17 Ways to Stay sane and confident in 2017
Going into a new year is either really exciting or really tough. Let’s be honest, how many of us actually get through or stick to our New Years Resolutions? By a show of hands… anyone? Hey, its ok, I’m right there with you. Last year I took an entirely different approach to my New Year. And it worked, I came out of 2016 feeling like (for the first time in a long time) a winner!
Today I am going to share with you some simple changes and challenges that helped me get through another rapid year of flying time. Because the older we get the faster time races past you. These may be things you are already doing, or do every once in awhile, but by making them a little more frequent you can stay sane and even improve your confidence in 2017. Being that we are at the ’17 mark, I am sharing exactly 17 things to stay sane and confident this new year!
Make your bed.
Making my bed has never been something I’ve cared much about. Not long ago my husband and I had some real conversations about what being a better partner to each other looked like. He appreciates coming home to a clean and tidy house. Who wouldn’t right? I mean, walk in to lemon smelling freshness with everything in its place, uhhhh… sign me up! I quickly snapped out of that day dream and realized this is something I can give him. A tidy home, but more importantly a place of comfort and solitude. I did my best to make the bed as often as possible last year. Now I’m not going to sit here and pretend like it happened every single day for that 366 days, but it happened a lot. And having him happy over something so simple makes me happy. This is why I am carrying this easy everyday task into 2017. Plus, on the days you feel like were a complete and utter waste, at least you accomplished this one thing. Take pleasure in it.
Enjoy a meal together everyday.
Now if you already know me pretty well, you know we eat dinner together every night. It’s my thing. But if your schedules are crazy and you can’t make dinner happen, try breakfast. At some point in 2016 I started getting really lazy, like waaaay lazier than my normal “get up by 11am”. And it started to get me down. I am a night owl. I regularly get to sleep around 2ish. I can function pretty well on very minimal sleep, I know its not that healthy, but that’s my life. This lazy routine of mine wasn’t just getting me down, it was making it harder to appreciate the little time I was spending with my kids. After some robust criticism from the boss, I started getting up in the morning to make breakfast for the family. This has brought so much sanity back to my life. I still hate mornings, but I love the extra time with my family. Even if its just me toasting a bagel for them, they appreciate it, and it makes my heart smile. If you can squeeze just one family meal in a day, I promise your heart will smile too.
When I come in with donuts, I feel like my kids see me flying in with a hot pink cape leaving a sprinkle trail of goodness all the way from the donut shop. I’m a hero. Huge confidence booster moms and dads out there! Be a hero, buy some donuts every now and then. This is a branch of my #2, like I said, I’m NOT a morning person. And as much as I love to cook, getting up at the butt crack of dawn is grueling. I have a meal planner to keep me on track and to minimize how often the kids ask me “what’s for dinner”. The kids can just take a look at the day, the week, or Friday and see what the meal plan is. (This is also great for shopping and helps me stay on a tight grocery budget.) Last year, as I started to retrain my brain to be useful before 11am, I thought one day I just need to go grab donuts. When the kids saw donuts they flipped with excitement like a Guinea pig does popcorn. (<– Google that.) Which to me is kind of annoying because I make real breakfast foods, nearly every morning. And they’d rather have sugary fatty donuts over pancakes and bacon and eggs. (Strong eye roll.) Buying donuts has made me like super mom.
Sound narcissistic? It’s not, I promise. I am a true believer in personal time. Time with your own thoughts while treating yourself to lunch out, a mani/pedi, or a walk/hike does a world of good to the psyche. I have had a few friends say they think its sad when they see someone out having lunch by themselves. They even feel sorry for them. I don’t feel sorry for them, I think “good for you”. I do it all the time. It helps with my own confidence. I do get a lot of alone time now that my kids are all in school, but this is just a little different. I go out to eat because I know I deserve a meal out. Sometimes as stay at home parents we feel like we shouldn’t because it feels like splurging. It doesn’t have to feel like that. (On that same note, if it is splurging, I encourage you to find a way to date yourself with out breaking the bank.) This is about self love. You know better than anyone on ways that make you feel loved, so go ahead and love yourself. It’s ok, it’s not selfish and it’s not narcissistic.
Learn something new.
It’s so easy to let the mundaneness of life impede on your sanity. Ever feel like life can be so repetitive you just want to bang your head against the wall to break up the monotany? No, me either… maybe that was a bit of an overstatement. I am a life long learner. Some people are thrill junkies, I am a skill seeker. I love learning new things. Hobbies are my jam. Learning something new isn’t just good for your confidence, it’s another tool to add to your arsenal. Double win in my book. I have learned a lot of hobbies and am a master at non. But that doesn’t stop or discourage my continuous learning. Here are some things I have learned over the years; soaping, crocheting, sewing, baking, leather working, and gardening. (Thanks Pintrest.) Find something you want to learn and get started. Even if you are terrible at it in the beginning, stay with it, you’re bound to impress yourself.
This is something we started in 2015 when we decided to downsize and move. This process is still evolving for me. HOARDER ALERT! It’s hard for me to get rid of stuff. But making this a conscious effort every quarter or so, has me feeling lighter. I literally feel like I have more space in my life for better things when I start to declutter and shed stuff that is wasting space. Moving really makes you see how much useless nonsense you have lying around. Take some time this year to actively go through areas of your home and declutter. This is also a great way to make a little cash, I bet there are some things you can sell! My goal is to one day live a minimalist lifestyle.
Read a good book.
I’m not much of a reader, but I do like to set book goals for myself each year. Last year was pretty stressful, living through a whole home renovation is seriously exhausting. One of the best ways to escape your reality is sitting down to a good book. This year I plan to read at least 3 books. I’m sure if you love to read, that sounds like a walk in the park or a weekend with no kids. For me, I have to really be in the mood to sit and read. If you have an recommendations – Please leave them in the comments!
