It’s no secret that I work from home. I’ve been shouting about it on Twitter and to anyone who looks my way for the past month. It’s glorious, hard, rewarding, discouraging and unlike anything I have ever experienced in my life. 

The freedom to set my own schedule, find work that I am actually interested in, and not drive an hour to work every day has been life-giving. My house is clean. The dog is walked. And praise the actual Lord that we have dinner on the table before 8:30 p.m. most nights. 

But over the course of the past five weeks, the exhilaration I felt from seeing my hard work pay off started to wane. I couldn’t figure it out at first. Why do I feel so unsatisfied when this is the work-life balance I’ve been building for myself for five years? 

Then it hit me. I looked and felt like a trash monster. And not the adorable Sesame Street kind.

In my rush to embrace the “work from our guest room, have coffee at all hours of the day, and maybe I’ll work out at noon today instead of 6 a.m.” lifestyle, I stopped taking care of myself in ways that I didn’t know I needed.

I lost my morning routine. I traded my cute business casual summer dresses for gym shorts and sports bras that make me feel uncomfortable. I told myself I was giving my hair “a break” from heat styling when in all reality I haven’t styled my hair in weeks. That’s when I realized how I feel about my work and myself are rooted in how put together I feel. 

Sure, I could go on a tangent about how society and culture put pressure on women to look a certain way in order to feel worthy. That is 100% a real and valid thing. But I don’t think that’s it this time. This is about my energy levels and performance when no one is looking.

That’s why I ironed my T-shirt this morning.

Now look, I hate ironing. I have no less than three text message threads and one Instagram DM on my phone about how much I hate ironing. I will wait until Kevin has zero options in his closet for work before I fire the iron up to tackle the stack of shirts that hangs out on our dryer.

But when I pulled out the denim shorts (y’all, I’m trying) and white T-shirt I picked out to wear today, I thought, “If my shirt feels wrinkly all day, I’m going to feel wrinkly.”

In less than three minutes, I pulled on my freshly ironed T-shirt ready to face the day (and look presentable should I run into anyone on a walk). It’s funny how the things we hate – the chores that take us less than five minutes – can give us a confidence boost and the energy to be just a little more efficient with our time. 

The next time you’re feeling unproductive or sluggish, try ironing your T-shirt. If it doesn’t work, at least you have one chore to check off on your to do list.

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