In recent years, I’ve given up on creating a new years resolutions list. Mostly because, you know, I never followed them. I think “lose weight” has been a resolution since about 1990. For 2014 though, there are some more mental health related resolutions I’d like to make and stick to, more to help me stress less! They are:
Oh boy, is this a biggie. When I meal plan, I swear everything is just about stress free with the added bonus of everyone eating healthy meals. In the past I’ve planned for a month at a time which really did work well but I think I’ll stick to weekly as we often have some last minute interruptions to plans. The meal planning definitely makes me stress less! I use the meal planner pad from Kikki K:
No More News
Technically this is something I’ve done for about six months now, but I no longer watch or read news. I found it was triggering periods where I’d feel really blah, particularly when the stories involved children or animals being hurt in some way, or some kind of injustice. The final straw came when I read an article that upset me so much that Husband and I decided to configure our server firewall to disallow my computer access the news sites. I don’t care about celebrity news and if there’s something major I should know about, I’ll no doubt find out pretty quickly from Husband or a family member. And I can always check out the positive/good news sites!
Heavily Reduced Social Media and General Computer Distractions and Especially Never-Read-The-Comments
I’m not big on social media at all. It makes me feel very anti social, but I’ve always been a rebel like that. I have a Facebook account I forget to log in to these days, though I used to be quite active on it earlier in the year. I found that when I’d meet new people at an event, everyone started friending each other. So I felt obligated to do the same (which leads me to the next resolution of assertiveness, ha ha…) even though I didn’t know these people and I only wanted close friends and family on my fb. And then these people would start posting links to articles or comments that I really disagree with and in some cases found personally offensive, particularly when it referred to matters my family deals with. I found that these comments, images and whatnot really spoilt my mood and all by people I don’t consider buddies. So I nuked just about everyone and stripped it right back (though like I said now, I barely use it and prefer email!). I have also started cutting way down on my google+ hangouts. The hangouts are great but even with notifications turned off, I was still checking them far too often. If I know something is there, turning off notifications doesn’t stop me from checking! I’ve now removed myself from most of the hangouts and have kept family hangouts to a minimum (which are very low traffic anyway) and only one social event hangout. Already it feels so much better.
I’m not in to playing games on my computer or phone. I got as far as installing Angry Birds and quickly got bored with it so uninstalled it, so I’m thankful for that at least! But I am very easily distracted by computer stuff. A typical example would be I am doing something else (like housework) then stop to look up say, a recipe. While I’m looking up recipes, I might also refresh my blog reader. Oh look, six new blog posts to read! I’ll do that quickly. Each of those blog posts contain links. I read the links. My email pings. I check my email, google some information, reply. I check hangouts while I’m at the computer. There’s a discussion going on, I contribute to it… etc. And before I know it, something that should have taken five minutes at most has ballooned out past one hour.
Cutting down on this stuff helps too. I will be turning off all notification sounds, closing the door to the study, putting the phones on silent– this usually happens when I’m doing school stuff with the kids but if a friend or relative calls, I tend to answer it. I’m a worrywart like that, the last time I ignored the phone when it rang three times in fifteen minutes was someone calling to tell me a relative had passed away. If family are trying to contact us urgently, they now have other ways.
I found that when I wasn’t getting my stuff done because I ran out of time, it would usually always be a time management issue where I pretty much wasted time! Now, I’d rather make myself a cup of tea and settle down to do non-essential computer stuff.
Also, I will try harder to Never Read The Comments. Mostly because if it’s an article about something like veganism or homeschooling, many of the comments are either trolling, or genuine (in which case I get fired up). Remember folks, Never Read The Comments!
I like to imagine I’m confidently assertive but truthfully,I’m just a big old wuss who hates confrontation. I think I’m more assertive-after-the-fact. Like when I get really bad customer service somewhere and I’m too stunned to say anything because my brain is saying “did I just hear that no I must be wrong surely someone wouldn’t be that rude” sort of stuff. And five minutes later, when it’s often to late to say anything, I am fired up and figure out then what I should have said earlier. Whenever I have been assertive, it has ended badly. There have been times when I’ve had to stick up for myself and my family and no matter how polite or diplomatic I am, some people take it very badly or react in a fashion where I end up being public enemy number one over things like “you have the flu right now I know, but would you mind not kissing my baby while you’re sick? It’s just that I don’t want to risk him getting sick I’M SO SORRY DON’T HATE MEEEEE”. As a homeschooler and a vegan, I’ve had plenty of sillybilly comments made to me and most of the time it’s smile-change-the-subject. I am practicing feeling comfortable with saying “we find that homeschooling is the perfect fit for our family and has worked really well” and repeating it with a slightly firmer yet still polite tone if the comments keep coming. Ditto for being assertive where veganism is concerned! I usually answer “check out vegan body building” when people ask the protein question. So yep. Assertiveness is something I will try to be mindful of now.
Exercise is another one that is always on the list. Since I stopped going to the gym regularly, I must admit there has been a definite change in my body and mood, and not for the better! I do have the stuff at home to continue being active but the truth is I’m lazy. So I’m planning out some family fitness activities utilising the park and playground up the road.
More Raw and Green Juice!
I’ve said it here before (and here I am saying it again) that overall I feel so much better when my diet consists mainly of wholefoods, often raw. I’ve slacked off on the green juices/smoothies but I’m back with a vengeance now. The family have a cack-coloured juice every day which is the green plus carrot. I sleep better, I look better, I feel better!
They’re really the main issues I want to tackle in the new year and hopefully they’ll set the tone for the rest of the year. With other things, well, sure I’d like to stick to my organisation systems but I prefer not to sweat it when things don’t go according to plan. Life never goes according to plan!
So here’s to more realistic and mental-health positive goals for 2014!