We're starting to catch on. Overall we're becoming savvier.
We're starting to understand that resolutions don't have a whole lot of meaning if you make them just to make them -- or because you think you're supposed to.
Especially if you're trying to pile on more duties, obligations, and responsibilities to an already overstuffed, over-stressed, and jam-packed life.
Who's got room for that?
So not only do you end up further away from that goal you committed to, but on top of that you're pissed off at yourself for backing down on yet another self-made promise.
Next thing you know, that well-intention-ed New Year's Resolution has turned into a double whammy of additional stress in your life.
Okay we're starting to get it:
Doing more is not the solution.
But it's not as simple as just doing less either. It's not just about subtraction. Trust me. I tried that, too.
When I was feeling burnt out, I would give myself permission to just "be lazy" at home or on the couch. But that tended to backfire on me as well.
Ten hours later and 13 episodes into a Netflix binge-watching session, I would find myself feeling guilty -- like I was doing something wrong the whole time. It kept me from truly enjoying my relaxation attempts, and it certainly didn't refresh me.
That's when I realized that de-stressing is more than just a matter of taking breaks and ceasing your normal chores and activities.
It also matters what you are feeding yourself in the meantime -- what you choose as a substitute for the time you may have otherwise spent mindlessly scrolling through your Facebook news feed (or other activities that put the guilty in the term guilty pleasure).
So what's the solution? If you ask me, it's not any one thing. In fact you can approach it from multiple angles:
- Do less.
- Stress (way) less.
- Stand still more. Long enough to catch your breath.
- Then when you're ready, feed yourself. Fill yourself back up with whatever you need at that particular point.
Feeling caged in, stagnant, stuck in a certain place in your life (whether geographically or metaphorically)? Get out. Find different scenery. Change your environment. Transform your state. Smell different air. Tickle your taste buds a different color. Pop in a new soundtrack.
Feeling the weight of all the things you haven't gotten to, all the loops still left open, all the stress of the plates in the air that need spinning? Set them down. Give yourself permission to let yourself stand still and be wherever you are.
That is my double-dog dare for you for 2015:
Do less. Be more.
Imagine what would happen if just one day a week you practiced doing less and being more? It's actually easier than you think.
Here Are 62 Ways To Help You Make That A Reality:
- 1. Ditch the itinerary. Take the day as it comes.
- 2. Ditch the decision-making. Let your mind wander away for a bit, and you'll be shocked at how easy your decision becomes.
- 3. Ditch the solution-based thinking. Rest that beautiful brain of yours.
- 4. Ditch the criticism, and harsh judgments about yourself. Vow to treat yourself like your own personal B.F.F . That inner-critic can be brutal.
- 5. Ditch the boundaries, constraints, and rules that you normally place upon yourself. Save those time, logistic, and creative constraints for the other six days of the week.
- 6. Ditch the wire. Unplug from technology, make yourself unreachable, or switch that phone off. It's amazing what happens next.
- 7. Ditch the guilt. What you did or didn't do is a-okay.
- 8. Ditch the shame. Who or where you are right now is exactly where you're 'supposed to' be.
- 9. Ditch the blame. Reasons, justifications, explanations, or assigning fault won't change what happened. Just accept it and let it be there.
- 10. Ditch the comparison. What you should'a, would'a, could'a done. Who or where you should be, would be, could be by now. What he's doing. What she's doing. What they're doing. It doesn't have to make a difference to you.
- 11. Rest your brain. Decision-making, problem-solving, communication, movement, making sure you're alive. It's got a lot on its plate. Let it catch up.
- 12. Free your mind. Feelings. Emotions. Thoughts. Words. Internal conversations. They are happening all the time.
- 13. Release your heart. That tug coming from yourself or from someone else. Give your heart a day to rest.
- 14. Feed your soul. It's seeking connection, spirituality, culture, self-actualization, growth, evolution, belonging. Listen to it. It's always telling you something.
- 15. Oil your joints. They move your body and create motion. Just like the Tin-Man did, those joints of yours need some love.
- 16. Chat with your muscles. They move your joints and create power and force every time you move. Treat them to some rejuvenation.
- 17. Talk to your tissues. They pad, protect, buffer, and connect you to the rest of yourself. Your fascia, your fat, and everything in between can partake in conversations. Learn how right here.
- 18. Acknowledge your organs. They pump, pulse, inhale, exhale, regulate, process, digest, and 'keep a watchful eye' 24/7. Those little workhorses need a break too.
- 19. Hone in your senses. Listen to glorious music. Feel the sand under your toes. Experience delicious aromas. They sky is the limit when it comes to tickling your senses. There's the five you learned about when you were a kid, and then a bunch of others that comprise your sensory system (like detecting balance, temperature, pressure, and pain). Play around.
- 20. Feed your gut. It's responsible for more than just digestion. It plays a major role in mood and well-being. Fuel your body as well as your hunger.
- 21. Connect through conversation. There's nothing quite like connecting with your words, your thoughts, your beliefs. Hear and be heard. Listen and speak.
- 22. Actually LOL. (That means "laugh out loud" if you're reading this, mom.) Whether it's recalling old memories with a friend or giggling over a "That's what she said joke," laughter lights you up and sets you free.
- 23. Connect intimately. You can create intimacy with or without sex.
- 24. Have an orgasm. Need I say more?
- 25. Cuddle or spoon. You never need an excuse to cuddle. Or spoon.
- 26. Connect with your body. Your body is your partner-in crime for the rest of your life whether you like it or not, so if you need to, start waving the white flag and talk to it.
