2020 feels like the straight up future and it is freaking me out. Happy new year friends! You might be starting this new year weary or hopeful or grieving or trudging through dark wilderness, tired or joyful or frustrated. Wherever you are, I hope you feel supported and I truly hope 2020 holds so many moments of joy and calm, magic and beauty for you.

Some years I set goals, find words, create plans, dream dreams. Some years I process the previous year hard and some years I want to move on so, so fast. This year I just… feel settled into a rhythm of attempting to process and heal (two very different and very painful things), living slow and calm and letting each day unfold without trying to desperately control the direction it goes. I tend to run through life, clinging to control and plans and moments; feeling a sense of low key constant panic that I need to do more, make more, go more, obtain visible results more, dream more, read more. I tend to not find the balance between healthy goals and desperate finish lines, overreacting and overreaching to create the perfect moment, holiday, season, day. And if I feel the “perfect” day looming in front of me, like I desperately want, I get panicked that it will all explode and a tragedy will occur- thanks to PTSD and anxiety. See? This is exhausting just writing it out let alone living it haha. SO. I am starting 2020 with a word- calm. I want to be calm. I want to breathe calm. I want to let go of the idea that I can even plan my calm moments- and just let them happen slowly and happily and artfully. I want to speak calmly. I want to feel calmness surround me like… like a warm sun around a tree. Still and slow and wrapped in quiet light. Like a syrup of joy, slowly seeping through the dusty corners of my house; spreading across my life so everywhere I look or move or go, there’s a remnant, a taste of this simple sweetness of calm.

I’d love to share a few quick, practical ways I have written down to slowly draw out this calm living. I’m positive they will change as the year goes on and we live life, but for now these are my January words, actions, ideas. If they sound like they might help you too or are things you already do- I’d love to know in the comments! I’d also love to know any ways YOU bring calm, live calm, seek calm.

  1. Y’all know I love a good organized drawer, to purge old junk weekly and keep things pretty minimal around my house. Too much stuff and clutter feeds my anxiety and makes me feel…not calm. So for January I am implementing a fun new rule my bestie Chrissy told me about-if you can replace something you don’t regularly use for under 20 dollars, within a 20 minute drive and in 20 minutes shopping time or less, then that’s a good sign you can get rid of it. This rule has actually helped me buy LESS, simplify more and truly think about if an item I own is valuable, useful or needed. I think there’s a healthy and needed balance for everyone’s homes and only YOU can decide what that truly needs to be. For me, it’s definitely having less clutter and focusing more on things like shopping my own closet, creating new outfits, rearranging artwork I already have to freshen a space, or repainting a piece of furniture for something “new”.
  2. The biggest area of unrest and anxiety and clutter for me is my mind. Turns out, you gotta exercise it just as much as a new habit, an actual muscle, a room you have to clean and change and maintain. One thing I am repeating daily, sometimes hourly, is “If I can imagine the worst case scenario, I can imagine the best. Both are possible worlds. One is just harder than the other to do sometimes”. I am a PROFESSIONAL level worrier and planner for the absolute worst case scenario. While part of this is just who I am intrinsically, part of it is wholly and utterly unhealthy as I tiptoe through my days so nervous for “the other shoe to drop”. I am as prepared as I can be for bad news- good days, beautiful news, happy moments feel foreign and scary after dealing with trauma and PTSD. But I am growing firm in the belief that I must fight the doomsday mentality. That you and I are able to, deserve to and GOING TO experience good and beautiful and hopeful things. However scary it is to hope. S0. Every day, reminding myself and slowly trying to train my brain to imagine the best case scenario first- and logically work off of that instead of emotionally and exhaustingly jumping immediately to the worst possible scenario. I’d love any tips y’all may have on this too- how do you battle anxiety, those intrusive thoughts or whatever tries to steal the calm in your mind?
  3. Another thing you’ll find if you know me for half a minute is that ya girl LOVES a list. I have lists of goals, books to read, things to do, lists within lists, a survival kit list, a list of big picture goals and small picture goals and daily goals. I should probably purge my lists to be honest HA. But- they keep my messy brain organized ish and help me flow and process and grow. One list I’m awful at making is the kind that doesn’t necessarily yield visible, tangible results- a list of things that are working. Going right. I hesitate to call it a thankfulness list because that sounds hella cheesy but it’s fine. That’s basically what it is- a list of the things I have right now, that are beautiful and good and simple and enough. A list of things that are working, that bring joy, that make life easier, that make life calmer. Today I added “a real bathtub, good therapy for my kids, hot coffee every morning, a car that works”. Some of these I can control, some I cannot. Some might change at any moment, some might go away. But right now- they are good, they are here, they are simple joys and slow bits of calm.

Alright fam. Let’s start 2020 with only progress- not deadlines. Slow is ok. Simple is ok. Progress is always possible, without always needing a giant goal or desperate deadline. I hope these little ways I’m attempting to bring calm to my own life might give you more inspiration or ideas to find, create or discover what YOU need in 2020. And if that’s just an encouraging word or a lil community, I’m here. Thanks for starting this 2020 journey with me!