Life Update: Practicing Intention in 2019

Happy New Year! It’s been a minute. :)

I love and hate this time of year. I love the newness of each year and the motivation it brings, but could do without the bitter cold and early dark nights. It is so rejuvenating and exhausting at once. To counterbalance these two things, I’ve been weaving intention into my day as much as possible. I teach my students to be mindful and self-compassionate, but do I really practice it? Not as much as I should. It is sometimes easier to be nice and thoughtful to others than it is to ourselves, and I am intentionally confronting this in 2019.

Looking optimistically at my 28th year and 2019 | PC: Wright Photographs

Looking optimistically at my 28th year and 2019 | PC: Wright Photographs

This shift in thinking was inspired by a keynote I heard at a conference this fall about self-care. Such a buzzword, but what does it mean?!?! Before I went to this conference, I thought of self-care very broadly - maybe adding a face mask into my evening routine or giving myself an extra hour of sleep on the weekends. That’s self-care, right? Yes and no. The keynote speakers broke self-care into domains and this was groundbreaking to me. I love compartmentalizing and this really helped me start to confront what I was doing and what I needed to start doing.

We all live fast-paced, busy, stressful lives, and when we don’t take care of ourselves, it makes it very difficult to do our daily activities well. Self-Care is the intentional act of taking care of yourself.

There are many ways we can do this:

  • Physical: Deep breathing, staying hydrated, eating nourishing foods, sleeping 7-9 hours a night, moving our bodies regularly

  • Psychological: Speaking kindly to ourselves, practicing self-awareness by noticing how we are feeling, acknowledging the ways we are not feeling good or confident

  • Social: Caring for the people you care about, making time for people who bring joy to our lives, showing grace and forgiveness to others, removing people who do not bring us joy

  • Spiritual: Finding meaning in our lives, expressing our creativity through our chosen mediums, celebrating life, finding ways to love what we are doing

  • Intellectual: Attending events, visiting museums or exhibits, having stimulating conversations, reading, carefully selecting movies and television shows that we watch

Looking at this list, it became clear to me where I was excelling and where I was not. This year, I based my resolutions around self-care and it has made a great impact on every day - I am much more intentional in living and investing my time. Here is a small glimpse of my goals for the year -

  • Physical

    • 3 vegetarian days/week

    • Practice yoga 4-5 days/week

  • Psychological

    • Weekly goal setting

  • Social

    • Eating dinner at the table with Nick and putting together a puzzle or playing a board game

  • Spiritual

    • Gaining a new skill or hobby (currently exploring embroidery!)

    • Visit 3 new places

  • Intellectual

    • Read 28 books and watch 28 movies (documentaries or critically acclaimed)

To keep myself accountable, I keep small notebook with a weekly habit tracker of around ten things I would like to do every day or every other day. It’s a little chart and I put a checkmark for each day I do it. Here’s what that looks like:

Habit | Sun. | Mon. | Tues. | Wed. | Thurs. | Fri. | Sat.

Read 30+ min. X X X X X

Embroidered X X X X X

No $ Spent X X X X

Yoga X X X X X

Spousal support in these goals has definitely made them more attainable. Nick gave up television for 2019, which has been congruent to my social goal. Instead of watching television on our couch over dinner, we have been sitting at our table putting together jigsaw puzzles. This makes dinner more of a mindful experience too! While I am at the yoga studio in the evenings, he puts an extra hour toward his research. If he does this every day, it adds up to an extra 9 weeks of work. Small investments of time go a long way!

We make a cute team #LickManderson | PC: Wright Photographs

We make a cute team #LickManderson | PC: Wright Photographs

“you [have to] start romanticizing your life. you [have to] start believing your morning commute is cute and fun, that every cup of coffee is the best you’ve had, [and] that even the smallest and most mundane things are exciting and new. you have to, because that’s when you start truly living. that’s when you look forward to every day.” @falastinniya on tumblr

This blog post is atypical for me, but I wanted to stop in and say hi - I’m still here, but you may see less of me through Letters from Lindsey this year. Instagram is not a source of joy for me and the new screen time limits you can set up on iPhones has been a great blessing in disguise. :) This blog post is also a fuse between my creative and professional life - I teach a weekly self-care and coping skills group and I had an opportunity to share how I do that here! I hope it is helpful to you too. Let’s make 2019 the year of JVN learning to ice skate and the year that we learn to love ourselves even more.