Self-care Starter Kit

Last weekend I went to the mall to buy a pair of jeans. I had a goal and I knew what color and what style I only wanted. I went straight to the jeans section and only fixed my eyes on those that were within my preference. For the first time, I was able to buy a pair of jeans in less than an hour, and with less assistance. It was, by far, the best shopping experience I can remember. Honestly, I hate shopping and I especially dread having to shop for clothes, so for me to have a good time while shopping, now that’s a story.

This year has been incredibly hard for me. Each day is a constant struggle. Each day I have to put on my better self so I can survive the day. One day at a time. My heart and my spirit are too overwhelmed and sad to even make the smallest decisions. There have been so many changes within me that I had been too exhausted to even keep track. One thing, though that I am fully aware of is how early this year, I lost an appetite for color. I found that colorful things made me sadder, and black and dark stuff have never been more beautiful to me than they do now. So I practised a bit of self-care by doing away with things of color. I got rid of all my colored shirts and restocked my wardrobe with plain shirts of the same colors. Now, I only wear dark colors, specifically black, dark blue, gray, and sometimes, dark green. That’s it!

When I shopped for a pair of jeans last weekend, I only wanted black. That simple choice made all the difference in the world. It cut my shopping time. It narrowed down my choices. It allowed me to focus. And it made all the difference in the world. It was one thing that I never had to invest so much energy or so much brain power on. I have never been freer.

It amazed me how a simple change in wardrobe style or color preference made a huge difference in my life. Of course, this strategy is not entirely original. Mark Zuckerberg and Steve Jobs have both shared why they only wear one color or one style of clothing. About the same time, I also read about the concept of Decision Fatigue and the Science of Simplicity to further support the idea. I thought the point made really great sense, but it was just boring, and yes, I am no genius anywhere near their caliber. Little did I know, those ideas were already embedded in my brain, and my subconscious probably tapped those ideas to help me preserve my sanity at a time when I am so down low. Thank God for that!

I realized that I am a responsible person. My mother raised, taught, influenced, and trained me well. Although I am one who has depressive tendencies, there is this tougher part of me that is saved and thus continues to save me. I am an advocate of self-care and self-preservation. At a time when I really can care less about so many things, I just want to focus on the things that matter to me. When I first experienced my first great failure, I took care of myself by going through a period I called a personal rehabilitation. I think I am wired this way, someone who is not afraid to introspect and someone who does what she can to manage her self and then bounce back.

Sharing with you the contents of my Self-care Starter Kit:

Have a specific goal in mind.
I’ve been asked by my manager once about what I wanted to be. I said it has been my dream to become a visionary. I want to have a vision, an eye that can see beyond. I know it would take many years and experience before I get to this stage, so for now, I’ll do what I can do. I can start with making goals. I find that having a fixed and clear idea about something makes a whole lot of difference. It also helps you make appropriate backup plans should option A fail.

Know what you want.
When you know what you want, chances are, you would have a great idea of how to get it. And if you don’t get it, two things can happen: you can either be so disappointed, or it will be easier for you to move on. As for me, it is the latter. I find that when I know what I want and I don’t get it, it is easier for me to let go and move on. When I know what I want I spend very less time and little energy dwelling on whether I can compromise because honestly, I seldom do. When I do not get what I want, I sit back instead of sulking. I wait until I get another inspiration for something I would want and then when that time comes, I create new plans.

Narrow down your choices.
For me, the simple choice of sticking to certain styles and colors helped me narrow down my choices. I no longer lingered on other selections, so I saved time, energy, and effort. It helped me simplify the act of choosing. When you have a goal and you know what you want, it becomes easier to narrow down your choices. Then when you narrow down your choices, it becomes easier to choose. Things become simplified. More accurately, things become simplifed to what really matters most to you, what you value.

It does not matter whether they are just for the mean time, whatever works for you is, well, generally a good thing. Life is so damn complicated and our minds and emotions further complicate things. We can’t do everything but we can always start with something, even through small things, even with just one thing. I’m not saying life is easy to me right now because it is not, but I guess, by using the Self-care Starter Kit, I have helped unburden myself off some things so that I can assist my self and make it easier for me to do the one thing I need to do, which is to grieve, to mourn, and to someday, rebuild.

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2017: Year for Practical and Organized Living

Hello, 2017! 🙂

For the past years, I’ve made a self-tradition of establishing one empowering word for the new year. In 2016, I did a little change-up to that tradition, and instead tied the year through anchor verses. Unfortunately, I wasn’t able to keep up with posting more anchor verses (I only posted two.yikes!). I have no other excuse to offer, and instead am just raising my hands in surrender because I have always been guilty of being lazy and of being a procrastinator. And well, we all know that writing is one task you should never procrastinate. Words are such creative escape artists, and they’re gone the second you finally act on the urge to tame them.

So this year, I will try to get another go at writing and posting content throughout the year. But, instead of using an empowering word or an anchor verse, this year I’ll give a go at practical living. No heavy words (I hope), just goals, and yes, more lists to get through this year.

The Goal

One of the things that really give me joy is organizing. I can’t say that I am good at it, or that I am an organizing enthusiast, but I can say, though that organizing really excites me. It sparks joy in me. I love reading blogs, googling and pinteresting (haha!Because they are acceptable words now, right?*cringing inside, though) for ideas about organizing.

Out of that simple joy comes one of this year’s goals: to get more organized. I don’t expect to become an organizing expert by the end of the year, but I do expect to create a habit of daily organizing. And, with this new skill/habit, I hope I can be one step closer to reaching bigger dreams in the near future. (*sigh) I also intend to share parts of my organizing journey here, and hope that they might be useful to you, too.

Get Started

To get things started, here’s what I accomplished so far during the first week of the year:

 1. Goal setting. Created a mind map for my goals in 2017 as inspired by this article. I find this technique highly effective. It’s fun to do and easy to follow. Also, I find that organizing goals into categories, and laying them down visually creates an overall sense of feasibility and encouragement.

Simply put, a mind map makes you feel like your goals are doable and highly possible. To give you a better idea about creating mind maps, here’s Jenny Blake:

2. Task organization. Okay, so I am such a fan of lists. I have an everyday to-do list at work, and some I also make for personal use, especially when I feel like I get cramped up with tasks. I love lists because they are easy on the eyes, and again, they create a feeling of feasibility and encouragement. By chunking down tasks into smaller details, it makes you act on it, one item at a time, which then spurs a less stressful way of accomplishing a big task.

So, bullet journaling or the Bullet Journal is a method of journaling developed by Ryder Carroll. The BuJo might not need further introductions because I know it’s been creating such a big buzz since last year. You can search for it across all social media platforms and just a warning, be prepared to get astounded with your search results.

But for the sake of those who haven’t heard of it yet, I best like Rachel Miller’s definition of the bullet journal:

Bullet journal: a method of journaling and note-taking that uses bullet points as the core structure

Read more about it here: Buzzfeed

I started two bullet journals—one for work, and the other for personal use. I might share some spreads here. A little disclaimer: I have a super minimalistic spread. As much as I would want to get creative with my bullet journals, I believe that the only way  I can maintain and constantly update them is to make them fully functional. So in this case, it has to be functionality over aesthetics.

By the way, here’s a video from Ryder Carroll about the bullet journal:

That’s it, for now. Cheers to 2017—the year for practical and more organized living! 🙂