I’m honestly still in awe that the year is coming to a close. I’ve never really been a big fan of this whole “New Year, New Me” mantra because let’s get real – we can all adopt new habits + set goals ANY day of the year. This concept of a “new” me is also unjustifiable; I strongly believe our past is a huge component of who we are. To simply act as if those shed layers don’t matter would almost be insulting to the result of your own organic growth.
Now, with the end of the year comes TONS of clutter. At least for me. My stress levels are over the top right now, and mental clarity is something I have to work on 20 times harder compared to any other season. It’s like, after Thanksgiving comes Black Friday + Cyber Monday madness, application deadlines, Christmas, New Year, birthday, AAAHHH. While I live for the rush sometimes, it can get a little too much.
I’m writing this in hopes of perhaps, coming to terms with myself and helping you find your clarity. Lately, it has been so hard for me to have a clear mind. If I’m not thinking about one thing, then I’m definitely thinking about something else. I’ve been rather pensive lately evaluating my life, my future goals, what I’m currently doing to get there, etc. And when I start to overthink, I get super sick. Body aches, runny nose, aggressive coughs, you name it – I probably had it.
Some of the things I’ve been so overworked about include but not limited to: the decision to apply to grad school, coming up with ways to save money, figuring out wish lists for everybody, how to balance out my bills, my desire to go on vacation, the list goes on and on and on… Even though this list can be overwhelming sometimes, I try to incorporate different things in my routine to make room for balance.
Run, Lift, and Yoga
Some of you may know that I am NOT a cardio bunny. I’m a “weights” type of girl. Needless to say, I do try to run whenever I can. Running has helped me out during the past month. I started looking up scenic reviews to make these runs more enjoyable since running to me is… not fun. Running along the beach though is something I can do and I love it.
I also didn’t begin doing yoga until just this year. I attended a Yoga Expo in Downtown Los Angeles back in January and was exposed to different levels + types of yoga all in one day. I realized how exhausting it was at the end of the day. Just recently, I also tried out hot yoga. It was therapeutic for me as I was busy stressing out for the GRE at the time. The heat and sweat created a rather interesting combo. I also recommend doing some rooftop workouts! There is also something about elevation that makes the air 10x more breathable and much more appealing.
Honestly, traveling has always been therapeutic for me. During my recent trip to Seattle, I was out and about on the Light Rail exploring all that Seattle had to offer. Just walking around Downtown Seattle for me was an experience in itself. Yes, I was aware I was walking around solo in an unfamiliar setting, but that’s where the thrill pretty much comes in. Not only was I able to do things at my own time and pace, I also learned a lot about myself throughout the process. Trust me, getaways help. Taking a break from anything familiar breaks this mundane mold in your head, paving the way for a mental restart.
Bake + Cook
Holidays excite me, especially in the food department. I have a real knack for endlessly pinning holiday must-try recipes (- to actually do them is a whole different story LOL!). There is something about this season that makes everything in the kitchen much more colorful and blissful. I’m not much of a cook, to be honest, but I sure do love baking goods! I usually go on Pinterest to explore easy recipes because let’s face it, I’m lazy and trying out new recipes is fun. And of course with new recipes mean holiday entertainment! I use Spotify to create my own holiday playlists (featuring classics from Mariah Carey), but you can also search Christmas playlists on there to listen to what others have already curated. “Christmas Pop” is also a favorite on there. Having those playlists in the background while you wrap presents or plan your holiday festivities provides a serene mood for the holidays!
Uni-tasking > Multi-tasking
I know I know, it’s such a challenge for us to focus on one thing at a time. Honestly, just learning to be a uni-tasker helps to reduce holiday stress as it gives your mind the OK to simply adopt a task and do just that. Again, I’m a big fan of mental recharge, so it’s fine to give your mind permission to fully embed yourself in that ONE thing – clutter-free. This holiday season is a time where I maximize use of my planner. I usually look at my calendar as a whole, so I know what events are coming up, but during the holidays, I try to look at it day by day. Seeing ALL that I have yet to do is overwhelming and hinders me from enjoying my day to its full potential. I highly recommend everyone to follow suit, and appreciate each day and each task as it comes.
Read, Write, and Color
I know reading is a winter luxury in itself considering the lack of free time during the season. If you don’t have much time to spare, try reading a chapter a day, check out poems, read a few lines, google new blogs to read, etc. Writing has also helped me out a lot as you can already tell. Even amidst the clutter, I’m constantly curating new content in my head. It makes me feel sane when I begin typing away as it truly reorganizes my brains into various mental compartments. And as for coloring, I kid you not, I colored once by the beach, and it became one of my FAVORITE things to do. You don’t necessarily have to color by the beach (although I try to find every reason just to go!), but coloring books are definitely a staple all adults should have in their library. Playtime is essential; why do you think kids are so happy all the time? 😉
Listen to podcasts
I share some of my favorite podcasts HERE, but lately I have MORE favorites. One of my favorite bloggers, Jordan Younger from The Balanced Blonde, just started her podcast called “Soul on Fire.” I enjoy listening to her episodes because they include everything in health + wellness. From skincare, understanding hormones, breaking vegan to a more holistic approach – just to name a few, the diversity of topics keeps you engaged and even more motivated to be in tune with your mind and body. Another new favorite of mine is DTR. It’s a new branded podcast from my all-time favorite Tinder (LOL). It discusses how technology has affected the dating game. Each episode explores the ups and downs, the hilarious and the awkward. I highly recommend especially if you’re an online dating type of person because well – all of these topics are relatable.
This is clearly a given, but I think most of the holiday stress root from what we think others expect of us. Prioritize the people in your life; it’s okay NOT to send out holiday cards to every single person you’ve ever crossed paths with. Focus on the ones you stay in touch with in order to avoid unemotional generic cards. Generic only creates mental clutter since you tend to lose focus on what’s truly important during the holidays. Don’t worry too much about people’s wishlists. And if you’re hosting a party, make it a potluck, so not all the weight is on you alone. Do things from the heart, get into some DIY for inspiration, and send out heartfelt love this season. People who are meant to stay in your life will appreciate you nonetheless, so don’t stress out over the little things. After all, ’tis the season to be jolly, giving, and grateful.
Enjoy the holiday season, love yourself, and welcome the new year ahead with open arms and an open mind! xo