I don't know if this is the same for everyone, but for me it feels like the new year begins in February. When holidays are coming to an end and routines start to set back in. I've been grappling with how to bring in the new year, to feel a sense of newness and fresh beginnings. This year it has felt harder than most to invite this feeling so I took to a little experiment I did at the start of 2022.
A mood board. This time last year I created a mood board. It sounds corny and it felt it at the time, but I stuck down images of what I wanted 2022 to shape out to be. I created it with manifesting intentions although they were half hearted at best. It felt silly to put trust into an activity like this. However looking back on it now, all of my energy from the past year was indeed directed towards these images I had collated.
Creativity - one section played around with unlocking my creative side. I pictured painting, reading, sewing and music. Last year I completed reading one book a month, started painting again, and found a passion and job in helping creative women succeed.
Travel - I wanted to see more of my own country this year. I travelled lots of the North Island, saw beautiful mountains, beaches and all things in between.
Money - I wanted to kick off my savings last year for moving to London in May 2023. I can say I definitely did this. However this manifested in more ways than one. I learnt about intentionality with money and had a means to share that through Simple Studios.
Mindset - a huge thing across my board was independence, confidence, and getting out there and doing it. 'Yes' was my word. Looking back, I stood by this. I remembered this at times when I was nervous or anxious about both big and small things. I took up rock climbing after a blurry conversation with a friend, I went to my first ever therapy session, I backed myself and shook off a lot of self doubt. I started posting myself on social media (something I had been extremely afraid to do before Simple Studios). I applied for jobs, took interest in my own learning, and I started teaching Pilates - something that had terrified me to my core, and is now a weekly practice.
Some weird coincidences that came up in unexpected ways... I purchased a little digital camera that I take with me everywhere (bottom middle), I converted to buying second hand or sustainably created clothing (middle right), I began noting down gratitude and areas of abundance (top right - Winnie the Pooh and Piglet), I started teaching Pilates with a studio and worked towards my Teaching Qualification (top left), I completed a 30 day yoga challenge where I practiced everyday for a month (top right).
So if you get one thing out of this, throw it out there. What you want to do, what you want to achieve. I'm not saying the world will make it happen for you, but if you know what you want deep down, and you bring it to the surface, you'll make it happen.
Come 2023. I did it all again.
One of the things I put on my mood board for 2023 was around centring and from that, how to establish a 'flexible structure'. I've found with working mainly from home that it doesn't come quite so easily anymore. I think structure can be good, but it can also be abused. Getting dependant on routine is good, until life happens and curve balls get thrown. I learnt this the hard way last year, getting more stressed than necessary when I wasn't able to lean on the comfort of routine. So now I've established a new system that lets life happen whilst still feeling in control.
You can do this in the morning, evening or staggered throughout the day - whatever floats your boat is the name of the game. For me winning the morning, is (in all its cliche-ness) winning the day. I make sure every morning to do something for my body, my mind, my space, and my soul.
These 'flexible structures' include doing any of the below within each category:
- Movement (yoga/pilates/walk/run)
- Nourishment (whatever my body is craving [not necessarily nutrient dense food])
- Rest & relaxation (stretching/lying down)
- Journaling (1 sentence/1 page)
- Meditation (5 minutes/15 minutes)
- Reading (1 page/1 chapter)
- Clean (make bed/clean room/vacuum)
- Declutter (clothes draws/wardrobe/empty rubbish bin)
- Organise (laptop files/desk space)
- Celebrate wins
- Gratitude (writing down/speaking it aloud)
- Play time (moving around outside/having a private boogie)
- Music (playing guitar or piano/listening to music)
- Company (seeing friends/enjoying own company)
Each day, under those categories I try to do at least one thing depending on my mood. If I'm feeling productive it might be a run, reading 10 pages of a book, decluttering my wardrobe and writing down my wins for the week. However if I'm feeling more lethargic and fragile, it might be a quick stretch in my PJs, writing a sentence in my journal, making my bed and playing some guitar.
Though the basis of the days are very different, I still know that I'm doing something for my body, mind, space and soul. For me, it's removed the guilt out of my day-to-day. Maintaining a rigid routine is not sustainable, and it likely just leaves you feeling worse when you don't achieve it.
I know the idea of structure might not resonate with everyone, and some people just get up and do as they please everyday - and good for you. But I also know it doesn't work like that for most, and for those of you, I urge you to try this for a week. Fill those categories with varying 'difficulties' and give it a whirl. I promise it wont disappoint.
Here's a sneak peak of my 2023 Mood Board (peep section of inspirational women + the exception of Harry Styles...)