It's a new year and it's already off to an eventful start. For those of us in Canada, especially Ontario, we had to deal with another lockdown.
I had great expectations for New Year's Eve, but COVID had other plans. It's alright. It's a pandemic; we adapt. I always set goals for each new year. 2020 was a relaxed and restful year for me, and I promised myself I would get back on my feet and do more in 2021 (Lol, I spoke too soon). This year, I’ve opened myself up to new opportunities and started personal projects that I had pushed to the corner of my mind.
There is such a stark difference between my 2020 and 2021. I went from sleeping long hours without feeling guilty to questioning my life choices when I chose to nap instead of study. I realize that 2021 is a different year, and I cannot approach it the same way I did in 2020. I have more responsibilities this year, but if I am not careful, I could experience burnout.
One thing I noticed that worked for me in 2020 was having a day of stillness. On one day of the week, I would turn off my notifications or let my phone's battery die. I would lock myself in my room and sleep or read books or write without interruption from anything else. It was never perfect because sometimes I wanted to know people missed me (news alert: they did not lol). Or when I checked my phone, I would see requests for things I did not want to deal with at the moment, but I still found them hard to ignore.
Anyways in those few hours where I freed myself from external interactions, I encountered peace. I remember one time I did it for three days (I responded to texts here and there, lol I'm not perfect y'all) , but there was a calmness that rested on me that even my friends could see.
I need to revisit those days of stillness.
I feel like I cannot take the time to be still because of my work load. Then I get into this intense space, where my mind begins to run “Oh my gosh, I have so much work to do, but I can’t stop, I need to do this and I still have to finish that, but I’m too tired, but this person needs this, and, and I and I...” I end up crashing, and watching Netflix instead.
In times like this, when I'm stressing about work, I always remember this conversation I had with my dad. My dad was in the washroom, and he received a phone call. Being the good daughter I am, I grabbed his phone and stood outside the washroom door shouting: "so and so is calling you."
And he said something to me, "Ata, that is why there is the option for missed call." (PS. if you call me, and I don't answer your call, my dad said it is okay to miss your call, lol).
I don't know if you're anything like me, but I am a bit impulsive. A thought or request can come in, and I will drop literally everything I am doing to attend to it. Most times, I do not feel good afterwards because by doing this, I put myself through unnecessary pressure. Something those hours of stillness taught me is the importance of protecting my peace. I like myself more when I am peaceful and not frazzled. Those hours allowed me to see what was important to me and what I could hold off on.
If you can take those extra days to be quiet and still, I implore you to. 2021 is like a fast-moving train; I feel like so many things are happening all at once. It is vital to protect your peace of mind in the midst of it all.
Here are a few tips for a successful day of stillness:
1. Let loved ones and those who contact you frequently know that you will be away from your phone. We don't want people worrying about your safety in a pandemic.
2. If you're able to turn off your phone, do so. If not, put it in "Do Not Disturb" mode and turn off notifications to all social media apps.
3. Lastly, have a plan for your quiet day. What do you plan on doing: reflecting, writing, reading, or sleeping? (Reading and sleeping are my favorites)
Prioritize these quiet times, pick a schedule and commit to it; maybe it's once a week, once a month, or a few days a year. Find a routine that works for you. I hope these times of stillness help you as they did me. I wish you a successful 2021 and I'll see you in the next post.