I love to garden. I’ve had just as many failings as I’ve had successes. If you are new to gardening here are a few herbs that will get you started without feeling like a failure. Basil, mint and Rosemary. These outdoor herbs are pretty hard to kill. And nothing beats walking out and grabbing a handful of fresh herbs you grew yourself to use in dinner. If you are looking for a few indoor plants try starting with a pothus or a snake plant. They are both beautiful and green, and won’t kill over on you for neglecting them for a week. Indoor herbs are also super simple. All you’ll need for those are some small garden pots and some sunlight. But place them somewhere you can keep a close eye on them. Having a few plants around is great for your sanity and your confidence.
This is something that I didn’t get around to the past few years, but will be making it a priority for 2017. I always feel my best when I am sharing kindness with others. It really doesn’t matter what sort of skills you have, there are countless ways to give through volunteer work. We haven’t determined what we will be giving our time and talents to this year, but we will have a few that we do as a family. I think it is important to show your kids the power of good deeds. There will be a separate post to come about our family volunteer plans for this year.
Send some snail mail.
It’s the simple pleasures in life that can really boost the spirit. Who doesn’t love getting a little snail mail? A “hello” or “just thinking about you” goes a long way with friends and family. This year I will be sending out some birthday cards to my friends and family members. A helpful tip is to buy all your cards and write them up in advance. Keep them near your calendar and pop them in the post when it gets close! And don’t feel bad if you send some late. I don’t know anyone who’s ever said “geez, I don’t even want this birthday card because its late”.
Exercising is so good for you and I think it’s safe to say, most of us know why. I didn’t do a whole lot of this last year but am making sure I get plenty of it this year for my own sanity. If you’re feeling bad or stressed, get your heart rate up and pump up those endorphins. I read recently that exercising is “meditation in motion”. And that couldn’t be truer for me as a former runner. Running was always a great way for me to think, de-stress, and distract me from whatever was bothering me. I plan to get my rear in gear this year, regular exercise is great for both your sanity and your confidence.
Vacation or Staycation.
My point here is, get out of the house with your family. If you can afford a vacation to Disney land or some other magical place – DO IT! If you can’t, staycations can be just as awesome. Over the last few years we haven’t been able to take those epic vacations so we “staycated” instead. My kids loved it. Even those pesky teens of mine. What I love about getting us out of our house, is the family time. The tight quarters of staying in a hotel. Watching them enjoy time together NOT in front of a game console. They enjoy getting out just as much as we do. Even if its a hotel 40 minutes away from home. If you can’t afford a hotel, try camping in your back yard. Or find a friend or family member that maybe lives in a different town and stay with them. Take a day trip to a state park. There’s plenty of things you can do that can feel like a vacation.
Personal Projects are good for your confidence. Find something you want to work on and do it daily, weekly, or monthly. As a photographer, mine typically are related to my work and growth. Its a personal project for a reason, its personal. By documenting your project you”ll be able to look back and see your own growth. I find that appreciating where I started and where I am today helps me maintain a good perspective. It helps me to continue to evolve, and I get to know myself a little more each year. It keeps my creative juices flowing and makes me want to be better at whatever my project is. If you have plans for a personal project already, or you choose to start one, I’d love to know what it is and follow along.
I’m not suggesting you do all of these things, unless you want to, but doing one of them maybe just what the doctor ordered. Changing up a space gives you a new view. And that can be very inspiring. Kind of like the coined expression “a new do with a new attitude” (or however it goes). If you haven’t done this recently, its a great way to feel good in your own home. Start in a room that you spend a lot of time in, like your bedroom or living room. Redecorate with some new pillows or add in some live plants. If you don’t have a budget for that, plan to save and start sometime in the year. Or rearrange the space, take some things out or bring them in from another room. Maybe you have an old piece of furniture somewhere you can repurpose. Add a fresh coat of paint to a dresser or side table. Having a space you love to come home to helps you relax, and enjoy life a little more.
Pay it forward
Random acts of kindness never get old or go out of style. I don’t usually plan to pay it forward, but when it pops into my mind, I feel guilty thinking “oh not now” and end up buying the person behind me in the starbucks line their coffee. But then I feel good about it as I drive off. You don’t have to buy something for someone just to pay it forward. Does your neighbor have some mangy weeds in their yard? Pull them. Have kids in school? Ask their teacher if you can come in and clean the classroom. See someone on your street moving in or moving out? Offer to help load and unload. There is really no end to the amount of good deeds one can think of. Have a big heart and choose to be kind.
Have a YES day
This year we are having a designated YES day. This is a day of Yes’s. Your youngest wants to have ice cream for breakfast? Yes. Your teenager wants to see a movie? Yes. The idea is to have a day full of fun. Want to have your own yes day? Talk with your family about it, I’m sure they’ll say yes. But before you go setting all these ground rules, consider what saying yes means. Especially to a child. It’s not saying No. So if you have a wildly imaginative kid, and they want to go to China. Instead of saying no, try saying “today is not the best day to get to China, how about we make China here at home”. Get some Chinese take out, watch a documentary on the Great wall of China, learn some common phrases in Chinese. Get creative and have fun with your Yes day.
Set some goals.
Last, but certainly not least. Set some goals. Some realistic and achievable goals. This year we are committed to building our savings and finishing some (not all) of our home renovations. When you fail to plan, you plan to fail. Think about some things that may be weighing you down, and set some goals around those things. Make them achievable and create a realistic time line.
I hope these things help get you through another year! Cheers to 2017!