Most of my April has been spent not writing. Doing anything but writing. Actively avoiding writing. Hence the silence here. I’m not avoiding the blog, per se, I just got busy.Read More »
Resolutions: Not just for January anymore
It’s almost February, so how are you doing with your resolution? Have you lost all 50 pounds, gone to the gym every day, and read those 30 books on your list? Ok. I’m being a jerk for a reason: I really don’t like resolutions.
Goals are great! I actually bought a new paper-based daily/weekly planner for that reason (more on the Passion Planner later). I love setting and achieving goals, but more importantly, they give me something to work toward. Without them, I feel like I am drifting.
How do you know where you’re going without some sort of roadmap? It doesn’t matter if you ever really get to the destination, but you’ve got to start somewhere.
So it’s almost February. Why not take stock of how you’ve come in the last month? Instead of totally scrapping the resolution/goal/roadmap, why not try to take a different turn at it? Instead of going to the gym every day, maybe you can make it to the gym twice a week? Instead of writing 1000 words a day, try writing for 15 minutes. Perhaps you can eat vegetarian dinners instead of trying to go all day without meat? And as always, celebrate your successes. Going to the gym 3 times in January is a great start! It’s three times more than I made it to a gym, certainly!
What resolutions or goals have you made, and are you planning on revising them?
Self-Serving for the Sake of Sanity
The joys of home ownership include gutters and neighbors and broken lawnmowers and reorganizing cupboards and quiet times alone. Life is beginning to settle down around our place, but that means that real life is also creeping back in. The real world always comes knocking eventually, right?
Because there is a real world out there that includes work and friends and stress, I have struggled to return to a routine. I know I write about this a lot, but I believe that a self-serving routine is one of the most important pieces of happiness.
Please don’t misunderstand my meaning of the term “self-serving.” I don’t mean selfish. I don’t mean ignoring family or work responsibilities for fun activities. This sort of self-serving is not healthy and doesn’t generally lead to real contentment.
By self-serving, I mean ensuring that your oxygen mask is in place before you help others. This can take the form of taking reflective moments for yourself before you try to deal with other people when they want to load their problems on you. Feeding your need for physical movement, or for flexing your creative muscle. These impulses, if ignored for too long, can result in mental fatigue.
The symptoms of mental fatigue I recognize in myself when I go too long without serving myself are a shorter fuse, an increased irritability, and a decreased ability to combat irrational thoughts. When I see myself acting in these ways, I like the person I present to the world a little less, and my overall contentment decreases.
So, to keep myself happy, and in turn present a better self to the world (it sounds trite, but appearances matter, right?), I do what I can to get 8 hours of sleep a night. I know, it’s a lot and God knows what will happen if I end up having children, but I have compulsively cried many fewer times when I sleep well. In addition, I try to journal or write every day. This feeds my creative needs. I got a fitbit a while ago, and it makes me more aware of my overall movement.
Most of all, I am trying to forgive myself when I can’t make all of the things happen. It’s important to try to stay on top of responsibilities, but it’s also good for one’s mental health to practice routine forgiveness. This is the most self-serving practice of all, and the most important. Sometimes it’s the most difficult to learn, too.
What are your self-serving activities? Share in the comments! I’d love to try some new ones!
The Constant Questions & My New(ish) Answer
There are so many times during the day that I take stock of things. I often ask myself, “am I happy with this? Does this make me feel good? How did that go? Why did I say that?” Perhaps this is part of my anxious nature, and maybe some of it is just a human need to test the balance of the world around me and myself in it.
What I like to remind myself to stay conscious of is my internal monologue as I answer those questions. Not just, “Why did I say that?” but also, “it’s ok that you did.”
This is part of my learning to love myself a little bit more each day. A new acceptance of self that has been troublesome in the past. I championed the individuals around me, while I beat myself down for the smallest inconsistencies. My new mantra is, “It’s ok.”
So, I’m short with the guy behind the counter: it’s ok.
I don’t get up in time to meditate this morning: it’s ok.
I let myself eat cheese or meat or have one too many beers: it’s ok.
Because, after all, life is short. Worrying about whether I came off as mean to that guy behind the counter isn’t worth my time. I want to be a good person, by my level of goodness doesn’t entirely depend on my tone of voice with the guy behind the counter at the store. I want to be a person of good habits, but sometimes my sleep and a longer morning cuddle session is more important for my mental state than a morning meditation. C’est la vie! And sticking to a diet, OMG. Get over that one quick. If I had a nickel…
It’s ok, it’s ok, it’s ok. Don’t try harder later, just accept that today is good. It’s not revolutionary advice. Lots of other people have said it. But ya know what? It’s ok.