Happy New Year, my friends! I hope you’re healthy, safe, and that 2021 brings you all that you hope it will.
We have a radio/cd player in our dining room, second-handed from my parents, who weren’t using it any longer. When we got it this past summer, I played Graceland like it was just released, and for all of December I had the radio tuned to Magic 106.7, where it’s all Christmas music all the time. Whenever something’s playing, it feels like whatever I’m doing has an added layer of richness and meaning. It’s like our house is sunnier and more alive. I want more of that.
I’m really great at catastrophizing. For anyone who’s healthy and well-adjusted and doesn’t know catastrophizing—it’s the ability to take one feeling or situation and blow it up into a catastrophe. Maybe you wake up feeling a little anxious one morning and rather than just accepting that, hey, I feel off today, you analyze the feeling to death. You ask yourself, but what does it MEAN that I’m anxious?? You think of all the things that make you anxious and the more you search, the more you find. By the end of the day, you’ve convinced yourself that you aren’t just having an anxious day, you ARE an anxious person who will probably always feel this way. And that’s a feature of catastrophizing—lots of “always” (I’ll always feel this way) or “never” (I’ll never be able to) thinking. For me, I can have an inkling of a feeling—like a wave of exhaustion will hit—and I’ll begin to spiral, wondering how I’ll ever accomplish anything ever again considering I’ll always be this tired. It’s not at all helpful or useful. Nothing lasts forever—not the bad or the good—and I need to remember that. If I’m tired today maybe I’ll get good rest tonight and tomorrow will feel easier than today did. If I’m unmotivated and procrastinating today, who knows how I’ll feel tomorrow? Maybe tomorrow I’ll be able to focus and commit to action.
Maybe this is just what it is to be a mom of little kids or an adult with a desire to live in a clean home, but I feel like I’m always cleaning. Every time I clean the mirror in the bathroom I say to myself, didn’t I just do this?! Or I’ll find a pile of god-knows-what kind of crumbs on the floor and I’ll ask, didn’t I just vacuum this morning?! (I did) So maybe a flexible cleaning schedule would help. Some kind of calendar system to mark what I’ll clean and when. There are daily things, like wiping down the kitchen counters and vacuuming, weekly things like cleaning the bathrooms and washing the floors, and monthly things like scrubbing our glass shower doors.
It was a younger version of me that only connected how I ate and how I looked. As I’ve gotten older, I’ve found that it’s gotten easier and easier to navigate eating by staying conscious of how I feel. I’ve collected enough data to know that sweets leave me tired and wanting, that burritos right before bed cause me night sweats, and that going for that third (or fourth) slice will have me waking in the night with heartburn. Tuning in to how I feel when I eat this way or that way makes me more aware of how I want to feel (which is clear-minded, able to focus, and energetic). Here’s hoping for more of that in 2021.
These are just some simple ideas that I think will help make day-to-day life a little brighter and easier. What are you planning on focusing on in 2021?