Turn It Off!
People say we should use our phones less and interact with the world more. That’s super easy to say and very hard to practice in 2019 and even more so for me because my work is based ALL online. When people tell me they’re going on a social media hiatus, I am simultaneously jealous and roll my eyes. The luxury! When Instagram and Twitter and email are your job, there’s no hiatus, and that can be super difficult. To help put down the phone more, I’ve nearly turned off all notifications on my phone and trying to do more. Turning off alerts on group texts, and every text or phone call that isn’t 100% essential to life (so practically none of them) have been key to bringing down screen time. I’ve also recently increased my “Do Not Disturb” time (learn now here), rendering my phone silent and notification-less from 10PM till 10AM and I’ve made my phone silent if it’s locked. If it’s an emergency ya’ll, you’re gonna have to call my twice during those hours… or make it onto my favorites list which is like, six people and four of them I’m related to. Use these phone features if you haven’t, they’re magical!
This goes for social media and the TV too… no one needs to see the news on repeat. I’m trying to find the balance between being informed and being obsessed. Post 2016 Election I was obsessed, looking at the news first thing in the morning and checking in often. And while we do need to stay informed, it probably doesn’t need to happen every hour or pop-up on my phone whenever anything (and there’s a lot of those things) happening. You gotta take care of your sanity!
Eat Better and Move
Duh, Nikki. Duh. But it’s still a good reminder that if you’re feeling run down it’s better to eat the good stuff, than the bad stuff. I’ve been big into making soups and stews, and baked things to both warm me up, ward off the colds and coughs that keep going around, and stay light on my feet. I’ve also been using the Weight Watchers app to log all the food I eat… it adds up and it’s amazing to see it laid out every day, just what exactly you’ve put into your body. Lulls in mood and creativity also seem to be lessened when I make time to do something, anything, outside of my house (where I work) and that means putting time on the schedule for a yoga or spin class, or dinner with friends, or even walking around the blocks for a few minutes. Last year in January, I signed up for Class Pass and minus a few bumps in the road (a crazy late summer/fall), I’m still going. Class Pass is a subscription that gives you “points” to use at various participating gyms and studios in cities around the country. You can work out regardless of the location in most cases. Use my code HERE to try it out and get moola free!
Try Some Hygge
Hygge has been both the buzzword and the punch line for several years now, but the Danish term for “getting cozy” it legit, especially when your tank’s running low. I sit writing this from my couch, under a soft blanket, with a space heater pointed at my feet and some oils blasting from a diffuser. If I light a candle, I might get a Hygge Bingo! There’s something about winter and Hygge that go hand in hand. Perhaps in the weather, the darker days, and the longer nights, but I want to stay tucked in my apartment for days on end. And even in Los Angeles, where I live, the changes in weather and daylight, and the recent week long rain dump has made me want to stay inside and hide from everything. Maybe I will go light that candle now, and put on my PJs.
Make Your Own Creative Retreat
Time for some transparency, wanna know the real reason why I’m writing about how to refuel? Well, I just couldn’t come up with an idea on something to write for That’s Normal. Nothing is exciting, the impending doom of the (by all accounts, not great) Outlander finale is upon us, I’ve written mostly ever week for 10+ years, and well just the general state of the world has got me exactly 0% inspired. In recent days I’ve been searching for creativity retreats and even weekly groups to meet with. I’ve found this pricey list on Travel and Leisure with almost bucket-lost worthy retreats. I’ve also found Quilt, a LA-based sort of hybrid networking meets co-working, meets in-home connection groups that discuss everything from self-care to investing with women in my area. They’ve recently launched in several other US cities, and I need to get one of their meetings on my calendar. There are also plenty of similar groups like The Wing, and NeueHouse and I’m sure tons more around the world that serve as sort of creative hubs and places to listen and share ideas.
Not all creativity recharging endeavors have to cost a membership fee or be super expensive. Based on my love of things like embroidery and general crafting, I signed up for a class on the Brimfield Block, which is a recently discovered quilting pattern that uses English Paper Piecing. If I haven’t already lost you during that description, the point is that in trying to spend less time on electronics and more time refueling, I’m wanting to try my creative hand at things that are interesting and outside my comfort zone. Plus, something like hand sewing, or quilting in this case is about using creativity but in a different capacity than I normally use it. Now, I hope my mom and her sisters are ready for all my projects to be gifted to them… that or I gotta find a way to make this stuff more hip, so I’d actually put it in my home.
How About An App?
There’s something about feeling drained that both simultaneously makes you tired but also unable to sleep. Or it could be all those episodes of “My Favorite Murder” that I binged and now can’t sleep because I think the (now-incarcerated) Golden State Killer is lurking in the bushes under my second floor apartment. Guys, my irrational fears don’t have to make sense, just go with it! Plus, couple a holiday vacation at my parents house in a quiet neighborhood with my young (and loud) niece and nephew, along with end of the year stress, and you’ve got a disrupted sleep pattern. So I took to the App Store late one sleepless night to find a Sound Machine app and uncovered an app called Relax Melodies and not only did it have too many sleep sounds to name (including Monks chanting and Ren Faire worthy lutes), it has various Meditation and Breathing sequences, along with a section called “Sleep Moves” that guides you through pre-sleep “exercises” to get you ready for bed! After chatting about sleep and stress and creativity with a friend over dinner, she happily pulled out her phone and showed me an app she loves called Calm which has meditation and breathing exercises along with “sleep stories” to calm the mind. There are also tons of creativity apps, I’m currently sifting through to try. Check out this list on Bringing Creativity Back to Life from Cloud App, and this list from Huffington Post.
Get Out Of The House
This seems counterintuitive to refueling, right? Nope, sometimes you gotta leave to really top off the tank. Make plans with thoughtful, like-minded friends for dinner at a new restaurant, go on a hike, or a trip to a museum, or hang out at their house for a change of scenery. Sometimes sitting in silence with trusted friends is the best balm for life.
Now to practice what I preach!
And now… share your ideas with me!