Holy time warp, how did it become a whole new year already? To be perfectly honest I'm having a hard time just remembering which day of the week it is, let alone which month and year. It's been a really heavy year (make that 2 years) and we're all just kind of twirling around in our own spaces trying to figure it all out. Well, I have some tips for you in '22 that will hopefully make you feel better.
Just so you know, these are my own tips, from my own brain, not anything I read, watched or streamed. Just me and my thoughts. Thoughts that I have simmered over because I've had time to let my mind wander a bit. Time without a device in my hand. Because my best thinking comes when I'm not being entertained by anyone or anything. Especially not while I aimlessly scroll through social media at 10 pm as I'm trying to wind down and go to sleep. Scrolling at night actually does the opposite. With downtime, I get my brain energized which makes me feel optimistic and excited - not a feeling I've had very often during this Covid pandemic. One of the absolute best times for me to mind-wander is when I go walking with my yellow lab. She's 10 now so sometimes I can't bring her. She loves to sniff every leaf, light pole and dropping in the snow, which adds a bit more time to my walk, but that's ok. She and I have spent a lot of time over the years walking and thinking so I know she would agree with me when I say that there are 3 key things that I think you should think strongly about in this new year of 2022. Here goes....
This is going to sound weird, but hear me out. The first tip I'd like to give you is to stop. Just stop. Take a second to think before you speak, especially because people are going through some really difficult and challenging stuff and maybe aren't ready to hear certain things. Really hear what those words will sound like before they come rushing out of your mouth. I'm tired of listening to people, who have little understanding of the bigger picture, inadvertently create undue harm; people that can't understand someone else's experience. Just stop. Walk a mile in someone else's shoes. So first tip is to STOP.
Another thing that I really REALLY wish more people would do is to read. Like, really, read a book. Reading a book does several beneficial things to your brain things that may ease some anxiety and stress. Books are like movies, but better. Hear me out all you media junkies! Reading is actually good for your health! Seriously! 'Reading consistently strengthens connections in the brain, improves memory and concentration, and may even help you live longer. Reading can also reduce stress levels and prevent age-related cognitive decline. To read more, set aside time every day to pick up a book, whether it's during your commute or before bed.' (Source: insider.com) How cool is that? Also, research has shown that people who read literary fiction — stories that explore the inner lives of characters — show a heightened ability to understand the feelings and beliefs of others.(Source: PubMed Central) For me, a book that is so engrossing that I can't put it down is like a high that I can't put into words. So tip 2 is READ A BOOK.
And finally, if I can offer one more tip for 2022, it is this: give yourself something to look forward to. Something small, meaningful and exciting to YOU. Not something expensive per se, although that works too if you can afford to do it. These past 2 years have been hard, hectic and harrowing. We have not had a chance to see family and friends, give them a hug, celebrate important milestones and that hurts. I'm not gonna lie, as an introvert, I didn't mind being home so much. But I also feel the loss of human interaction and it feels like we're losing our ability to cope with this prolonged time in isolation. It's affecting our mental health and our physical health too. I can't tell you what to look forward to but I can offer some examples. I often put something on my calendar that I love to do but don't get to do. Seeing a fun activity on the calendar makes me happy. Take a trip down memory lane with a friend - and try to do or see that again, if possible. It's fun to look forward to something. It could be allowing yourself to have a sweet treat that you normally wouldn't let yourself indulge in, like a hot fudge sundae or homemade mac n' cheese with a lot of extra cheese. Of course a great way to look forward is by planning a weekend away or a dream vacation. If you have something to look forward to then it keeps you happy, hopeful and excited for the future. SOMETHING TO LOOK FORWARD TO will get your endorphins going and every time that 'thing' pops into your head (like when you're on that never-ending Zoom call), it will bring a smile to your face.
I wish you all the very best in 2022! You deserve good things. I hope you work to achieve all of your goals this year and offer you the promise of tomorrow.
In Humble Gratitude,
Founder, Bosisi Designs
P.S. The picture above is of me in the larger sewing space in Johannesburg.