So the first month of 2021 is coming to a close and I’ll be honest, I am already feeling a bit burnt out. Maybe I didn’t take the time I needed over the holidays to rest, or maybe it’s just the intensity at which world news and the reality we live is coming at me as of late. More than ever, I am finally starting to realize that sometimes you just need to take a minute for myself. So if you’re feeling the same and looking for ways to decompress, I thought I would share some ways I am taking care of myself this year.
Like many of you, I had this ideal of what 2021 would start off as. I’d work out every day, practice active gratitude, find joy in the house that I feel like I haven’t left in a year, etc. And while for the most part I opt to see the best in every situation, none of those things have happened exactly as planned.
Without dwelling in the challenging moments I’ve faced emotionally, physically, and mentally in the last few weeks – I can say, I need to be a bit more kind to myself. It’s okay if I don’t write a million blog posts each day. Or clean all three floors of my house. This obsessions with “well, I have the time so I might as well….” is unhealthy and I’m done with it. Instead I’m opting for more self-care, love and acceptance.
I am allowed to just do nothing if I need some me time.
So the five things that I am changing for 2021 may not seem overly complicated, but have offered me a bit more liberty to live a happier life. I think writing them down helps to make them real for myself, and hopefully inspires you to write down your own changes to make them come to life as well. Sometimes a simple act of bringing a thought to reality can have such a huge impact.
- Get outside
This may seem like a no-brainer but I had no idea how challenged I felt just sitting in the house every day without a change of scenery or fresh air. Even just adding a few blocks to my walks with Canela in the morning has helped me start the day on a happier note.
Yes I understand that it’s the winter time in Canada but that doesn’t mean I can’t try to get outside even if only for short spurts to change my perspective. Countless articles on the internet will tell you about the importance of doing just this, but I more so see it as a way to not only move my body but stimulate my mind. I often will put in my headphones, grab a mask for the times I can’t be physically distant from others, and enjoy some me time for no other reason than because I deserve it. You’d be surprised how much of a difference something so small can make in your day-to-day.
2. Say I love you and laugh every day
Again, this is something that I have actively been doing every single day. For example, Catherine and I have been friends for over twenty years and many of you are probably tired of hearing that fact – BUT, often when we spoke it would just be a simple “K talk to you later.”
Now that we’ve been forced to be apart, every time I end our phone calls I say I love you because I truly do and I miss her every day. Maybe it’s the harsh reality of the world we live in, but I like to think that if you don’t take the time you say I love you when you can, you may miss out on it. Life is a big hot mess right now and those in my life that mean something to me deserve to hear that I love and cherish them.
Similarly, I love to laugh. And though sometimes I battled with the idea of that in contrast to how shitty things can be – the dichotomy between the two scenarios doesn’t have to be so dramatic. I talk to Justin regularly and his is someone that makes me laugh all the time and for that I truly appreciate and love him too. Friends are more important than ever these days, and I think we all need to remind ourselves to not take every tiny piece of our lives so seriously.
3. Be more present
This is a REALLY hard one for me because I’m that guy that is always doing a million things at once. That being said I have really tried to be more in the moment when it comes to myself and those I care about. For example, I try to put my phone away when I’m with Julio because while we both work during the day and touch base, time together is so important.
More importantly though, being more aware and present with myself is something I am really trying to work on. For example, when I am writing I try to focus on that and only that. Or when I do have the energy to work out, I do my best to not check my social media a hundred times during that time. Similarly while on the walks outside I mentioned above, I find myself now putting on some music and putting my phone into airplane mode. Now that we are all home and connected than ever, it’s important to not loose the connection with ourselves.
4. Try new recipes / cuisines
A part of 2020 and 2021 that I’ve had a hard time with is feeling “stuck.” Both literally and metaphorically, I guess it’s easy to get in a pattern that is comfortable. That being said, I am not someone who can eat the same food for the rest of my life, so I’ve made the choice to actively try out new recipes and cuisines. Of course this is all budget permitting, but there are ways to enjoy the variety of life without breaking the bank.
Especially when you live by yourself or with someone else, something as simple as trying a new recipe can change your whole day. I personally really enjoy being in the kitchen and find catharsis in cooking. So there is a certain excitement when I’m creating a dish that I’ve never tried before. It offers an adventure of sorts in something so simple and I always love to try new things.
5. Buy (and drink) what makes you happy
This sounds silly to some, but if you’re like me, you enjoy collecting things. I have over the years bought incredible alcohol that has sat on a shelf doing nothing since. While I agree that it’s nice to have a beautiful bottle of bubbles or rum for special occasions, if the world we live in has taught me anything, it’s that life is short and you should enjoy every moment as much as you can.
Over the holidays I rediscovered my love of Diplomático Rum and it reminded me why I love rum so much. Not only in cocktails like the ones I shared on social media, but also in cooking. Though I never shared a rum cake recipe because I’ve yet to perfect one that I’m proud of, I have used #DiplomaticoCanada in recipes that range from spicy chicken wings to cookies.
There is something to be said about using quality ingredients and enjoying quality drinks because you deserve them. If I had to recommend something new for you to try, it would be this rum in the winter months. I dare you to not agree once you’ve tried it! If nothing else, may 2021 remind you to buy and enjoy the ingredients and drinks that make you most happy.
So that’s my list of five things I am working on to make my life better and more enjoyable. I have no doubt that you will have your own and look forward to continuing to share positive posts like this one with you all over the year. I know that it’s a lot for us all in many different ways, but there is beauty and kindness to be enjoyed in the world if you know where to look for it.
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Don’t forget to be kind & laugh a little more this year, and the next!
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