- 27. Connect with your senses. (See #19)
- 28. Connect with your soul, your spirituality, your faith, or your core values. Get grounded. Connect with your truest self, your connection to the universe, and the parts of you that make your spirit fly.
- 29. Connect with your well-being, your mood, your happiness. It's always nice to connect with others, but being able to find your own 'brand' of happiness all by your lonesome is priceless.
- 30. Connect with your creativity. You're never too old, too busy, or too rusty to break out some watercolors, belt out a karaoke tune, put pen to paper, dance, create, or pull your own magic out of thin air.
- 31. Connect with nature. Fresh air. Cool breeze on your face. A change of scenery or altitude. And a little self-reminder that this planet we call Earth is truly a miraculous wonder.
- 32. Connect with animals. Because we all could learn a thing or two about ourselves simply from being around animals. Mammals especially.
- 33. Connect with movement. Most people don't realize how precious their bodies are until it's injured or taken away in some capacity. You don't need a planned workout or anything formal to move your body the way it was designed to move. Dance like no one's watching, run around outside like a carefree child, or simply connect in sync with every inhale and exhale. Humans were designed to move.
- 34. Dance: (Please refer to #33)
- 35. Connect with music. Because the rhythm is gonna get you.
- 36. Make a list of everything that you can do in two minutes or less. If it only takes two minutes, you'll get more out of it than you put in, and two-minute tasks can really add up.
- 37. Batch, chunk, and plan your tasks and to-dos for maximal efficiency for the future. Put like tasks with like tasks, and set your brain up for more focused work in the future.
- 38. Organize, clean, Feng Shui, rearrange, create good vibes in your environments. It's amazing how a clean, organized environment can change your state of mind.
- 39. Remind yourself, recount, or recall things you may have forgotten. It's impossible to remember every thought, task, or ah-ha without a little reminder or trigger to help you out.
- 40. Decide that today's the day to forgive yourself. No you don't need to keep punishing yourself.
- 41. Decide that today's the day to forgive someone else. Perhaps it's finally time.
- 42. Declare that today's a new day. A cat nap or a good night's sleep can make any day seem like Day 1 again.
- 43. Decide that today's the first day of a new week. Fresh starts can renew us. And no it doesn't have to start on a Monday.
- 44. Hit the reset button and declare it a new month, a new year, or any new allotment of time that moves you. We all have those periods of time we want to wipe clean or start fresh on. You don't need to wait for December 31st to roll around to make that happen.
- 45. Hit the reset button on your relationship with someone else. Sometimes it's necessary, whether it's a beginning or an end.
- 46. Hit the reset button on your relationship with yourself. You can be whoever and whatever you say you are. Draw the proverbial line in the sand (whether it's marking a beginning or an end) and start being who you truly are and truly want to be.
- 47. Give yourself permission to spend time exploring. You don't need to know why or where it's heading. Let yourself be curious and interested.
- 48. Give yourself permission to say no.
- 49. Give yourself permission to not please everyone. It's a great opportunity to ask yourself what pleases you.
- 50. Give yourself permission to resign or walk away. It doesn't make you a quitter.
- 51. Give yourself permission to press pause on something you need a break from. You can always press play again when you're ready.
- 52. Give yourself permission to act like a kid. Let the kid who lives inside of you (who lives inside all of us) come out.
- 53. Give yourself permission to play. Don't worry whether or not you look good, look cool, or perform well at it. Just play to play.
- 54, Give yourself permission to be silent.
- 55, Give yourself permission to be still.
- 56, Give yourself permission to be plenty. You've done enough. You've given enough. You are enough. You're plenty.
- 57. Give yourself permission to feel beautiful, desirable, lovable, and wanted. Nope it doesn't make you cocky or overly confident.
- 58. Give yourself permission to live powerfully, passionately, and purposefully. Don't worry if it makes you seem dreamy, lofty, or weird.
- 59. Give yourself permission to create something. You have some sort of creativity within you. We all do. You just need to find it.
- 60. Give yourself permission not to explain yourself. You don't have to feel like you owe anyone anything.
- 61. Give yourself permission to do everything on this list in your own time, as it serves your life.
- 62. Give yourself permission to just be. Just be and breathe.
Bottom line: Most of us don't have the space in our lives to go make extra commitments, promises, or resolutions.
For a lot of you, doing so would simply add more stress to your life.
So what if 2015 really was different for you?
What if you stressed less?
What if you filled your cup back up, little by little, drop by drop, week by week?
What if you created connection in your life that didn't involve your smartphone?
What if you divided and conquered the duties in your life instead of letting your life divide you?
What if you hit the reset button and gave yourself a fresh start or perspective?
What if you gave yourself permission to simply let yourself live -- to experience all the fun and possibility in your life that exists outside of all the stress and running around?
What if you simply decided to do less and be more?
I double-dog dare ya!
Leanne Ellington is a writer, a mad scientist, a storyteller, an ambidextrous hoolah-hooper, and wholeheartedly believes that peanut butter should become the fifth food group. Her career started after she personally lost over 100 lb. of fat and then went on to help other women do the same thing through her weekly television segments, award-winning corporate wellness programs, and women's fitness studio.
Although weight loss was her main driver initially, major spine surgery and the face-off between her "fat head" and "skinny head" took her on a journey she could have never predicted, and she became a spokeswoman for women all over the world shunning "body image as usual". You can join in on the conversation with her growing community of women over at How to Ditch the Bitch.