New Year, Same Me?
I promise this isn't one of those "new year's resolutions are garbage" posts.
I absolutely agree that you don't have to wait until the new year to set goals, or to make changes. You should do them when you want and when you're ready.
But I think I just love the sense of comradery that comes with new year's resolutions. Even when we fail, we fail together. We can joke about it. We can laugh at our attempts and chuckle at our lofty aspirations together.
Honestly, new year's resolutions are probably one of the few times where we can fail and not feel horrendously terrible or self conscious about it.
So I like to come up with one each year and do my best. After years of that resolution being "health" aka weight related, I finally started to branch out and have a more fun experience with the resolutions I was setting.
In 2019, my resolution was to be the best cheerleader ever! I was going to head into the new year full of love and support for those around me. Family! Friends! Strangers! I was going to shower the world with compliments and encouragement.
That was a great year. I loved how many people I connected with in having that mind set and making it a priority. I loved the joy that I was sharing with others. I loved uplifting those around me, even when it was in little ways.
In 2020, I realized that the person I wasn't a good cheerleader for was myself.
So I went into 2020 determined to be kinder to myself. In some ways this went well, and in other ways it wasn't so great.
So in 2021, I'm keeping ALMOST the same goal. Because I did learn things from last year, and I did start to put in the work. I don't see last year as a failure, but as the foundation for an even better year.
In 2021, I am going to put myself first.
By putting myself first and meeting my needs physically, emotionally, and mentally, I will be kinder to myself in a more actionable, and accountable way.
So what does that look like?
I have had back pain, spasms, and compounding issues, for over a decade. With back problems you miss out on so much of life, and I just don't want that anymore. Any time it's gotten unbearable I have put a bandaid on the issue and gone to the chiropractor. Or worse, I have taken it "easy" until the pain subsided before going back to "normal."
Well not this year! I don't want my immediate obligations for work or others to come before my well being. I am going to start going to physical therapy. I am going to set aside time consistently to get the help I need from a professional to heal those muscles and work on strengthening them.
Last year I began to see a therapist. And while the extreme emotional turmoil I was feeling at the time that I started has subsided, I don't want to wait until I am there again to seek help. I want to continue to build on that emotional well being and unpack the things that I'm feeling or have been feeling. I want to build better emotional habits now as a preventative measure, rather than later as damage control.
I know a lot of times "having a therapist" is a cool or trendy thing to do.
A lot of times, having a therapist is reserved for people with financial privilege. And while we praise them for being vulnerable and open about it, we don't talk as often about all the barriers to getting help.
I recognize the privilege that I have, and for anyone reading this who feels like they should see a therapist or wants to but hasn't, I want you to know it's okay. I want you to not feel guilt or shame around not being "vulnerable" or "progressive" about seeing a therapist. There are very real financial and emotional obstacles that come with seeing a therapist. Whether it's insurance issues, cost, or just the stigma within your community around seeing a therapist.
And while I can't offer much in the way of help or support I do want to pass on the few tidbits I have. If your concerns are around financial ability, reach out to your county crisis center or health department. There may be grants or funds available that can provide you with free therapy. It's not guaranteed but it might help point you to where you can get help at a lower or reduced cost, or without insurance.
If your concerns are around the stigma within your community, I understand. When I started going to therapy, I told no one aside from my husband. Even now, as a Punjabi woman, when I think about who might see this and what they might think of me or my family, it makes me nervous. I am sharing my experience so that others feel empowered to seek out the help they need, but I didn't do it until I was ready. You, also, don't have to share that information with anyone until, if ever, you are ready. It is completely your business.
There are laws and protections in place to protect your identity when seeking professional help.
Last but not least. I need to sleep. I need my brain to take a break and just calm down. From late nights studying, straight to late nights at a big four accounting firm, almost a decade of crazy hours has left me sleep deprived. And while my work life balance has improved infinitely over the last two years, my brain can't seem to shake the routine.
So many people in my generation, and those dealing with financial struggles regardless of age, are constantly sleep deprived. According to an article from Time Magazine in 2020, Gen X women get less sleep than any other generation.
For years I brushed this insomnia off as my brain just won't stop. I thought maybe it was my being an anxious person. I figured it was because I had a type A personality. I made excuse after excuse for why I couldn't sleep, even though I needed it.
Reading that article, and understanding that this is a societal issue, and not just a personal one, helped me understand the causes behind my insomnia. And as a Millenial, I could see the ways Gen X women were struggling, and see that this problem was only going to get worse for me as well.
So this year, before there are kids in the mix, I want to take charge of my mental health by sleeping. Sleeping properly! It is such a basic necessity, and yet it is so normalized to sacrifice our sleep.
Besides my new year's resolution, I have my other goals: a reading challenge on Goodreads, a blogging goal, projects that I would really love to do this year.
But all of these other goals can come and go, adjust as needed or when unexpected things come up, because such is life.
But I'm going to do my best not to give up on my resolution. I'm going to do my best to be kind to myself, and put myself first.
It sounds like a lot, and it kind of is! So here are some tools I'm using to stay organized!
52 Lists Weekly List Desktop Pad which has a home on our kitchen fridge to help Greg and I communicate our commitments and obligations to each other.
52 Lists for Bravery by Moorea Seal, because I have some dreams to bring to life in 2021 that require me to put myself out there. And while I have been slowly sharing pieces of myself on this blog for almost two years now, these new endeavors require a lot more bravery than I have ever needed before.
Note that links to purchase in this blog post are affiliate links with bookshop.org. If you can purchase from bookshop.org, instead of retailers like Amazon, you are directly supporting independent bookstores and booksellers.