Originally, I planned to write a blog post on getting healthy in the physical sense. I’ve worked my butt off (literally) in the past 18 months and lost over 80 pounds. But as the deadline for submitting this blog entry got closer, I realized that taking care of my mental well-being is something I’ve neglected in pursuit of a healthier body. For me, the past 2 plus years have been a stressful, frustrating, and overwhelming time of self-discovery.

A couple of months ago, I started feeling defeated in my job because of the never-ending roadblocks the people we serve are facing in accessing benefits and resources. I wanted to provide immediate solutions for people experiencing homelessness and it wasn’t happening. I desperately needed gratification that the work I was doing was making a difference, and I wasn’t getting it. The burnout was real.

And then I discovered my new favorite hobby…power washing! With a single swipe of my high-pressured magic wand, I eliminated years of dirt and grime and brought life back into an aging fence. In just a few hours, I completely transformed the look of our backyard. This brought me renewed energy to plant a garden, pull weeds, and host a family cookout. It also gave me an opportunity to receive the instant gratification I’d been searching for in my work. I used this experience as an opportunity to balance my life and get back some of the perspective I’d lost in my work. I needed a chance to see some immediate results, and now I can more clearly appreciate the ripple effect my work at the SOAR Technical Assistance Center has on the lives we touch.