Happy New Year! We made it through another 365 days around the sun...and we all know what that means! New Year's Resolutions.
Don't get me wrong, I am in complete support of anyone and everyone that is attempting to commit to making positive changes in their life; after all, any change, even the wrong change, is progress.
Can we take a moment for an honest confession? I have a difficult time sticking to New Year's Resolutions beyond January. It's hard. Life comes up and things happen. And then I spiral into a world of swirling frustration and disappointment followed by self loathing. Does this sound familiar to you? Because this is the story of my Yearly New Resolutions.
I'm encouraging everyone to re-evaluate their approach to resolutions. The dictionary literally defines "resolution" as "a firm decision to do, or not do something".
A firm decision. On the first day of the year. With no knowledge of how the year will go (2020 sure threw a few wrenches in resolutions). We are literally asking ourselves to make a personal contract that shapes our behavior for the next 365 days...with the expectation that we will have the ability to adhere to the decision regardless of bumps along the road.
How do those resolutions sound now? Overwhelming? Silly? Demoralizing?
Well, what if we didn't choose resolutions. What if instead we focused on re-alignment. We focus on "the change or restoration of a different state". A bit more vague, but I think the open ended leniency offers us the opportunity to grow while leaving room for mistakes, hiccups, and flying wrenches.
This year I want to challenge you to offer yourself chances or ideas to realign yourself and your goals. Let's find ways to shape our expectations and create positive lifestyle changes rather than set larger goals; especially, as goals implies an achievable end result--well what do we do once we reach our result? Set more? Does this cycle ever end? That's why I'm encouraging you to focus on positive lifestyle changes that last well, a lifetime.
One of my lifestyle re-alignments is to find ways to unwind and re-center after a long day of work or social outing. As an HSP it is so vital to make time to re-charge after using up so much sensory processing, otherwise we're left feeling drained and unmotivated.
However, this statement may apply to you as a non HSP. After all, we are all human.
How do you unwind? Reading? Screen time? Cup of tea? Naps?
Most people answer something involving screen time, according to The Atlantic over 55% of "leisure activity time" (including sleeping) is spent watching TV. More so, a whopping 88% of TV watchers have a second screen (like a phone) out while they are "unwinding".
But do screens actually help us unwind and re-charge? Absolutely not (well maybe a good Hallmark cry does). We could talk about the blue light affecting our eyes and our ability to sleep or we could focus on the concept that our brains are always processing input--and overwhelming it with sounds and visuals on screens is the opposite of alleviating it. Not to mention, if the content isn't engaging our minds are likely to drift off and still not focus or unwind. I don't know about you, but it sounds awfully hard to re-charge a tired brain by flooding it with more sensory input.
That's why I am recommending adding in quieter activities to supplement, phase out, or replace (whatever works best for you) heavy screen time. Maybe its knitting or cooking, perhaps reading or walking through the woods. Regardless of your tactic, remember any choice is better than no choice (let's re-iterate our opening message about resolutions and re-aligning ourselves in a positive direction).
Recently, I have found tranquility and energy through activities like watercolor painting or journaling. These outlets allow any pent up creativity to flow, but not add any extra stimuli to my quiet time.