As I wind down my birthday on my forty-fifth trip around the sun, I spent time today reflecting over the past year and the lessons I’ve learned. There have been a lot of tests in the past year, some are ongoing while others near completion. For the lessons I have finished I hope I learned everything I was supposed to.
So what have I learned?
1. Practice gratitude. Always. Gratitude is a powerful emotion that can make your life better in so many ways. It helps us see our situation in a way that lessens panic and opens up our thinking. While I’ve had a gratitude practice for some time, I’ve not been as diligent as I’d like to be. But I am truly grateful for so much and try to extend that gratitude into my every day. Whenever I’m cranky, or just not feeling something, I try to look at what is going on in my life that I might be internalizing and create a paradigm shift using gratitude.
2. Journal more. I journal every day. It is a habit I have carried with me through the years that keeps me balanced and prevents me from rambling here. I have generalized anxiety disorder and the practice of sitting down with one of my beautiful fountain pens and journal is therapeutic. Writing down whatever is running through my head a million miles an hour onto paper means that I can step outside of my anxiety and look at what is bothering me objectively.
3. Turn off social media. The irony of that statement is that I work as a social media manager. When I finally listened to one of my mentors about not always being online and available, I became a better manager and strategist. I pulled my personal social media practice back heavily (90%) when I found myself reading the same page over and over in my book because I was trying to scroll through my phone and read at the same time! It was cold, hard sanity check.
4. Practice self-care every day. EVERY DAY. Some days the most self-care I can muster is getting in 8 glasses of water to meet what is my minimum. (I’m a 3 liters per day kind of gal.) Self-care doesn’t have to be massages, or mani-pedis every week — those things are nice — but if all you are able to muster is putting on clean clothes and it makes you feel good, that is self-care. Hug a kitten. Pet a pup. Jump in a pile of leaves. Go to the playground and swing on the swings. Do whatever it is that will make you connect with your inner-self and say “Hey! I recognize that person.”
5. Read more. I am roughly 10 books away from my Goodreads goal of 100 books. I’ve actually surpassed that number on the list because there are about 3 dozen books on my list that I’ve read at least twice this year. Most of the books I’ve read this year are of the romance/erotica genre and I can power through them in a few hours. They’re also my preferred reading when I’m flying, so if you’re sitting beside me on a plane it’s best not to read over my shoulder unless you dig the genre.
6. Stand up for yourself. It is uncomfortable at times, but we grow through our discomfort. This is one of the lessons I’m still learning but it is a powerful one.
7. Surround yourself with people who believe in you. Check. Treat them like the rockstars they are. Because they will always treat you like one. Tell them that they are your people because they might know how important they are to you.
Read more of my birthday editions here: