Thrived During the Holidays and Picked a 2020 Theme

Welcome back!  It’s post-Christmas!  I am feeling relaxed and ready for this New Year.  I certainly missed writing.  I missed sharing.  I miss you all!

primate climbing treeIn the New Year, there will be some changes for me.  I decided that my 2020 theme would be Slow.  The idea of a theme came from listening to the Happier Podcast with Gretchen Rubin a couple years ago.  In 2018, my theme was sleep.  I focused and worked hard to ensure that I consistently had 8 hours of sleep.  It made me a better person.  In 2019, my theme has been family.  All of my decisions included my family.  I still maintained my sleep, gave myself lots of self-care time because in the end I am a better person for my family.  I tried new recipes for my family.  We did new adventures as a family.  In 2020, my theme of Slow is going to help me focus on what really matters.  Some areas that I plan on exploring are chores, routines, and external to myself/ family commitments.  Do I really need to dust weekly?  Maybe, maybe not.  Do I really have the best schedule for chores or does it leave me feeling exhausted?  Do I really need to say yes to an invite?

Here are some links to Gretchen Rubin discussing themes on her Happier podcast.

  • Episode 254 – Choose a One-Word Theme for the Year, and a Tough Question About Neighbors
  • Episode 201 – Choose a One-Word Theme for the Year, Check Your Worries in Two Weeks, and Chris Guillebeau Talks About the “Annual Review.”
  • From 2016 – What’s Your One-Word Theme for the New Year?

What I did differently this holiday season.

  • Said no.  There are only so many lunches and dinners that you have time to catch up with others before the holidays.  Sure we all eat.  However, the time to go out to eat might not fit in your schedule.  It is ok to suggest tea or a walk or meet up after the holidays.
  • Require help.  Making homemade pasta of any kind requires a whole lot of time and effort.  In prior years I burned myself out by doing it all myself.  This year I scheduled to make the hard stuff (gnocchi and cookies) when my husband was off from work.  Bonus: We made memories, caught up with our days, and laughed just about the whole time.
  • Refuse to travel.  There is something about waking up in your own home on Christmas morning without a schedule that is magnificent.  We stopped the pack up the house traveling last year and I loved it.  This year we were both off on Christmas day.  We slept in, made homemade breakfast, I made surprise blueberry muffins, we took our little guy for a walk, and I made the most delicious dinner.
  • Said Yes.  Attended a couple parties because saying yes supported my family.  In return, my husband told me when it was time to leave.  We left when he saw me yawning.  We left right after a fun moment in the party.  He knows that I also need quiet time.

What did you do to keep relaxed this season?

  • Best Podcasts of the Week
  • What’s Cooking
  • What am I reading?
  • House Hack
  • Random Stuff

“We get such a kick out of looking forward to pleasures and rushing ahead to meet them that we can’t slow down enough to enjoy them when they come.” — Alan Watts

Best Podcasts of the Week

Go Help Yourself created the most hilarious meditations in December.  You have to check them out.

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Remove Yourself From the Spin (Out) Zone episode from Happier in Hollywood offered great tips and suggestions to help you out.

Show Notes:  “Liz and Sarah discuss the techniques they use to stay calm while others are freaking out.  In Hits & Bombs, they look back at 2019 and discuss the highlights and lowlights.  Liz’s biggest personal hit?  Getting over her fear of public speaking.  Sarah’s biggest bomb?  Not going to therapy.  Finally, this week’s travel Hollywood Hack will improve your visit to any sprawling city: stay in more than one hotel.”

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The Minimalists’ episode on Clean Spaces offered some amazing quotes.

Show Notes:  Minimal Maxims

  • “Cleaning is an act of self-love—we take care of ourselves when we keep our spaces clean.” —Melissa Maker

  • “You cannot get where you’re going without moving from where you are.” —Joshua Fields Millburn

  • “When you’re hopeless, find someone who’s hopeful.” —Ryan Nicodemus

Go Help Yourself won me over again with episode How Taffy Brodesser-Akner Thrives on Stress by Taffy Brodesser-Akner with their review of Taffy’s article on RealSimple. Check out the article to laugh and smile.

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What’s Cooking

Honestly, figuring out how to make almond milk changed my life.  I can make more recipes!

Next up is to figure out how to make mayonnaise.

What am I reading?

Lots.  Lots of fun and amazing books.  Check out my 2019 recap post on the books that I read.

photo of library with turned on lights

House Hack

Clean out your kitchen.  Over the past couple of months, my husband has decided to continuously choose the healthier option.  The bonus is that I am making less individual meals and it allows me to explore new recipes that work for both of us.  But this has caused me to decide what to do with the foods that we are no longer choosing.

Part of cleaning out the kitchen was to use up whatever I could before the end of the year.  I made crock-pot lasagna as well as a couple dishes of macaroni and cheese for co-workers.  Now we have a kitchen full of foods and ingredients that fit our new healthy lifestyle.  Other items that were good but I could not use before year-end, I donated to food pantries.

Random Stuff

Telling everyone that I am paying off my student loans.

Creating a Slow sign for our house as a constant reminder of my 2020 theme.

Finding ways to relax, stay calm, and slow down.

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“Desiring less is even more valuable than owning less.” — Joshua Becker