog addition to our family.

As for our cat, Georgette, she is now 14 and getting crankier and crankier with her old age. It’s been a few weeks *knock on wood* since her last destructive episode, so I’m really hoping that she’s finally starting to feel settled into the new house. I’ve gone through a full gallon of enzyme cleaner and re-vamped her entire litter box area, so I really truly hope we are on the up and up.


Meanwhile, here on the blog I am busier than I have been in a while. Moving was expensive and there have been a lot of unexpected costs associated with it, not to mention that the money I make accounts for most of our household’s income. So I’ve been lucky enough to partner with some wonderful brands and get some really great brand deals. Every time my management team messages me about a new opportunity, it’s like we do a little dance because it’s one step closer in helping us rebuild our savings and maybe even go on a honeymoon once it’s safe to do so.

With all of that being said, I want to express my gratitude to each and every one of you who supports my sponsored content. That can mean anything from liking a post on Instagram to swiping up in my stories or even truly trusting me and purchasing/incorporating the product I’ve advertised into your daily life. To me, that’s the ultimate goal because it means that I’ve been authentic enough to where you trust my recommendations — and that is what I strive for every day. I take my brand partnerships so seriously and only accept ones that are a good fit for me and for you — I really mean the disclosure I put at the top of every blog post! So to hear that something resonated with you means the world.

In terms of The Jojotastic School of Social Media, I am in the process of building a new addition: small business mentoring. This is something I’ve wanted to build for so long… but because of our wifi connectivity issues out here, I haven’t felt like the time was right. But after doing a LOT of research and planning, I’m ready. I still have a few details to hash out, so it hasn’t officially launched yet. If you’re interested in knowing when it launches, definitely join this wait list so you can find out first when it’s ready. I’ve put so much into my private mentoring program and I really cannot wait to launch!

So that’s a bit of a life update for you… now that I’ve typed it all out and read it back, I sort of feel like this should be a monthly or quarterly thing. What do you think? Also, is there a topic that I missed that you’ve been curious about? Leave a comment and let me know.

Behind The Blog

Joanna Hawley-McBride is a Pacific Northwest-based social media strategist, content creator, and former textile designer. Joanna is the founder and editor-in-chief of Jojotastic, a lifestyle blog focused on Joanna’s work-in-progress cabin, finding the best pair of underwear through #UnderwearThesis, and empowering women to explore nature — all in her signature unfiltered style. Her work has been featured in Domino, CNBC, and Eating Well.

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