What a holiday season! It has been such a whirlwind with having my parents in town, living in a new place, starting a new job (which means not having ANY vacation time), hosting, cooking, cleaning, wrapping… It was certainly one for the books as 2019 was able to close on a very heartwarming note.
I have to say that I was not sad to see 2019 go. Many of you know it was a very dramatic year with a lot of health issues in my family and personally. But it was also a year that got me back into writing, got me on my healthy journey where I lost 35 pounds, gave me an opportunity to move to my dream town.
So here we are in 2020 or as I like to call it “the roaring 20’s 2.0”. Get it?? I crack myself up. And before we go ANY further, I want to wish you all a very happy new year.
So with entering a new year, I want to focus on a few very important goals – no, not resolutions, but goals. I want my vision to be clear this year and establish positivity. I want to use the law of attraction AND have a vision board to help me make this year unforgettable. That is exactly why I decided to draft my Top 5 Goals for 2020.
I wanted to make sure my goals were SMART – specific, measurable, attainable/achievable, relevant and time-based. These are all the beginnings of the next chapter in my life ‘FAMILY’. These are all within my control and realistic. These are all going to make me a better me.
So inquiring minds want to know… Have you made any New Year’s resolutions? Goals? What are you working on this year? Comment down below or follow me on Instagram!
Let me preface this by stating this is not a typical post for me. This has been on my mind lately and I really need to express it and to what better audience than my amazing blog family?
It’s November. Yes, I am stating the obvious but that means that next month, amidst all the festivities of the holidays, I will be celebrating my birthday. My 33rd birthday. And yes, I actually had to sit down and think about what age I will be turning on December 31st (and nope, it is not a good day for a birthday but that’s for another rant). I can’t believe I had to sit here and actually think okay 30 years ago was 1989 and then another…
So what am I getting at? I don’t feel my age at all. I don’t feel 32. I don’t have any children yet and I can honestly say that 90% of my friends within the same age group have at least 1 child already -and some have a child that is already in grade school! Honestly, I look in the mirror and I still feel like a child myself so how irresponsible would I be to have a child right now? And yes, I know there is never “the right time” to have a child but bear with me – I am barely keeping myself afloat, how do I bring another life into the world to care for?
Is something wrong with me?
I look in the mirror and I don’t see a 32 year old looking back at me. What does a 32 year old look like? I don’t quite know, exactly. Am I supposed to cut my hair into a bob? Am I supposed to be getting botox? Am I supposed to wear a foundation every day? Am I supposed to take fiber supplements? Am I supposed to rock mom jeans (and not because they are suddenly fashionable)? Am I supposed to drink white wine or spritzers? Am I supposed to have 1+ child and wear athleisure attire?
Is something wrong with me?
Yes, I know I am partially stereotyping, but when I look around me, turn on the TV, talk to my friends and family…all I see and hear about are pregnancies, aging, and all that goes along with it. Instead, I am finishing my doctorate degree and starting my second master; I am moving to my dream city; I am starting a new job at an organization that is amazing; I am booking trips; I am literally working on being my healthiest self…
Am I being selfish?
I don’t know what 33 has in store for me. Maybe I’ll be writing a post in 6 months sharing with you all that my husband and I are starting our family. Maybe I’ll be sharing with you that we are traveling. Maybe we’ll be buying a house. I don’t know. But I can’t help but have this nagging feeling that I am not living up to expectations for someone my age.
I am sorry that this is not my normal content, but this is all a part of the healthy journey. Sometimes we have days that aren’t as strong as others. Sometimes we have bad mental health days. Sometimes we have doubts and want to be introverted. Sometimes we are exuberant and ambitious. Sometimes we just need to express what is weighing on our soul – talk it out and maybe, just maybe, find out we aren’t alone.
So inquiring minds want to know… Have you ever felt this way? How do you deal with societal expectations?
Let’s take a second to think about our daily list of to-dos. For a good percentage of us, there is family, work, household (includes the cooking, cleaning, and upkeep), friends…and in some cases like mine, school. So what is the one thing we have forgotten? Ourselves.
