I think it's safe to say that 2017 was a year that rocked most of our worlds. Our media feeds were constantly shoving news of awful events, natural disasters, and discontent into our faces. Good changes happened, bad changes happened, and all of it put us on one wild rollercoaster. To be honest, I've never really enjoyed rollercoasters.
On top of everything going on in the world, 2017 sent me a lot of challenges in my personal life, too. Our winter lasted weeks longer than normal and our summer was covered in a thick blanket of smoke, severely limiting the time we were able to spend recreating outside, especially with a new baby! Trever and I were heavy with hard decision making. I was learning how to be mom of two, trying to balance mom life with business owner life, and saw the insides of hospitals and doctor's offices more in one year than I ever had in my life with a myriad of health issues.
All of the stress continued to pile up high, and my plate just seemed to keep shrinking. "Overwhelmed" and "exhausted" quickly became normal life. I was in survival mode. As long as the days seemed, the year disappeared so quickly, and all the sudden it was almost December and I couldn't remember much about the year other than the stress that I had dealt with. It hit me like a brick wall and in my heap of tears as I thought about how much I missed out on with my growing babies, family and friends because I was in such a fog trying to balance too much while running on fumes.
Something had to change, and it could only start with me. I stripped it all down and dug deep and decided that there were three things that I severely neglected in 2017, and were ultimately the root of the all the discontent I was feeling:
First, I needed to make myself a priority.
My health, my body, and my mind. Eating cleaner. Exercise. Reading. Meditation. A massage. Anything that makes me feel good and alive. When I'm well, my kids have a mom who's patient and tuned-in. My husband has a wife who's cheerful, attentive, and flexible. My clients have a photographer who's energetic, excited, and on top of her game.
Second, I needed to manage my time better.
I have always played tug-of-war between loving routine and a schedule, and loving spontaneity in free time. This last year my "routine" was really just bad habits that I let take control of me every day, which left me having to use my little spare time on the stuff I should have been doing earlier in the day. It was a vicious cycle that eventually left me with no time for the fun stuff. I also didn't say NO when I needed to, and obligations stole precious time reserved for my family and myself.
Thirdly, and perhaps most importantly, I put way too much pressure on myself.
I stretched myself too thin trying to manage far too many things, by myself, with the idea that I could do it perfectly. When I didn't do it as well as I wanted it de-railed my day and I beat myself up over it. I didn't allow myself any grace, and that alone poisoned my mood far more than any stressful event or situation could.
2018: SELF-CARE, ROUTINE and GRACE.
I'm ready for a fresh start. Scheduled "ME" time. A morning routine. Ruthless decluttering in all aspects of life. Reading. Writing. Saying no to things that will overwhelm. Saying yes to rest. Technology and social media breaks. Eating cleaner. Better exercise. Getting outside. I've already seen a significant positive difference in myself since I started implementing these words into my daily thoughts back in December, and it feels so good!!
Those three words wake me up in the morning with my alarm. They are written where I see them often through my day. They remind me that it's okay to say yes to me-time and that my health is important, that it's just as important to block out free time as it is to block out work time, and that if something comes up and I can't do it all that day - it's okay.
It hasn't and won't all happen overnight. Creating good habits and routine take time and grace, but I'm stepping up to the challenge, ready for a proactive year full of joy and love and smiles! Here's to a fresh start in the new year!