Calm in January
I came across this lovely Link-up hosted by Deb, Sue, Donna and Jo, to assess your word of the year each month, and see your progress with it. I liked the idea although I hadn’t planned to review my word of the year so frequently – but I think it’s a good thing to do because it helps you to stay focused on your goal(s) of the year.
And now a month has passed and the dull month of January is almost over. My word of the year is calm – to create calm in my life, and to do my best to react to things around me being calm. I chose this word because 2021 was defined by worry, anxiety and disappointments – most of these related to Covid, but not only. This year HAS to be better, and I can control some of it.
How have I been doing so far?
I’m getting there. To me, January has been more about plans and preparations than anything else! But choosing calm as my focus of the year has brought more awareness, and that’s the first step. I’ve learned a lot about myself which will help me to manage my own reactions, and help me to remain calm or not worry more than I really have to.
But then there’s the c word
Covid is still a major cause of worry (perhaps THE cause of worry) for me, and January started with the largest Covid wave we’ve seen so far. It turned out this wave would be milder (in terms of much fewer deaths and ICU cases) and shorter, but everything was so uncertain at the beginning, and the large numbers were scary. I knew it would be a difficult time so I made a plan to avoid news and social media and instead indulge in my creative activities. When the Tony Rice guitar class crossed my path, I saw it as the perfect distraction. I can’t fix the pandemic and the uncertainty but I can choose to not think about it all the time and to do good inspiring things instead. This has been my strategy throughout the pandemic, but maybe it was a more conscious decision this time.
“Poof! Virus gone from 6 am!” Or what?
Something I’ve not yet been able to manage well is the anxiety that comes with the easing of Covid restrictions when the virus still feels like a threat. Last weekend, suddenly all restrictions were removed in Ireland, all at once. So now the pubs can be absolutely packed as if Covid never existed. I feel very uneasy about this. The only rules left are mask-wearing in retail, public transport, medical settings and similar, and isolation when you have symptoms.
Don’t get me wrong, I want hospitality to be open, but I think it’s too early to remove ALL restrictions. I still feel at risk and have too little information to not worry about getting more than cold-like symptoms, so I won’t be going to pubs or similar. But people started talking about going back to in-person meetings with the camera club, and I thought of many other situations like music sessions and more, where I’d have to say no because it wouldn’t feel safe. As long as there is still a large number of infected people, or until information comes out that makes me feel the risk is absolutely minimal to become severely ill from Covid, I will continue to worry and I won’t be comfortable going to indoor events. But we’re planning to see small groups of friends, either in their house or ours.
Is this the new normal (I absolutely hate that expression)? Will there never be a new normal where I can feel safe? This was extremely anxiety-inducing and I had some awful days before we at least decided to continue on Zoom with the camera club. Regarding other activities, time will tell.
Thankfully, I have supportive and sensible people around me – my husband is a hero so what I can do to manage this is to talk about it, keep doing what makes me happy, and keep avoiding reading more news than necessary.
I’m actively working on creating calm, in terms of a calm environment, decluttering my “shoulds” and my “have-to’s”, focusing on what matters most, and removing time thieves.
Blogging for the enjoyment only
When it comes to “shoulds”, after a stumbly time with blog plans before Christmas that eventually led to a total collapse with my interest in writing, I restarted this personal blog and decided to drop all other writing projects except the whiskey blog, even if I had told people I was going to do them. I still have my other domains and will use them if the inspiration comes back, but until then and even if it never happens, I’m 100% happy with only writing here and on the whiskey blog. I won’t put pressure on myself with blogging again, because it’s supposed to be fun and I’m determined to reclaim the fun with blogging.
Decluttering the house to create a cleaner, tidier home is a big thing for me in order to create calm. I’ve been working on this for periods. Now the next step is to fix up my home office which also serves as a storage area. We first wanted to build something ourselves but then I decided to get a desk and some Kallax pieces from IKEA to simplify everything. I think it will look very nice and finally I’ll get my computer away from the window.
In addition, my husband finally has expressed interest in getting rid of everything we don’t really use or that really matters. This is like a pretty fiddle tune to my ears! 😃 Decluttering is a work in progress and now when I’m not alone in it, there is more hope.
Focusing on one thing at a time
I always try to do too much at the same time. I mentioned it here, and it’s a major cause of my stress problem. With joining the guitar class, I decided to take a break from everything else and only focus on the guitar while the course lasts. It’s been a wonderful decision! I wasn’t making any money yet with my design anyway, and nothing bad will happen because I let it rest for a few weeks. Instead, it’s enabled me to relax, and focus enough to get results from my guitar practice and to build some confidence. I’ll try to make a plan for how to organise work in a similar way when I get back to it.
Camera club chores
I’ve been the competition administrator in the camera club since the autumn (I think?) of 2020. It’s given me a lot of positives but also a lot of stress because I’m a perfectionist and too worried about making mistakes. From June, I’m stepping down from that role. I’m happy to have done this job for a while, but now I need to leave it to someone else and make more time to enjoy my own photography.
Well, spring is coming soon! The 1st of February is St Brigid’s day which is, according to the ancient Irish tradition, considered the first day of spring. And even the weather doesn’t necessarily follow it, it gives me a nice feeling to call it spring in February.
We had some lovely mild days this week. I’ve been strolling in the garden and founds lots of buds and bulbs coming up. On Thursday my camera club friend came over for coffee and chat in the garden. Definitely NOT the last time we do that!
January has certainly been mostly about planning, thinking, and understanding myself better. But I feel happy about it, and I think I have some good things going on.
This post is also linked with Natalie’s Weekend Coffee Share.