This year, I did a values exercise that led me to these five words: honesty, passion, growth, humor and solitude. I decided to set mini intentions every month, based on these values, and write about the experience.
Here's how January went.
HONESTY: Ask for help with E instead of trying to do it all myself.
I actually got better at this, if you can believe it. Instead of complaining about being stressed, or rushing from one thing to the next, I asked for help. At work and at home, when someone offered to assist, I said yes. Yes, I need help with that project. Yes, you can give the baby a bath. Yes, we'd love a babysitter. Yes, if you could pick him up, that'd be great.
Sometimes the phrase, "Can I help?" feels like a formality, but it doesn't have to be. Most of the time, if people reach out to help you, they mean it. Helping brings them joy and makes them feel useful. Letting them help you is actually you giving them a gift. (Mind blown, I know.) Also it just makes your life so much easier when you allow others to lift you up and support you.
PASSION: Kiss and hug my husband every day.
Check. Mark. This one sounds so simple, but like I've already written about, it is easy to get in the rush of life and act like ships passing in the night. Not good for anyone's relationship. Besides, kissing and hugging your partner is a major stress reliever!
GROWTH: Write eight blog posts.
I wrote six, including this one, as well as two freelance articles. Considering all extra writing is in addition to my full-time day job, plus being a mama and wife, plus being, well, a person in the world, I'm proud of this effort. Also, I think last year I had a track record of writing every six weeks, so six posts in a month is great for me.
HUMOR: Be silly every day.
Harder than I would've guessed, but I tried to be as playful as possible with E and our little family. That meant putting down the phone. Being present. Making silly noises to make him laugh. Honestly, the heaviness of January in a political sense, plus the constant gray and cold weather, plus a giant work event and some big deliverables at the office, PLUS the insane news cycle of craziness left me feeling kind of down in general. So encouraging more silliness and lightheartness was good for my soul.
SOLITUDE: Avoid social media an hour before bedtime and an hour after waking up.
Oof. Also very challenging. I'd say I avoided it in that fashion about 50% of the time. At least I felt much more mindful of the times I grabbed my phone in the mornings and evenings. Which, again, better than nothing. I definitely notice that when I take intentional breaks from social media, I enjoy using it more and I feel calmer in general. When I found myself scrolling, scrolling, scrolling in the evenings, I had a harder time falling asleep. And when I opened up an app first thing after waking, I did wake up quicker, but I also felt super distracted right away--which is unfortunate, because I only get about an hour tops with E before daycare and work begins.
The verdict: let people help you, laughing is a form of self-care, make time for what you love and get off your damn phone a little more.