It isn’t uncommon to put everything and everyone over ourselves thinking that when our cup runneth over with helping others, that is all we need. But that couldn’t be farther from the truth. Plus with technology consuming the majority of our lives from the television to our cell phones, it is so easy to lose track of time and end up in a downward spiral of YouTube videos or Amazon shopping. Dare I say that some of us even feel guilty, or are made to think that putting ourselves first is selfish.
There have been many times that I have ‘crashed’ or ‘burned out’ because of the fact that I have given over 100% of myself to everything else in my life. Eventually, my body, my spirit, my mind -they all shut down because you can only run on adrenaline for so long before you putter out -just like a car without a full tank of gasoline. And yet I repeatedly find myself starting the vicious cycle after I recuperate – seemingly never learning my lesson!
However, I am the first to admit that if I am not taking care of myself first, then everything else will topple over like a bad tower of Jenga blocks. So I have started to incorporate some self-care techniques to help myself be a better me – all at no cost which makes it an easier pill to swallow if you will. While these may not be appropriate for everyone, they have been working for me and those around me – I have even received feedback that people have noticed a change in me!
1 – Incorporate sleep. Simple enough, right? Well, do you know how many hours your body needs to feel optimal? I personally need between 8-9 hours of sleep -any less and I am a shell of myself; any more and I actually am sluggish. So I have my phone set with a reminder on when I need to be asleep by, give myself a 30-minute buffer to take care of my nighttime routine, and am in bed. This took a long time to get used to the routine, especially when I am submerged in a great Netflix movie, doing homework, or spending time with friends/family. But I know that without my proper sleep, I am not myself so I force myself to make sleep my number one self-care tactic.
2 – Exercise daily. Sounds insane, right? We are always complaining that there aren’t enough hours in the day but if you think about the fact that there are 1,440 minutes in a day, making 30 for exercise doesn’t seem so bad. Now I am not saying you have to go to the gym every day or become a triathlon athlete, but if we can make it a point to do some form of exercise every day, you are helping promote a better self. Exercise is proven to have long term benefits with reducing heart disease, reducing weight, and so much more. But think about reducing stress – 30 minutes of brisk walking to clear your head after a long day or 30 minutes of low impact yoga before your day starts to start off on the right foot… This will also help your body catch up to your mind and help establish proper sleep at the day’s end – just don’t start to exercise less than 2 hours before bed!
3 – Learn that saying “no” is healthy. So often we are told that “no” is essentially a bad word. We should always say “yes” and welcome the responsibilities. But think about the last time you said “no” to someone or something…did the world stop? Saying “no” sometimes can be self-empowering because you are taking control of your self, your actions, your choices. And this gives you the opportunity to reassess what you are saying “yes” to before making the promise for one…more…thing. Saying “no” could also help prevent burnout because you are not adding yet another event, assignment, or chore to your plate.
4- Schedule “me” time. Just like you schedule a meeting, schedule time dedicated to just you. So you can paint, knit, read, sew, meditate, or whatever you want during that time but it is your dedicated time. Start with just 15 minutes and adjust as necessary. This is the time that is exempt from anything else but you. I have personally made some time at the start of my day, waking up earlier so I can get my time to do whatever I need to – check my emails, respond to text messages, read, exercise, meditate or try to map out the winning lottery numbers (a girl can dream). I then dedicate 15 minutes at the end of the day to recap, plan, and reflect.
5- Use positive language. So what does that mean? Well, let me ask you a simple question – how do you describe yourself when something didn’t go as planned? Do you say: “I am so stupid”? Or how about when you need to describe yourself physically? Do you say: “I am overweight.” or “My hair is messy” or “I feel frumpy”? This is all negative language and it feeds into a cycle of unhealthy behavior. Changing the negative adjective for something more positive can lift you up and alter perception. So “I am so stupid” becomes “I am going to ask for help” or “I can try this again”. You can do this with others too – instead of saying “I’m sorry for being late” try saying “Thank you for waiting for me”; this cuts the negativity and acknowledges positive actions!
Sure there are plenty more steps that we can take to start to take better care of ourselves, but this is not a marathon -it’s a journey. So every step towards better self-care, improved mental health, improved physical health…that is what matters! And sometimes finding a frugal way to make those improvements are even better!
So inquiring minds want to know… What do you do for self-care? Do you have any other techniques to share? How do you make time for yourself?