My end of year review evaluating how I did on my chosen 2020 focus word.
image by evondue from pixabay
If you remember the focus word I chose to guide me in 2020 was CONTENT. You can read my original post on it HERE.
I chose this word as I wanted to feel satisfaction and agreement with my current life circumstances and generally just wanted to boost my overall positivity and well-being.
But, let's be honest... the word content and the year 2020 haven't exactly been compatible with each other, am I right?!
Now some could argue that it was the perfect word to guide me through this year and let's just say there was good and there was not so good.
I'll give you the not so good first.
When life as we know it came crashing to a halt in March, it was a big jolt, to say the least. I know I'm preaching to the choir here but homeschooling my son while my husband and I worked from home was NOT ideal. It literally wore us down. If I haven't mentioned before, my son has some mental health challenges and the distance learning modality was not one that is conducive to his learning style. It was the first time he told me he "hated" me, it was the first time he ran away from home (ok, he stood in the front yard for 45-minutes and "waited for a bus to New York City"), and it was the first time we tried him on medication (which proved to be ineffective). So there was that.
Add to that having to pivot my two different jobs to a virtual platform. Doing virtual organizing appointments and telehealth counseling sessions kicked my butt. Clients dropped off, my mood soured as I wasn't doing what I loved, and I missed people!
But I digress. The important things are that my family and I have been physically healthy and my clients have remained Covid-free. Our mental health, well, that's another story, but we're all managing.
Speaking of mental health, that's where my focus word - CONTENT - has been vital. Here is my list of things that I did this year to help me cultivate contentment:
I bought more plants.
Yep, I totally boosted the house plant quota in my home. I typically just had 1 or 2 plants in my house and tended to opt for faux greenery as it was way less maintenance, but I knew I could do better and I knew plants were good for a whole host of ailments. Here's an actual research study that proves interaction with indoor plants reduces stress. So now I have a real plant in every room of my house (except the bathrooms) even if it's just a small succulent or cactus.
I revamped my home office.
I inherited my mother's desk when she was a child. It has lived at my parent's house for years and they just weren't using it so they passed it along to me. I painted it and gave it new hardware. I also added some new wall decor to my space and a fun blue desk chair (similar) and now I enjoy my work zone so much more.
I got my stretch on.
I've always been good about exercising for 20-30mins first thing in the morning. It's one habit that's pretty rock solid for me. But let's be honest, exercise can get pretty monotonous after a while and I just wasn't looking forward to my basement sessions each day. So I added a stretch routine that I do every Tuesday morning. I found this YouTuber named Sydney Cummings and she does 20-minute stretch workouts that I really like. I've learned that I have a love-hate relationship with pigeon pose! But it's so good for my 40-something-year-old body to be working on my flexibility and mobility in this way.
I got a walking buddy.
In addition to my basement workout routines, on the weekends I like to exercise outside, in particular, walking. As I know how important social connections are for our health (Covid really hit that point home this year), I thought getting a walking buddy would be helpful. And it was - until cases in our area really spiked. Fingers crossed we can resume walking by the spring!
I boosted my essential oil usage.
I've been hearing more and more about the benefits of oils and though I had a diffuser in my kitchen, I really upped my game with other things this year. I bought a second diffuser to put in my office, a car diffuser, a set of roll-on oils for my son, and a wood bead bracelet that I can add oil drops on to enjoy some aromatherapy throughout the day.
I took a course on well-being.
I discovered Coursera, which is an open online course provider through which you can take virtual classes, earn specialization certificates, and receive degrees. I completed the course: The Science of Well-Being by Yale professor Dr. Laurie Santos. I took this class in the spring while my husband and I were both working from home and it really did spark some positive conversations between us and I got a lot of great takeaways from it.
I started meditating.
Well, hello?! If we're talking contentment, it only makes sense that I started a meditation practice, right? And you won't believe where I meditate. I just wrote a blog post on it last week where you can read more.
I gave up chocolate.
Yes, you read that right. I'm sure many of you are thinking that I should be adding more chocolate if this is a post on boosting contentment, but for me, it was the opposite. Chocolate really exacerbates some skin issues that I struggle with and sometimes it's really hard to keep my chocolate cravings in check so it was just best to give it up. I actually gave up eating candy two years ago, so after having done that, letting go of chocolate wasn't too terrible. Gretchen Rubin talks about how it's easier to just abstain from some things rather than try and take the moderation route and I've found this to be true.
I started spending Tuesdays at my parents' house.
I have a parent living with Parkinson's Disease and over the last 18-months, they've really been on a steep decline. More care and supervision were required and I realized I needed to step up. I rearranged my work schedule and in June started spending every Tuesday at my parents' house. They say the way to make yourself happy is to make other people happy and this has rung true for me. You can follow along with me on Instagram as I have my Tuesday Tidy-up posts each week chronicling my days as a caretaker.
I created a video series for my clients and followers.
On the theme of doing things for others to make yourself happy, I created a 10-wk video series on Facebook providing education on hoarding disorder. It brought me a great deal of joy and satisfaction to be continuing to provide knowledge and value to my clients despite not being able to service them in person.
I challenged myself to read 12 books on contentment.
Mission accomplished on this one!
Magical Journey: An Apprenticeship in Contentment by Katrina Kenison
Grateful Life: The Secret to Happiness and the Science of Contentment by Nina Lesowitz and Mary Beth Sammons
A Simple Act of Gratitude: How Learning to Say Thank You Changed my Life by John Kralik
Slow: Simple Living for a Frantic World by Brook McAlary
Stumbling on Happiness by Daniel Gilbert
The Book of Hygge: The Danish Art of Contentment, Comfort, and Connection by Louisa Thomsen Brits
I Choose Peace: Raw Stories of Real People Finding Contentment and Happiness by Doug Bender
Perfect Square by Michael Hall (kids' book)
The Atlas of Happiness: The Global Secrets of How to Be Happy by Helen Russell
A Short Path to Change: 30 Ways to Transform Your Life by Jenny Mannion
The Positive Dog: A Story About the Power of Positivity by Jon Gordon
Hands-Free Life: 9 Habits for Overcoming Distraction, Living Better, and Loving More by Rachel Macy Stafford
How to Hold a Grudge: From Resentment to Contentment by Sophie Hannah
I bought a turkey!
If you subscribe to my newsletter you know that for the month of November I had a 6ft tall inflatable turkey sitting on my front lawn. I'm not one for over-the-top lawn decorations and I always had this personal mom rule that I'd NEVER be the parent to allow my child to have a silly inflatable character in their yard, yet here we are. When something makes your kid goofily happy, you sometimes have to break a rule or two. When I found out for weeks that my 8-year-old son had been wishing on falling leaves that he could have a turkey in the yard, I had to follow through. He had a smile plastered on his face all month long!
How did you do on your goals/focus for 2020? I'd love to hear in the comments.
Stay tuned for next month when I share my focus word for 2021!