It is important to remember
regardless of my state of mind:
Happy for myself
Is not the only instance
Where I can be happy
Sad for myself
turns out to be the perfect opportunity
To offer a small sacrifice of
-Perfect Sacrifice. 31.03.2017 / 21:00.
I am always so anxious around this time of the year. I am short of breath, scared to reflect fully, in the fear of being overwhelmed with bad memories and thoughts. I am so ready and willing to enter new spaces/seasons as the best version of myself that I often become overwhelmed with how much I need to do. In summary, 2017 was a great year for me, so great that I am tempted to feel like years before this year I didn’t really live, I keep telling my friends that I was born for real in 2016. This was my most self-aware and raw year. I took risks, survived, rose again from defeat, battled with my tight chested anxiety and unlearned so much. I feel like 2017 was the year of shedding baggage, identifying my issues and taking the step to work (as tedious as it is) on them. I feel like spiritually and mentally, around the time of birthday dates and the end of year, there is so much going on. It is welcoming a shift in the atmosphere, and amongst the festivities of the season, it is in our best interest to manage and welcome this shift in time and space within our lives. I am no longer a believer in doing 101 last minute things and mantras that I didn’t do during the year in a rush to end the year well and feel like I can form new habits for 2018 overnight. I am boldly walking towards a life of honesty and consciousness within myself, so I came up with a list that I could practice and commit to in this last week made up of things that I have practiced this month.
- Avoid social media unless it is for self-betterment or business
Social media breaks are important. It seems so minuscule and overrated until you do it. I am constantly swamped with peoples’ emotions, problems, opinions and the weight of the sadness of the world when I am on social media. As a natural empath and someone who has always been intuitive and sensitive to the energy/feelings of others’ around me, it becomes so hard to not feel peoples’ sadness. And sadness is rife in the world so it will be evident on social media. Instagram is the home of comparison for me and this year I have disconnected from the app and avoided it in a big way. I understand that often we should learn to overcome the fire and come out of the other end unscathed. Trust me, that is my idealistic endpoint when it comes to social media: to be so full of self-love that I don’t compare myself to everyone and everything around me. But this (if it is possible) will not happen overnight and I will not continue walking into the fire and burning myself in the hopes that my clothes won’t catch alight. For now, I find strength in consciously avoiding these platforms and caring for myself through social media detox. I cannot allow myself to be too worried about my business accounts and personal accounts at such a sensitive time of reflection and shift in time. I find it distracting and suffocating; so I just delete apps or only check snapchat when I’m unwinding in the evening. Because this is something I have practiced all year my mind subconsciously knows when I am not in the mood to bear everyone’s opinions, moods and lifestyles. So sometimes I remember “oh I haven’t checked my Instagram/snapchat feed today” and my thumb hovers over the app widget and I go “meh” and don’t bother to open it. This is self-care for me.
- Reflecting/Journaling every day
I journal quite a bit because I think a lot and my mind gets so heavy and pregnant that if I don’t give birth in this way, I will eventually get anxious and overwhelmed. Journaling is just that for me, giving birth. I have set a target to write at least a page in my journal every day for the rest of the year. My journal prompts are very simple, and I will list them below. This helps me get down everything I want to explore about the year 2017 and what I am grateful for now, what I have learned and what I aim to do. I am lazy, but I am trying not to beat myself up about it because I do a lot in a day. So rather than fill out a page or three with my neatest handwriting; I am allowing myself to relax, so I form tables with short descriptive words or flow charts that express what I am feeling. It’s this sense of honesty and peaceful working that stops me from applying pressure to myself whilst also producing results.
I am also writing down 5-8 prayer points a day, this is my way of conversing with God and it really centers my prayers of thanks and what I pray for God to do/ instill in me. I think prayer is important and I want to actively make effort to converse with God in my own way, so what better way to journal a small prayer diary that I can use? This makes me feel good- like I have shifted a huge weight off my chest, because although I believe that God sees our hearts and hears our thoughts, I also firmly believe that it is an act of power to write things and say things aloud. (Almost like the idea of affirming out loud.)
- Podcast a day, an album a day
In the spirit of true reflection, I am also listening to all my favourite podcasts and albums that I listened to this year that helped shape and define my perspective and makes me feel good. Often we forget that we are allowed to feel good and treat our ears and minds. I usually listen in the morning, on my way to the library (this damn thesis) and it sets my day off right. I also listen to a cheeky one before bed whilst I am aggressively tidying up and decluttering my room. My favourite albums that I am revisiting this week include.
Sade-The ultimate collection- this album just defines my childhood and better days. My dad loved Sade and made me love her too, so I love to listen to her playful and soulful voice to get myself into a happy mood.
Sabrina Claudio- About time– Sabrina is a personal favourite of mine. Those that watch my youtube videos will probably know that I love her voice. Her songs always help me identify and better put into words how I feel about my love. Moreso, how I want my love to feel to transcend to others etc.
Ebenezer Obey– A legend in his field, This guy is bubble bath and decluttering music to me. It makes me feel more connected to a side of me that I am still trying to explore (my nationality). I feel at peace when I listen to Nigerian Afro Juju music. Also, another genre my dad introduced me to. I feel more motivated when listening to him.
Lauren Hill MTV unplugged– This album reminds me of one of my best friends, Sadiq. I remember when he introduced me to this album, the song “peace of mind” especially. I was in an emotionally turbulent stage in my life; living to please everyone but myself and it’s lovely to listen back to the album now, nearly 4 years later working from such a drastically different place in life. She shares some honest and self-defining truths in this album
- Doing the work and showing up for myself
As my good friend Tesi stated on twitter: I have entered “I cannot come and kill myself mode” in December. But I am also appreciating that work needs to be done on my dissertation so I am channelling most of my thoughts and energy into that these last few weeks before it is due. This is me showing up for myself and refusing to self-sabotage myself as I am often accustomed to doing subconsciously.
- Channelling an attitude of gratitude
Literally being grateful for everything that has propelled me and helped me grow this year. Sending random texts to friends and family. Buying random sentimental gifts for friends, and putting extra thought into Christmas gifts even with a limited budget. Encouraging a giving heart and expecting nothing in return is the best way to express gratitude this time of year. I am trying so hard to appreciate my successes this year, bad thoughts try to steal that from me often and overshadow my triumphs with. But channelling a spirit of gratitude helps roots me into a perfect position to start 2018 in.
Another additional way to end 2017 well and start 2018 on a high is by DECLUTTERING. Throwing away things that do not define or connect with you anymore. Decluttering your room, your home and being ruthless with it. I do this every few months and I find it so liberating. I find a sense of clarity afterward. Tidying your closet, getting rid of clothes and shoes, papers from secondary school does so much for your space and energy. Even decluttering your phone- delete his number, old text, old numbers for people you no longer speak to; photos and videos that you could do without; EMAILS. The idea behind decluttering is that you free yourself from the past and create space for new things to come in. Try it.
I hope you found this post useful and let me know what you do to start and end your year on a high!