We are winding down an absolutely insane year and it has been a lot! Mentally and physically I know many people are exhausted and confused and there is still no end in sight. The harsh reality is that 2021 does not promise to be necessarily better or more normal at this point. The good news there is that we don’t need to wait until the new year to regain focus and purpose.
Dreading the holidays is a sure sign that we need to refocus or get a bit more grounded and now that we are into November, I think it’s time we take our current experience into our own hands. If we take the time now to refocus and re-energize we can hit the ground running come the new year.
We are coming into a typically very busy time of year but with all of the current protocol it could actually be a very slow season. During the holidays, especially this year, I think you should do what’s best for your mental health. Maybe that’s socializing at every safe opportunity you get. Maybe it’s watching every Christmas movie on Netflix. Personally I am looking forward to plenty of cozy nights with red wine and a candle burning, but my day-to-day is still go, go, go and I like keeping a routine always. In this blog I am going to go through some of the small changes I am making to keep my mind clear and my spirits high!
Eliminate Email Overwhelm
One thing that has been getting to me lately is constant emails. Seriously how did I get subscribed to all these random retailers?! I am one of those people that can’t stand when there are number notifications on my phone, so all the emails can get a bit distracting. Did you know the average person spends multiple hours a day checking and filtering through emails? Now don’t get me wrong, email lists are a fantastic way to reach out to your audience and get your content in front of them but as a consumer I have realized that I need to do some serious Marie Kondo on the old inbox. So I am unsubscribing from any and all unnecessary emails because they take up unnecessary time in my life.
I started by immediately unsubscribing as emails came in. I think I have 100 less emails a week from unsubscribing to Victoria Secret alone. Unroll.me is an amazing tool which sorts through your inbox, identifies all the subscriptions it can find, and let’s you unsubscribe with one click! Now, I’m no tech wizard but I heard that when you unsubscribe sometimes your information can still be shared with other parties so you may receive even more emails. If you see an option make sure you choose, “don’t share my info and unsubscribe from all emails”.
Second, peek into the junk inbox. Luckily our email service providers do their best to not let any real junk get through the cracks and into the main inbox but I’m sure you’ve lost some very important emails to Spam by accident! If you do notice there are important emails going to your junk constantly then make sure to add the email as a contact in your phone and they should be re-prioritized and be sent to your primary inbox!
My third tip regarding inbox overwhelm is to try and spend scheduled specific amounts of time in your inbox, for example, 9am-10am and 3pm-3:30pm. Depending on your line of work this might look different but dedicated time is more effective than jumping in and out all day. Maybe in 2021 I’ll go so far as to turn off my inbox notifications.
Keep Your Friends Close and Your Self Care Closer
Hone in on your circle during this time and make sure you are all taking care of one another even if it is from a distance. The holidays are always a reminder to focus on what really matters to us. With our circles kept small I am focusing on building strong relationships with the ones who mean the most to C and I. This means trying a little harder to check in with family and prioritizing the relationships that are growing with us and focusing less on the ones that don’t. Going through this year and learning to navigate relationships that don’t fully serve me has been eye opening as to how I have grown as a person. I have seen it prove very impactful to decide what type of energy I want in my life and if they don’t align, they need to go. I have decided when I can mentally handle certain energy and when I can not. I have many friends and family I care about that I don’t see eye to eye with on almost everything, that does not mean I have to care about them less. I have learned to control how their opinions affect me and what impact they make on my mental health. This takes a lot of practice and it can be full of tough decisions but I promise you your mental health and heart are worth it. If this is bringing a few specific people to mind for you then it is likely time to have some not so appealing conversations, or slowly back away and cut out the negativity in your life. Assess your circles!
Practice Saying No, And Remember Those Who Love You Won’t Mind
As humans we are wired to please others and are often taught it is selfish if we do anything for ourselves. This belief is especially perpetuated to women. In my opinion mental health and life goals come before pleasing others. When you are asked to do something, take time to evaluate your schedule, then give an answer. I first learned how to say no while going through med school, I was very focused and prioritized my schooling and had to say “no” a lot. It wasn’t always fun, especially passing up fun social events in the moment. Of course I had some FOMO but it was worth it in the end.
A great quote I saw this year is, “Say no first, then convince yourself why it’s a YES”. If your instinctual reaction is just to say yes to plans, favors, etc. and then you find yourself resentful of the commitment, it probably should have been a “no”. Additionally if you’re the person who says “yes” to a plan you already know you’re going to bail on then you need to get your boundaries in order and start saying, “no” or “I’m going to pass this time” right out of the gate! By saying “yes” to something we don’t want to commit to we are just adding to our own overwhelm and anxiety.
I try and live by my rule of prioritization. When you are honestly prioritizing your own schedule and are able to get everything you need to do done to make you feel whole, complete, and fulfilled, then you know if you can help others or take on more. I have found it helpful to make a list of my own stuff and then see IF I can make time for something of someone else’s. Don’t barder your time at other’s convenience. It’s okay to graciously say “No”!
Make Time For You
All in all you will always be your number one priority. Yes this is tough to make true but we are the only ones that look out for ourselves. Bottom line, to keep your overwhelm levels in check your life has to be about you! I want you to make a list of 10 things that make you the happiest; it can be anything. Then make sure you do one of those things daily, it will brighten your mood and you will know you are doing something just for you. It is said that you should have 3 hobbies in life; one that makes you money, one that lets you be creative, and one that keeps you fit. What can you do during the holidays that lights you up and what can you do that keeps you moving? Chris made a Pumpkin pie over the weekend and by him choosing to do this just for fun it brought (us both) a lot of joy! I love getting dressed up and finding cute new fashion trends that suit my taste and lifestyle. I also find a lot of fun in spending my time with my Frechies and C or friends and family. Just because I am saying make time for you and do what makes you happy doesn’t mean you need to do it all alone.
Ending 2020 Strong and Happy
This year will not make or break the rest of our lives, we just have to continue to adapt to the curve balls and celebrate all the wins – big or small. Let’s prioritize ourselves and the things that mean the most to us over the next 6 weeks. I will be focused on using the tools I know work best for me and will be taking it one step at a time through the holidays to make sure I stay where I need to be mentally and physically.
Strategically plan all your “can’t miss” traditions now and then make time for all the wonderful holiday activities. Take it one day at a time but allow the most time for things that are important to you. Take time to slow down and appreciate everything we have currently and are still able to do. The world is changing more and more each day, make sure you are adjusting to the changes with your best interests in mind.
We are never able to pour from empty glasses, fuel yourself up and spread the joy to all those you care about and maybe a few strangers. Random acts of kindness are an easy way to warm your heart and can completely change someone else’s day! My favorite one used to be paying for the order behind me at the drive through, though lately I haven’t gone through many drive throughs. Always be gracious to others, you never know what they are going through in these times.
I would love to hear how you are feeling in anticipation of the holidays. Do you feel like it will be the ‘most wonderful time of the year’ or more stressful than normal? Let me know how I can support you!