Instead of new years resolutions, I like to take a life audit in the springtime.
Nature supports growth and change right now.
At New Years' it always feels forced to me- it's still cold out and I am not ready to turn outward and transform yet. I need more time in my cocoon, thank you very much.
And so, with the warmer weather and budding trees as the wind beneath my wings, I’ve been doing some reevaluating lately. This last winter felt long and dark. We all had pandemic fatigue, and then the added surprise of more global unrest. It felt like a little much.
My first inclination was to hide, not do anything, and not think about hard things. So I did that for a while, and it didn’t really help.
The next thing I tried was to make myself do the things I thought that I should, put one foot in front of the other, and keep going. That helped a little bit actually but did make me kind of tired.
The next thing I did was did a full stop. I didn't do anything at all for a couple of days. I thought about what I really wanted. Now, some of the things I want aren’t really possible, or are not under my purview, like power over the outcome of other people's lives. I set those aside. The things that were possible, I looked good and hard at.
How did I want my schedule to be?
What is important self-care that is worth the time for me?
What do I need to do in my work in order to feel satisfied, and make enough money that I can pay for the dog food?
I’m still in the middle of looking at this. But there were a few things that I have discovered right away.
One is that I want to spend less time staring at screens. I have spent too much of the last couple of years looking for updates about how everyone was because I felt isolated at home. And that was helpful at some point, but now it just feels like a bad habit that kind of makes me feel stale.
This is a little bit tricky because a majority of my work is online. So I’m learning about things like batching content creation and having office hours.
I don’t even really have to tell anybody my office hours, but I need to make them for myself.
I’m also deleting some social apps from my phone and iPad, and not checking in with that world all the time. I really like social media because it allows me to connect to people that are far away in a way that I couldn’t really otherwise. But what I don’t like about social media is I will go there for a certain reason, say to check on someone or communicate with someone, and then 15 minutes later I’ll find myself mindlessly scrolling or reading an advertisement for the perfect pillow that I don’t even need, and I will have completely forgotten what I came to do there in the first place.
I’m just feeling really done with that mindless time sink.
I’m so glad that it’s springtime, that the weather is warming up and it’s easier to spend more time outside. This has been really helpful. I want to spend more time moving around literally. Garden puttering, bike riding, walking, lifting weights, doing yoga, or messing around with the dog. All of those things feel really good.
The other thing I’ve noticed is that I love sleep.
I used to do this thing where I would be going along my day, and then I would start to get tired. I would think to myself, "Oh I can get just this and that and the other done before I go to bed," and would keep doing things and get really really tired. That was not the best choice for me.
Now, when I start to get tired I think, "OK is there anything else I absolutely have to do?" If there is, I do it and then I start brushing my teeth and getting my bedtime vitamins and putting on my nightgown, and going to bed. I might read a little bit of fiction or something before I fall asleep but for not more than 30 minutes and I don’t try to make myself do anything else that uses my brain or my body. I just let it power down.
I found out that it takes a full hour from the time I think "Oh yeah I’d like to go to bed," to actually being in bed and then maybe even 20 more minutes before the lights out. It’s not like my bedtime is 10, oh look it’s 10 now I’m going to get in bed and fall asleep immediately. That’s not how I seem to work.
I’ve learned to ride that first wave of tiredness all the way to sleep. I no longer try to push it back or deny it. If it arrives at 7 PM, fine. 9? Fine too. I am respecting my bodily need for sleep, and trusting my body to let me know when it's ready. And guess what? In the mornings I feel great. I’m waking up without an alarm earlier than I used to, and I’m excited to get up and see what I get to do that day.
I feel happier when I sleep more, look at screens less, and move more. I feel happier when I mess around with plants and animals, check-in with the people I love, and eat really delicious food that is good for me. I feel happier when I don’t dwell on things I can’t change and don’t worry about what other people think about my choices. I feel happier when I let my animal body just be an animal body and need what it needs, and let that be OK and good. And then give my animal body what it needs honestly just like I would a beloved pet.
And so, because I like to ask a question at the end of these posts, what does your animal body love?
What does your animal body need?
What makes you happy? And I mean the simple things.
And of those simple things, are there any that you can add?
Are there other things that you need to take away so you have time for the things that matter to you?
Do you want to join me in a little springtime cleaning for the soul?