Self Care in the New Year: Back to Life, Back to Reality

Well hello again, Y/N⁠—happy 2020! So, I am a Gen-X’er,  hailing from the ancient days of cassingles and acid washed, tight-rolled jeans. In 1989, the band Soul II Soul released a song that pops into my head to this very day⁠—”Back to Life”. A good beat, smooth af vocals, earworm-worthy in every way.

And now that I’m back to work after the holiday break, the song loops in my head and rings with relevance all these years later. The holidays here in the U.S., for many, are a liminal space. Even if you are working, it’s not the same flavor of “working” as other times of year. Projects, workflows, customers, tasks gain a strange mix of urgency and hazy-lazy. I’ve worked a wide variety of jobs over my lifetime: cashier in a variety of retail outlets, barista, legal clerk, temp agencies, teaching, administrative stuff, editing. In every one of these disparate jobs, the Holiday Time Vortex applied. Like the olden dank meme says, I tumble out of them “confused, full of cheese, unsure of the day of the week.”

Then, suddenly, I find myself “back to life, back to reality, back to the here and now.” Work continues apace, sorta. Routines reassert themselves, or I forge new ones. Usually. Sometimes, though, it’s not that easy. Post-holidays malaise can carry into daily life in surprising ways. Like, forgetting to actually cook nourishing food or shop for said food. Staying up till 3 a.m. staring at a screen like I don’t actually have to haul my @ss into the office the next day.

Another extreme of non-routine exists: Resolutions Zealotry. I have plans! I have goals! I have agency! Yes, yes, and heck yeah, you do. But you also have only so much time and energy (by you, I mean me, and anyone else who does this). It’s easy to slump into feeling defeated and unsuccessful when the millions of well-meaning goals we set are left unchecked in those shiny new planners. I have to ask myself, what are some goals I can let go, and which ones can I keep and actually accomplish in a way that alleviates rather than causes stress? For me, meal-planning is a big one this month. Simple meals, allowing myself pre-packaged ingredients but things I will cook, that will not leave me feeling that just-ate-a-box-of-cheezysnacks yuck.

It’s a simple thing, but it supports my health which supports my writing, my life.

So, dear Y/N, what are some small, check-offable goals that will bring you back to the here and now?

Here’s wishing you all a New Year filled with peace, light, and every good thing…thanks for reading!