I’m already looking forward to 2019. By that, I don’t mean I’m eagerly anticipating it. I have my sights set on the future. In 2019, I will be in a new apartment with new goals. A sudden change in my life forced me to shift my perspective. It shattered me at first, but I bounced back and now have taken a good, long look at myself.
Therefore, I’m focusing on what my priorities are–and figuring out what they even are now. I feel like I’ve sort of lost myself along the way and though I’ve attempted many times to right the ship with minimal success, this change in my life is forcing me to follow through. I refuse to just be swept up in the madness of all these transitions. I can still enjoy myself and fulfill my desires.
So if you want to reflect on yourself and what you want for your future, you can use these points that I used!
What Gives You Light
This is about what makes you “you”–something that both gives you contentment and peace, but also energizes you with passion and fire. For me, it’s 3 specific things. Connection (with close friends or a nice stranger), expressing creativity, and helping others.
Commit to doing what gives you light, even if it’s the smallest opportunity. Happiness as a mood and state of mind isn’t very attainable. But moments of joy–the things that give you that light–that is very attainable.
To read more about this, check out my article for Medium: Do What Gives You Light
Self-care for me, like I imagine it is for many others, is difficult. I didn’t really “get it”. I thought it was about pampering yourself and living up the “treat yourself” motto. To a degree, it can be. But it’s all about what works for you. At first, I didn’t know how to take care of myself. It was a startling realization that I didn’t know what truly relaxed me and nourished my soul. There’s quite a difference between things you enjoy and things that are good for your physical or mental health.
For instance, while I love to write and have several fictional works that I enjoy writing, it doesn’t relax me or make me feel “taken care of”. Accomplished? Sure. Excited about possibilities? Absolutely. It’s fulfilling, but not exactly soothing. However, I found that I love baths and face masks. Simple, relaxing, rejuvenating. I enjoy being outside, too, even if it’s just for a light walk. Listening to music is another tactic I use to just zone out and decompress.
This kind of self-care can put you in the right frame of mind to continue on with your day, especially if you feel frazzled or overwhelmed. It’s also a great way to wrap up a busy and full day. You just have to find the right way to take care of your mind, body, and soul.
To read more about my self-care discoveries, check out this article for Medium I did: The Bare Minimum Method of Self-Care
What You Need to Improve On
This one is less fun, but it keeps in perspective what you can do to grow and change. It may not be your favorite thing to reflect on, but it’s necessary sometimes. There are plenty of workbooks and resources online to help you tackle almost any issue, like self-confidence, self-esteem, anger management, or establishing healthy boundaries. I also find going to specialized forums helpful, too, because you get a lot of great anecdotes and personal advice. I especially like the ones that are mental illness-specific (I’m talking about Reddit and Facebook, but there are some online forums dedicated to mental illness).
I literally have a list of hobbies and interests in one of my journals. It’s important for me to see it in writing so that I “remember who I am”, so to speak. I tend to get swept up in stress or depression and drift along. It’s nice to remember the things that are fun for me or interest me because honestly, the haze of a mental illness can make you forget so much. Sometimes I search for classes or workshops regarding that interest (even if I can’t take it at that time), other times I will look up videos or articles. It doesn’t mean I’ll pursue it at that moment, but it’s fun to learn more about it, at least, and see the possibilities. If it’s a hobby I can personally engage in, of course, spending time actually doing it can make me feel more connected to myself and overall more fulfilled.
My big obstacle here is mental and physical energy. It’s in short supply lately. Surprisingly, the list is comforting. It’s nice to know those things will be there for me when I’m able.
Taking all the above into consideration, what are my priorities? The facts for me are as follows:
- I’m moving (which is super stressful and very involved)
- I have little energy when I’m home
- I know what I like to do, what fulfills me, what nourishes me, and what I need to work on.
So with all this in mind, what is feasible for me in order to feel more rejuvenated, more connected, more alive, even during a time of stress?
- Start volunteering again, even a very minimal commitment.
- Make one “friend date” and go through with it before making any other social plans (in other words, don’t overload myself with a bunch of commitments in one week).
- Make more of an effort to connect and network online with other mental health bloggers.
That’s it. These are the small, short-term goals I’ve decided to make for myself. Anything else is a bonus. But these are the things I can work toward in my current state, without feeling overwhelmed by all the things I should or could be doing.
I’ve certainly had my ups and downs this year. I just hope I can make the ups last a little longer next year.
What are your goals for 2019?