Winter and I have a love-hate relationship. I've only recently (literally the last 2-3 years) been able to reconcile my disdain for the cold. Instead of focusing on the chill in the air and my lack of motivation to go outside, I've found that the countless hours indoors make winter the perfect time to obsessively pour over new ideas and and set plans into motion for the next quarter. I don't mind spending 12 hours a day researching, designing, or creating new content-- because where am I going in the dead of winter at dark:30 anyhow? Usually no place-- that's where.
A downside of all of that obsession is the occasional brain fog because of information or sensory overload. I know it's time to step away when my thoughts start to become scattered and I feel like I'm just working myself into a frenzy of circles. Here are a few things that I do to counterbalance myself when my obsessions start to take over my life, threaten my sanity and turn me into a moody, non-getting-dressed zombie.
Plan for the Future
The end of the year is the perfect time to reflect on all that you accomplished over the past year, and think about where you want to go in the coming months. The future comes one day at a time, so it's good to have an idea about where you're gonna be, and what you want or need to have accomplished in the next couple of days, weeks and months. Your plans can and often do change, but sketching it out makes for a good roadmap when things get twisted and turned around. I personally love a good checklist from day to day. For me, there's no better feeling than checking off accomplishments on a daily basis. It really helps me to put things into perspective when I'm down on myself about doing more or making "better progress" when I'm able to look back on week's worth of tasks and see that I made 20 steps (even if they're small ones) in the direction towards of the life of my dreams.
Do Something Creative
Whether you're grinding it out at a 9-5, working on building a brand, a business or launching a product, it's easy to start to get tunnel vision when working on a project that's super important to you. That's why giving yourself a break and taking time to do something fun, and non-work related can do wonders to recharge your batteries. Break out the paint, make some candles, take up knitting or whatever else you fancy. Any diversion from a non-stop grind can do wonders for your productivity when you feel like you've hit a wall.
Move That Body
I'm not the workout buff that I once was. However, I do recognize the need to workout the kinks that inevitably set in after hours typing and clicking away furiously at the computer. My preferred form of movement is yoga, and some times a fast dance break if I'm short on time. Crossfit may be your thing or maybe it's Tai Chi. Hey, do your thing. Exercise, in general is great for a good release of endorphins-- you know, the feel good hormone? And you'll probably find that your ability to focus will be way sharp when you make time to move that butt.
Treat Yo'self to a Spa Day
This is probably one of my favorite ways to rejuvenate my mind and body that's guaranteed to put me in a good frame of mind to go at my goals. A day at the spa is the ULTIMATE reset. I especially have a fondness for bathhouses where I can luxuriate for hours, and dip in and out of the sauna, or mineral bath between services. If I'm in my own city, the bathhouse is like a mini staycation (and don't let it be a 24 hour joint-- I'm setting up shop for the night). And anytime I go out of town I'm always checking for a place where I can go be naked (hopefully) and unwind.
Create a Vision Board
Vision boards are for dreamers and doers like you! My personal love for vision boarding on Pinterest CANNOT be overstated. I used to create actual physical boards, but for me, Pinterest is like vision boarding on crack. I have a board dedicated to every thing that I consider important in life, from art to books to business to recipes to my future mommyhood plans. If you want to really know me and what life I'm about, the heart of The Sassy Nation is all up on Pinterest. For visual folks, like myself, vision boarding is a great outlet to project ones desires into the universe, then have a space to go revisit those dreams often.
Whether you read to learn something or for sheer pleasure, reading is something that you can do when you want to escape your life for 15 minutes or several hours at a time. I'll never forget the day I realized that I actually could read and understand concepts in the adult world and not just my little collection of See Jane Run books. My little 6 year old mind was blown and my long-term love affair with books (and great escapes) was set into motion. Books and I had some off seasons where I just neglected to make time for my love, but last year I set a goal for myself to read 1 book per month, which led to 1 book per week-- and just like that books and I were back in love again. Reading make travel through time and the minds of so many fascinating people and worlds completely possible. And because I don't finish books that don't hold my attention, I've haven't read anything that I've regretted in years. If something isn't jamming with me I simply put it down and move on to something else more deserving of my time and attention.
Take an online class or tutorial
One of the great joys of the Internet world, to me, is the ability to learn online. Like, literally-- anything your want to access is there for your consumption and dendrite growing pleasure. I can spend hours on Youtube watching dope makeup tutorials, or learning how to operate my new camera. When I decided to get serious about building and customizing websites, I went right to an online learning platform, and in a couple of days I know how to set my joint up from scratch the way a web developer would do it. Online course content is a friend to the introverted nerd that is accessible right from the comfort of your own home. And you never know, you just might learn something that you can connect back to that project or life goal that you've committed yourself to.
Sometimes we can get so busy working to make our lives better, it's easy to forget that connection with others outside of our immediate circle is a necessary, fulfilling part of life. It's good to get out of our little bubbles and do-good in the world. Whether you're doing mission work at your church, volunteering for a local organization or simply clearing out your closet to donate gently used items, giving to others feels amazing and takes the focus off of self and whatever you're currently wrapped up in. I used to play this game where I'd look for opportunities to pay kindness forward without ever mentioning it to others or expecting anything in return. I'd most often do stuff for strangers, and in secret whenever possible, because I knew there was very little chance that they could thank me or attempt to repay the gesture. I found that to be deeply satisfying knowing that I planted a seed of kindness and hopefully spread a little light into the world.
Spend Time with Someone You Love
One of my favorite things to do is a bunch of nothing with friends. There's something about just being in close proximity of another person, the bestie or a lover, and just chillaxing. If you're at the house, naps are a perfectly acceptable way to bond-- wine and meaningful conversation is also encouraged. If I have to go out, a late brunch is a surefire way to lure me into the cold. Nothing says chill mode like syrupy waffles and mimosas with good company. Whatever you and your peeps like to do, doing it together makes things all the more better.
Pick up a hobby
Is there something that you used to love to do but don't make the time for anymore? A hobby can be a fun diversion from your everyday grind. Who says you're too old to play the clarinet? When did putting together model cars become unimportant to you? Hobbies are like playtime for adults. And exactly when is the last time you did something just for the fun of it? A hobby is just that-- something that you can, and should do for pure enjoyment, then just watch your mental roadblock when it comes to more serious tasks crumble away.
Winter is the perfect time to lay low and get sh*t done. However, in order to sustain one's focus and work at a high-level, knowing how and when to lay low is essential to bossing up.