I have a problem... I don't think I have been thinking for myself for a while now. It all started when I realized that I didn't like the music I was listening to as I was going from station to station in my car a little while back. I felt like I hadn't "discovered" a song in over a decade that wasn't already playing over the radio and through everyone's heads and that started to bother me. I used to love music. I used to buy albums and my favorite song was not always the A track... or even B track.
This lead to other realizations. My wedding, my house, my car, my clothes. How influenced was I becoming by others? By the media? I don't think I was always this type of person, one that was not able to be herself! When did this all start?
It might have something to do with social media. We are let into so many peoples' lives and sometimes that is a good thing, like for helpful hints or tips, but sometimes we can start comparing ourselves to others and that is a slippery slope. We become a nation of copycats and sheep and keeping up with the Joneses as your neighbor gets inflated to everyone you have ever known in your whole life. In the past, a simple call to your mom about why your baby is crying is now suddenly turned into hours of online research because there is just TOO MUCH DAMN INFORMATION AVAILABLE!
Taking on too much is also an issue. We think we can have it all because so and so has it all. They work and workout and have a clean house and even put elf on the shelf in the cutest little positions for their darling children says their pictures! So, that slippery slope comes in and knocks us on our asses. In my reality I am tired, pennyless, childless, anxious, and could lose a few pounds. But as my coworker says, nothing is ever as good or as bad as it seems, and it isn't.
Back to not only just having it all, but it is all at our fingertips! Recipes, directions, phone numbers, to do lists... we have conditioned ourselves to be able to turn on a crockpot and do three times the errands of our parents, and we just try to take on more and more like an insatiable creature. My sister and I laugh that my mom will tell us her morning is just "too full" to do anything. She says she has to pay bills and go to the post office. That woman goes to the post office more than anyone I know, and I don't think I have been to one since I had to drop off a return to Amazon.com a year ago, but she has a point.
My mother sets aside all morning to pay bills and go to the post office while these are things that I do during my lunch hour at work and from the comfort of my own desk. Automatic bill pay, online shopping, emails... all things that are keeping me from getting fresh air, sunshine, steps in, and speaking to people. Oh, and keeping me from a truly "unplugged" vacation. What is this going to do to our generation?!
All of this brings me to the point of this whole post, which is to take some time to define my New Year's Resolution - to decrease stress. This is a complicated thing to try to accomplish (which sort of diminishes the whole "less stress" thing, don't ya think?!?) but I am going to try my best. I think implementing the following would be a great start to the new year.
1. Stop being so plugged into social media and frivolous news.
Yes. This. I run into complete strangers that know more about my life than my father does, simply because he does not have facebook. I have pared down my friends list and removed all picture albums over a year old. I will continue to do this over the coming years and be more discerning of what I share and what I don't. I heard once that for an entire year, on someone's birthday, that is when you can decide if you want to keep them as friends or not since it will go through each person day by day for the next year... not a bad idea!
2. Stop worrying about what others think of you.
3. Stop being a stranger.
My mom once told me that if she ever gets a grumpy cashier, it becomes her goal to make them laugh or smile. I love that sentiment. It's easy to do and sometimes making others smile is the best way to put a grin on your own face. I want to call my friends and family more. Spending time with people that I WANT TO spend time with is a start.
4. Stop saying “yes” all the time & get more sleep.
I have already started implementing this one... and it is a good feeling. When saying yes will negatively affect an aspect of your life; like sleep, anxiety, procrastination, money, etc., then say no! I also need to personally start going to bed a half an hour before I actually want to be asleep. Since when has getting up from the tv, brushing teeth, washing face, contacts, pajamas, moving laundry, letting the dog out, etc. taken only a minute.