Last year was quite definitive for me: my first gallery exhibition, got my speciality job, built up my closest relationships, and continued to journal through it. So as the year wrapped up there was a lot of clarity as to what I wanted 2019 to be. I want it to be a restful year, and to finish all I start (i.e. not start anything I cannot finish – amen!)
2) finish what you start
Looking back at last year, there were a few simple things I learnt to do which improved my life every day. The start of a year, birthday helps us put a line in the sand and take stock and reflect on the state of things. And usually at this time there is plenty on improving your health but honestly with the 2018 I had, I believe often the focus should be on the health of our minds and mitigating every day stressors and anxieties. These are the things I am aim to do more of in the year of out Lord 2019!
Buy (another) house plant
One that is easy to manage and luscious green. This does not seem like big deal but the few seconds I spent watering my plants served as a beak in the day to be still and mindful even just for a minute. I also noticed often as I watered the plant that I hadn’t had any water to drink that day or I hadn’t taken time to breathe, deeply. If something so small can cause a change it is worth thinking about getting.
Turn off all notifications
You do not have to delete social media apps or stay off them for months on end because for some of us that is unrealistic. But what we can do to change and control the way we interact with technology is to turn off notifications. A friend of mine did this for me and I am grateful. I realised I had this background anxiety of replying to messages coupled with the dopamine rush of affirming notifications that was honestly making me sick. Stop the red dots and control your usage. Reply to messages when you have time to, and take time. Tek time.
Spend time in silence
Towards the latter quarter of 2018 I experienced a lot of fatigue …I was exhausted. I was working, doing life and squeezing in sleep here and there. And the in between times like during my commute to work I would be listening to music or podcasts, my mind whirring away. And I thought I need to stop the record, just stop. My body was aching for a pause, a sincere emptying pause. So I paused, and began listening to me. Spend at least 10 minutes a day on silence, phone off, mind empty and breathe.
Journal whenever you can
On the notes app, in a book write how you’re feeling, why and what you enjoy. If you’re not sure what to journal in a day think about these things: 1. what have you learnt that’s new, 2. what have you done to make someone happy, 3. what has someone done for you to make you happy.
I started purposefully journaling a little over a year ago before then I used my journal as a diary I updated yearly (if that). I don’t journal everyday but when I do I take time. I journal dreams, subconscious feelings, prayers, bible verses that hit home, what is going on in my life and what it means to me and why. It is essentially self therapy – 10/10 would recommend.
Spend more time in and around nature. There is evidence on the benefits of this for stress reduction, improving your immunity etc. But also it feels really good to spend more time in nature, at a park, in the garden. Also it can be pretty simple like looking up at trees, the sky when walking, opening the window and listening to the birds in the morning. Its the little things.
Here’s to a great year ahead, in 2019 we are playing the long game. Here’s to consistency and health and more than two posts this year!
All illustrations are by me.