As we move into the last weeks of the year, I’m starting to see posts about ‘finishing 2023 strong!’
And if that feels right for you, by all means have at it.
As for me, though, I’m finishing 2023 soft.
Notice my choice of words there.
I’m not finishing weak, I’m finishing soft.
This is has been an extremely hard year and every time I think I’ve turned a corner another physical, emotional, mental, or situational challenge appears.
Facing each challenge (Not alone! I have had lots of help and support.) has required a lot of strength, focus and energy and at this point, I’m tired.
I haven’t been able to rest properly (despite my best efforts) and I don’t have the capacity to push myself to finish 2023 with a burst of extra effort.
Instead, I’m going to finish the year with extra rest, extra relaxation, and extra breathing room.
A few years back, a friend of mine was dealing with intense anxiety (and being hard on themselves about it), so I was trying to help them be kinder to themselves by using an analogy that went a bit like this:
‘Ok, imagine your anxiety is in a measuring cup. Under normal circumstances, you are heading into your day with about 1/4 cup of anxiety. Right now, for various reasons, you are starting the day with 3/4 of a cup.
So, when you encounter challenges in your day, even if they are “only” 1/16 cup challenges, it doesn’t take very many of them before things get overwhelming and everything starts spilling out of the top.
And since your brain and body are so revved up, you can’t empty that cup, all you can do is get down to 3/4 of a cup again.
This is not your fault, you aren’t weak, and you aren’t doing things wrong. Instead of focusing on this as your fault, let’s focus on things we can do to calm your brain and body and give you a little more room in that cup.’
Don’t worry, my friend was also seeing a professional counsellor so they had more comprehensive advice than that but they did find the cup analogy helpful.
And I am finding my past self’s advice helpful right now, too.
With everything that has been going on, I’m not at my usual capacity and there’s very little space in my cup.
Every time I have gotten my level to drop a little, something has come along and started filling it again.
So, for the last 40 or so days of the year, I am going to create space in my metaphorical cup.
I’m not dropping stuff I have committed to but I’m not taking on anything else.
I’m prioritizing rest, fun, relaxation, soothing activities, comforting company, and anything that feels like softness.*
I am taking good care of myself and letting my brain and body reset.
Want to join me?
*By the way, writing ‘Making Space’ posts definitely feels like softness to me so you’ll see those return in December.