Life As I Know It: Embracing Changes

Life As I Know it Embracing the Changes by Stephanie Hill on The Style Bungalow

Life As I Know it Embracing the Changes by Lifestyle Blogger Stephanie Hill on The Style Bungalow

Talk about change. 

Last month, I left behind West Palm Beach (sort of), a city I’ve lived in for the last 12+ years, and moved into our new home in Miami. Though I kept my apartment in West Palm Beach (as a work space) and am only an hour away, it’s still an entirely different feeling to be permanently living in Miami. Change as I’ve learned can be both exhilarating (woo, new home!) and daunting (hello #homeownership)…

One minute I feel excitement; the next I feel pressure to have everything together in our new space — designed, decorated and perfect. It starts with bouts of anxiety from the uncertainty of 2020 to wanting to have more accomplished before the end of it (like a perfect home). Why? Who’s putting this stressor on me? Is it perfectionism, knocking at my door again

Life As I Know it Embracing the Changes by Stephanie Hill on The Style Bungalow

Harvard lecturer Tal Ben-Shahar shared a positive outlook on stress that has since stuck with me: It’s important to “…differentiate between the good and the bad types of stress…[yet] both have the ability to be viewed as growth opportunities — as long as there’s time for recovery.” Think of working out at the gym, there are actual stressors being placed on your muscles. I’m no trainer, but you know that routine where you focus on your arms and back by lifting weights and then taking a day or two off before returning and adding more weight to work out that same muscle group? Throughout time you become stronger and healthier. The trouble lies in piling on more weight day after day — non-stop — where you possibly get injured and become weaker. The issue here is not the stress, “it’s the lack of recovery whether it’s in the gym…or life…” in general.

So when I experience anxiety, I know it’s time to “reframe my challenges into opportunities.” To accept stress for what it is, but not sit in that state…the difference is learning to punctuate my non-stop schedule with periods of recovery time. For me, it’s lighting a candle, taking a long bath or leaving my phone on silent while I organize my closet for thirty minutes. I suppose the key to recovery is to remain present and not distracted.

Throughout this transition (and “recovery time” – thanks Tal), I’ve found myself getting rid of lots of clothing (mostly donated or consigned) — splitting my wardrobe in half now that I’m a permanent Miami resident. I’ve held onto the majority of my easy, comfy pieces for Miami and like to think of it as a continuation of my recent toned down style. Think: oversized button-downs, roomy dresses I can jump into at home or wear around the neighborhood — underrated classics (fitting for all seasons), pieces that feel cozy and have a positive impact for me. 

Over the years I’ve talked extensively about how “dressing the part” helps change the way you think about yourself. Perhaps it’s a Chanel tweed blazer, earrings, or ballet flats that helps send the right message. I look back to all the times I’ve worn gowns, luxury swimwear and (some) impractical shoes. Comfortable clothing, to me, was never edgy enough — let alone wet hair, no makeup, flip flops and a face mask. Trust me, I know the latter doesn’t exactly “jive” with the message I’ve shared the past 6+ years, yet here I am tossing out formalities and being honest with myself. “It feels good to wear something comfy right now,” as I unpack boxes at midnight, rethink the many (I’m afraid to admit) impulse purchases, and lean into the unknown. Clothing not only influences how others see you, but how you perceive yourself. 

You all know perfectionism is something I struggle with (thanks ballet). Perhaps this is why I’ve perfected (no pun) the art of formal dressing, which feels hard to let go of some days especially now in the midst of chaos. However, during a season where we’re all longing for connection and as I seek a sense of familiarity in a new home, I find myself interpreting “style” differently. Sure, it’s equally important to wear something that feels “you” but right now I need something less perfect. In thinking about where I’m at right now (our new home, 2020 hurdles and the upcoming holidays — the busiest time of year for my blog), somehow wet hair and an imperfect tee helps switch on that “security button” and off “the need for perfection.” Allowing for that much needed “recovery time” in my life and mind. 

“Life As I Know It” right now is about embracing changes…countering inevitable stress with breaks for recovery. It’s living in our imperfect home and allowing myself to truly experience the feeling of starting new. It’s about leaning into the unknown but with more courage — just like I did when I first moved to South Florida at 19. I’m right where I belong, and trust this shift will spur new inspiration. I just need more time (and room) in my heart and home first…

 Xo, Stephanie

Blouse: old Sezane, similar styles herehere and here

ShortsReformation

SandalsTkees (wearing Cocoa Butter)

EarringsKenneth Jay Lane

 

 

Photography by Chelsae Anne

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