January-ing

One of my goals this year is to write more posts. Like many bloggers, I do it for love, not money. It’s a creative outlet. It’s fun and makes me feel connected to others. In many ways it’s like journaling. It helps me see what I’ve accomplished and what I hope to in the future. It helps me to see what’s important and what isn’t and to let go of that.

It’s a funny thing. Such a private, introspective thing that is completely public. Some times I realize I’m shouting into the void, other times I remember that a few people are actually reading it, some people I actually know as well as a bunch of complete strangers. I wonder if I’m being too personal or not personal enough. I ask myself if I’m being too influenced by the blogs I read, not being original or true to myself. I’m probably I’m not alone in this.

So, when I wonder what I should write about I think I want it to be relatable and helpful. The kind of things I talk to my friends about. These days it seems like we’re all talking about surviving. It may look like we’re living the dream on Instagram, but the truth is we’re hanging on by a thread. The biggest challenge seems to be mental stamina. What with it being January in the northeastern part of the US, snow days, flu season, aging parents, unrealized dreams of greatness, the news, holiday weight gain, and all the rest, it’s a lot. And through it all, I am often reminded that many things are luxury problems. The challenge is to not get overwhelmed. Here are some of the ways I cope:

  1. Just do the next thing — When I can’t motivate, I just take the next action. It’s best if I do less thinking. I make lists and prioritize those things—does it have to get done today?
  2. Try to do some form of exercise most days — I’ll do walking, jogging (often on the treadmill), indoor cycling, yoga, or online workouts.
  3. Call women — I learned a long time ago to surround myself with a supportive group of women and it’s not unusual for us to call each other when we’re falling apart or to share good news (or a photo of something we want to buy but really don’t need). When I go too long between calls, or actual face-to-face time, it gets harder and harder to reach out and then I’m in real trouble.
  4. Read inspirational books — Right now I’m really enjoying The Year of Living Danishly by Helen Russell. I know “Hygge” is super trendy these days but all about making the most of winter right now. I’m also reading Peace is Every Step by Thich Nhat Hanh as a sort of daily meditation which is amazing.
  5. Get out of the house — It’s a bad day when I don’t leave the house once. I work from home so I try to go somewhere else to workout, meet with a client or go have lunch with a friend. Otherwise I’ll have to think up a reason to go out like to get this rug from Target or all the way across town to take a roll of film to be developed only to learn that they mail it out.
  6. Do work — Being useful always helps. I am so grateful for all our clients and I love what I do. Being self-employed requires a good amount of self-motivation and it can be hard to get started. My business partner/handsome husband and I started having weekly staff meetings. It’s a good way to get organized and stay motivated—and positive. I wouldn’t describe these meetings as professional… but they do help the morale.
  7. Guilty pleasures — Because I’m a stay at home mom and work from home, I have a weird schedule. I often feel guilty that I can workout before work or take off during the work day. But there are things I have to do to maintain my creativity and my sanity. My to-do list includes things like: go to art museum, play the violin, take a nap, put outfits together, buy flowers, take down wallpaper, meditate, paint a painting, make granola, get eyebrows waxed. It may seem trivial or a waste of time to some, but I find it really helps my mental state.

So, I hope you are making it through this time of year and are being good to yourself. How do you stay positive through the winter?

 

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