It’s no secret that 2020 has been a year of changes and challenges.
Those of us with depression, anxiety or trauma we still have to manage daily life. Coping with health concerns, political stress and burnout, and major social uprisings… I think we have all needed a little help to get by. Now, maybe it’s the holiday spirit talking but I’m feeling pretty grateful for some of the things that I’ve learned and tools I’ve acquired along the way. My gift to you this winter season are my top three tips, tricks and tools from 2020. Let’s get started.
1. Tip: Lower your bar. This is for the perfectionists and over achievers out there. If youare like me and have a high level of drive or if you tend to over commit then I urge you to lower your bar. While most self-help books out there will tell you to “Dream Big!” and “Reach for the stars!” I’m here to tell you that it’s okay to settle and get back to basics. The kids won’t die if you feed them toast and cheese for dinner. You aren’t a horrible, lazy person if you subscribe to meal delivery service. And if you have the resources, take time for self care by outsourcing your house cleaning, lawn service or business tasks so that you can rest and be your best self; the world needs you to be your best self. I have done more than one of these things in the past 6 months and only benefited from it.
2. Trick: Fall asleep easily. I am a dreamer… but not in the best way. When I want to be asleep and dreaming my mind is often alive with “dreams” of what I’ll do tomorrow,an email I’ll send, a topic for a blog, a vacation I want to take (okay – that last one is not too bad). The point is, my brain gets so busy I have a hard time falling asleep. So I listen to guided meditations to help me relax and clear my mind. I like to use iSleep Easy to help me release those thoughts and body tension. It’s a free app that offers ten different meditation tracks, playlists and options to customize background sounds or music. I love that it turns itself off at the end of the track so it’s not playing all night. Honestly, I’m usually asleep before the end of my favorite 15 minute playlist. And for kiddos, my little ones love Moshi: Relaxing Stories and Mindfulness. These whimsical stories are entertaining and so soothing. You can download the app but we simply play one of the free tracks on YouTube. I recommend: “Moshi Sleepy Paws” about a very tired koala. Be careful, listening with your kids will probably put you to sleep too.
3. Tool: The Pomodoro Technique. This tool has transformed the way that I get tasks done. Whether you have ADHD, are absent minded or have difficulty focusing while you work from home the Pomodoro Technique helps to keep you stay on track. You’ll tackle bite-size pieces of work and get big results. The basics of this technique is that you work for 25 minutes on a specific task (or set of tasks) followed by a 5 minute break. Work. Rest. Repeat. It sounds obvious but if you are willing to try it you’ll feel the magic. First of all, work is less overwhelming since you have to commit to only 25 minutes. And, you begin to learn what you really can accomplish in a short period of time. I used to fear that certain tasks “will take me FOREVER!!!” But I now know they only take 21 minutes. Brilliant. To learn more about this tool and how to customize it watch this video:
What are your favorite tips, tricks and tools? What small thing has changed your mood, attitude or behaviors for the better? And have you used any of the ones I mentioned above? Leave me a comment below. I want to hear all about it.