At the risk of beating a dead horse…2020 sucked. BRING ON 2021!
The upcoming new year brings with it hope. Preparing for the holiday season helped. The kids had a great Christmas, despite it being small. We live far away from family so we are used to small Christmases. My husband decorated the house nearly all by himself. Oh, he loves it, just loves putting up Christmas stuff, and I love that he loves it! I did the shopping and he did the decorating, and we ordered prepared food for every meal on Christmas Day because I didn’t want to cook. Not being a Scrooge. I cook almost every meal in this house so I deserve a break!
Making it through this past year as an artist and parent is both relieving and affirming. We homeschooled, we created, we adapted. Now with a vaccine on the horizon, God willing, things are looking up.
I’ve never been great at New Year’s resolutions, though I was very good about keeping my COVID resolution when I relaunched this blog at the beginning of lockdown. So I’m pretty proud of that and I feel encouraged to keep up with more projects. Especially since I renovated our basement all by myself last month AND replaced the floor in our kitchen! My motivation is back and I intend on keeping that ball rolling!
2021 has to be better than 2020. It just HAS to. And while we can’t control everything that happens outside of our homes, we can do our best within ourselves and our family units. With a little bit of daily effort, 2021 can be everything that 2020 was not. The effect of small changes will accumulate and before you know it, you’ll be happier and more productive!
Make the most of next year with these strategies. And you can start anytime. Don’t be discouraged because you’re starting in April instead of January. All that matters is that you make an effort. The rest will follow.
1. Drink more water.
This is one thing I can absolutely improve upon. I dropped my daily soda habit years ago, but I drink a lot of coffee. I used to follow the “pregnancy rule” of no more than 2 cups a day but lately it’s been more coffee than water, and I end up justifying it by saying that “coffee has water in it!” But c’mon now. We all know that’s ridiculous. So this year, I will go back to my “pregnancy rule” when it comes to coffee and make more of an effort to drink more water.
2. Smile more.
It sounds gross, I know. But you don’t have to smile for anyone but yourself. Find a way to add more smiles to your day. For me, watching a funny show or reading funny stories online makes me laugh and smile. Even if a silly Reddit thread is all you have time for, if it makes you smile, it will make you feel better. The better you feel, the better your day will be. Better days add up to a better year.
3. Have EXCITING goals!
It’s hard to get up and go to work and take care of the kids every day. If you have something to look forward to that is just for you, that makes getting up more exciting. What are some goals that you can accomplish within the year? Two big goals I had this year was finishing the basement and writing 2 posts per month consistently in this blog. The month it took to update our basement was so exciting. I planned and designed and budgeted and it was amazing. Now we have a nice, clean space for guests that doubles as an extra play room and movie room (thanks to a movie projector we received as a gift!) and that’s where I plan on putting a piano. As for this blog, I’ve absolutely written more than 2 posts per month on average and I’ve taken social media courses, coaching classes (to better help other parent artists), and improved my SEO and web design skills. Get those goals written down!
4. Get more sleep.
Another one of those things I need to stay on top of. As a creative person, I am wired to work late into the night. As a parent, I am exhausted by 10pm but I need my quiet time and then my creative time, and so I’ve developed a bad habit of staying up until 2 or 3 in the morning, and then having to get up by 7 with the toddler. Now, a toddler waking up at 7 is NOT the problem, it’s my own sleeping habits (I realize that some parents have toddlers who wake up FAR earlier and more often than that). The general minimum requirement for sleep for everyone is at least seven hours. I know I’m a better mom and person when I’ve rested and I’ve toed that line way too long. So, I will get more sleep this year!
5. Make friends.
Join some FB groups relevant to your life and/or your career. While I am in no hurry to start auditioning again, there are a few creative and theatre related FB groups that I’ve joined to keep up with the industry and perhaps make some new friends. One of the best pieces of advice that I live by was given to me at a songwriter’s clinic at Berklee College of Music. John Mayer was the keynote speaker and someone in the audience asked him about the best way to make industry contacts. He all but rolled his eyes at the term “making contacts” and said, very simply, “Don’t make contacts. Make friends.”
6. Use your commute to your advantage.
If you still commute, listen to foreign language CD’s, books on tape, learn some new music or reacquaint yourself with your audition book.
7. Learn something new.
You don’t have to be in school to learn something new. Everything you need to know you can find on YouTube. Where do you think I learned how to use a belt sander?
8. Make GUILT FREE time for yourself.
As mothers, we are riddled with guilt when we even think about making time for ourselves. Stop doing that. Making time for yourself is a critical part of every parent’s self-care. You cannot pour from an empty cup. Make sure you are fulfilled in other ways that don’t necessarily involve your children.
9. Keep a journal.
Better yet, a gratitude journal. There have been studies that practicing gratitude can improve your mental health. As parents, every day seems to stretch into the next. Keeping a journal can help you realize that every day comes with new lessons, challenges and joys.
10. Drop the obligations!
Especially the unfulfilling ones. This is probably the most important one on this list. Optional activities and people who drain your soul helps nobody. Spend time on things that matter to you and don’t let anyone make you feel guilty for it. Be assertive and say no.
Making 2021 better than 2020 won’t happen by accident. It takes intentional effort but with these small changes, you are sure to have a better year than what we’ve all had recently. The most important thing to keep in mind is that self-care and not selfish.