End of Year Slow-Down—5 Musts for a Year-End Refresh
100 Days of Lettering, 28 blog posts, 2 new websites, and innumerable amounts of lessons learned—2016 has been quite a busy year! Although we’re just starting this last month of the year, rather than tuning off completely, I like to take it slow and prepare for the refresh of the New.
Inspired by this beautiful sentiment by Danielle LaPorte I cleared my December work to-do’s and scheduled-in days of pure pleasure. Pleasure for reading, pleasure for learning, pleasure for dreaming, and visualizing, and conspiring for the magic and miracles to present themselves. Pending projects have been finalized and delivered. The Christmas decorations are up, and Santa’s letter has been mailed. Now, it’s time to dive into my end-of-year rituals.
Here are 5 ways you, too, can disconnect from the ‘shoulds’ and refresh for the New Year with your favorite MUSTS.
5 Ways to Disconnect and Refresh for the New Year
1 – Read/Listen/Watch
Throughout the year I’ve saved a lot of articles, podcasts, and videos of people and teachers I follow online. I’ve read and implemented some, but to have the time to focus on so much is just not easy. So, this month, without the work to-do’s, I’m looking forward to clearing my bookmarks and folders of all these.
Whether it’s books or any other method of acquiring your daily knowledge and inspiration, take some time each day to delve into it. By the end of the year you’ll have learned something new that will take you even farther for 2017.
2 – Exercise
As an entrepreneur working from home, I tend to spend many hours a day sitting in front of the computer. Too many to admit. My early morning walks are the perfect way, not just to get some movement, but to clear my head, pray, and get set for the day ahead. A 20–30-minute walk around my neighborhood of North Park is the perfect route for me to get my heart pumping and return home with a sweaty eyebrow.
Choose the preferred time of day that suits you to move your body and get your heart going in any shape or form. Whether it’s in the early mornings before heading to work, or in the evening when getting home, a minimum of 15 minutes will get your blood flowing and warm you up. Again, it’s about what feels pleasurable to you—dancing, walking, running, some intimate time with your significant other (!)—make this time fun and relaxing.
3 – Journal
Writing this blog post for the past year has been one of my greatest accomplishments. It has been my way of, not only sharing and putting myself out there—being super introverted and somewhat shy—but also to process everything that runs through my head. Hand-writing in my own journal, most mornings or when inspiration presents itself, has been one of the best ways to make sense of so many lessons, get through gloomy moments in life, and for pure pleasurable expression.
You can write to your ‘dear diary’ if you choose, but take this moment of writing—for yourself, no need to share with anyone—to clear your head and be at peace. If it’s difficult at first, which it was for me, start off just writing your daily activities with description, as if you were writing a letter to a far-away friend. In time, you’ll find yourself writing for hours, pages and pages full of emotions, dreams, and desires.
4 – Meditate
I’ll admit, this has been the hardest for me to take on. For years, I’ve attempted to sit in quiet-mode, breathing, being in the present, but my head would always just race with every to-do. It wasn’t until recently, thanks to my daily morning ritual which includes the previous three steps above, that I could finally calm myself down enough to just be for a good five minutes. Yes, that’s all I do for now.
Don’t boggle yourself down with having to do the ‘recommend’ 10–20 minutes. You do what feels right. In time, you’ll experience a need to want to stay there for hours and it will be the best part of your day.
5 – Surround Yourself with People You Love
As an introvert, this was difficult for me to accept. My best friend, and only confidant for so many years, has been my husband. It’s not until recently that we started having the best time with a close group of friends that I realized how important it is to have those strong ties to people you love. People who bring out the best in you and raise that joy-meter through the roof.
It is said that family is that whom you choose, so stay close to those that make you feel warm inside. Whether it’s one person or many, reach out to them for a chat over hot chocolate and yummy pastries, or include them in your exercise ritual with a walk around your favorite place.
While the Winter Holiday Season can be stressful at times, it’s important to take a few moments of solitude to connect with oneself. I’ve found this practice to be so helpful, but, tell me, what are some ways you take time for yourself during these busy December days? Please share in the comments below. I’m always looking for new ways to recharge.
With much love and gratitude,