I don’t make resolutions as I struggle to keep them and end up starting my new year on the back foot. It’s not that I can’t commit to things or rise to a challenge it’s that I’m really not into the whole ‘new year new me’ stuff.
I’m not ready for a complete change just because it’s January. I just want to keep eating like it’s winter – because newsflash – it is! However much you try to dress it up it’s just the ‘same shit, different day’.
I do however like a retrospective or as they seem fond of saying in the games industry – a post mortem. For me the whole of January is a look-back to the previous year and my year starts in February. That’s when I really know which of the many ideas I want to take up. I spend January mulling things over and when Feb rolls round I am ready to get stuck in.
So here are my 6 self care routines to help you survive the beast that is 2020.
Be selective about where you get your news!
After the last three years of political upheaval I am being very selective with my news sources. There has been so much change that it’s fair to say that even your trusty old sites have been tainted with smears.
I guess I’m suggesting we all be mindful of the biased nature of each news service and how agenda driven they are. Then remember how brazen things have become and don’t take everything you see / hear at face value. We’ve definitely gone backwards as far as showing respect is concerned.
Try having a conversation about homelessness and you’ll see what I mean. Food banks are being normalised – while they are amazing, we shouldn’t need them and it’s ok to want change that makes them unnecessary. Accepting them as normal is like accepting a Dickensian or Distopian future as inevitable.
I’m trying not to bury my head as it’s important not to lose your compassion, or become numb to the needs of others. It can be a little overwhelming at times but with patience and research you can fact-check news stories to ease your fears. Many are not based on truth or facts.
Listen to your favourite music or podcast while you travel.
I found myself becoming quite angry with other road users during my commute. It didn’t cross my mind that it was because I was listening to the radio until one day the news bulletin really stood out. It consisted of 3 stories one-after-another that wouldn’t normally be considered breakfast broadcasting.
This was quite jarring for me as I studied Integrated Humanities at school. Very early on we were taught that the news was scheduled based on who was listening.
- Six o’clock news is light hearted as it’s family viewing time.
- Nine o’clock news starts to get more serious.
- They literally bring out the big guns for the 10 o’clock news.
Breakfast time used to be similar to the evening news as kids are listening before school and adults need easing into the day. Somewhere along the way something has changed and the same consideration is no longer being shown.
Since that day I have been listening to my favourite music while I drive and I can’t bring myself to stay annoyed with other drivers. I also can’t recall the incidents in the same way I could before as they have no real impact now.
I’ve concluded that I need to let my mind wake up gently and not stoke the fear glands so soon after my sleep has been stolen from me. The same could be said about my journey home. It’s a time of reflection of the days events and a time to unwind before I get some me time. I’m treating both this way and it’s working out nicely.
Allow yourself time to unwind before bed.
As I said in my first point above – I am trying not to bury my head. We don’t exist in a vacuum and while I consciously avoid the news during my commute you are bombarded with information throughout the day. Even if you don’t read the posts, billboards or articles your brain will still have absorbed the headlines. With all those buzzwords swimming around in your head it can be difficult to sleep.
My solution is to find some time in the early evening to fact check a few of the headlines to put my mind at rest. I then choose something more relaxing to do before bed.
I sleep a lot better if I come to some kind of conclusion on a topic – even if it’s just accepting that the news item was agenda driven lies.
Give up the snooze button!
I’ve been a firm believer that hitting the snooze button and having an extra 9 minutes rest is a kind thing to do for yourself when you’re not quite ready to get up. A few weeks ago I read that you’re actually just putting yourself into fight or flight mode repeatedly. I don’t think hitting snooze once is going to cause too much harm, but the recommendation is to get straight up.
Why do people do this to themselves?
I hesitantly decided to give this a try. I was pretty sure that by not waking up slowly I would be exhausted. I edited my alarm settings so the snooze button never appears. My sleepy brain now knows this and understands that I can miss my alarm if I’m not careful.
I’ll admit that this does cause me to wake up earlier wondering if I’ve missed it, but this seems to make me less fried than having it go off every 9 minutes. I hate to admit that after just over a week I’ve felt more rested than I have done in years. It’s definitely worth a go, although it’s hard work the first week.
Remember that it’s ok to walk away!
Since the referendum I’ve had some very strange interactions with people I usually get on with. Initially these kind of things were shocking and some things were said. Now I understand the problem I find it easier to just walk away.
Some people appear to want to debate politics. They’ll comment on something political but all they have is talking points. If these talking points get challenged they often turn abusive, say they’re not political then say some things that would normally not be considered polite. I’ve had to pinch myself a few times to work out if I actually heard what I think I heard.
These people just want to lash out because they’re angry and they haven’t realised it yet. However I’ve started to recognise the pattern and now know when to move on and save myself from any further rudeness.
It’s sad that things have come to this but it’s best to accept it for what it is – this is good self care. You don’t have to stay and battle it out. Nothing you say will change their perspective, until maybe the next talking point contradicts the original one.
Do more of what you love.
Now that you’ve created these self-care routines they should help you have less angst, get better sleep and give you more headspace to be creative. This means you can find more time to relax by doing more of what you love. Whether it’s gaming or crafting you can push forward into 2020 and develop your existing skills or learn new ones.
I knew 2020 would cause me anxiety so I bought a Switch and have been getting into some Indy games. The only AAA title I’ve bought so far is Tetris – my all-time favourite game. I will of course be buying Animal Crossing in March though.
I’ve been selling off the crafting supplies I don’t use to make space for new ones that I will. I’ve booked into a sewing lesson so I can finally make things with my Nan’s sewing machine.
These are all things I’ve wanted to do for ages and I’m so happy that I’ve finally got the motivation to do them all. Not a new me, just the same me with more inspiration.
Have you been putting off learning new things as you’ve been worried about the year ahead? Leave a comment and let me know.