Where do you even begin with a post like this? It’s a weird time to be doing anything, and I suppose I should start by saying I am the furthest thing from an expert. I am just one anxious person trying to get by in a stressful world. I thrive with routines and expectations and goals, and all of that went out the window for a few months. But I’ve decided that it’s time to get back on track, starting with my goals for June 2020.
At least the weather will be nice! There’s not much that I know for sure right now, but I do know that I’m grateful for the days getting longer and the sun warming my skin.
What happened to March through May?
You may have noticed that I had the intention to post my goals for each month this year. January and February were fine, and I had half an outline for March’s post. Between then and now, the concept of having goals never crossed my mind, and I’m sure I’m not the only one who felt this way.
Let’s just say that the goal for those months was to survive with my mental health as intact as possible, and in that regard, I’d say I did the best job that I could. My family and I are all safe and healthy, and for that, I am endlessly grateful.
Personally, the first month or so of quarantine was a pretty intense rollercoaster. It was definitely a new challenge that we were all trying to wrap our heads around. There were a few coping strategies that helped me get through the initial shock of it:
- Limiting news (especially on Twitter). In the beginning, there was a lot of conflicting information and it was generally scary. I would try to go the whole day or at least a few hours without scrolling.
- Coloring pages and watercoloring. Art is therapeutic! I love the free coloring book that Liz Climo shared.
- Crying as much and as often as I needed. I am very much a person who feels better after crying, and it’s a way for me to purge my emotions and clear my head.
- Facetiming with my family. This has obviously become a popular activity. Even if it was just talking to my mom while we both played animal crossing, the connection of spending time with loved ones is super important.
- Limiting online shopping until I felt comfortable ordering things again. There was no guide book on how to deal with any of this, or what is safe and what isn’t. Things are closer to ‘normal’ now, but for a while, I felt safer if I didn’t order any packages.
- Donating to several organizations that are important to me. I was very privileged to not have my job be affected by the stay at home orders, and I know that wasn’t the case for everyone. I had the ability to support others who were struggling, and I was happy to do so.
The importance of being gentle
Outrageous goals shouldn’t come before taking care of yourself, especially during times of crisis. People process things in different ways, just because you see someone learning a language, redoing their entire house, and reading every book they own doesn’t mean that you’re wrong for not doing any of those things. Everyone has different circumstances, abilities, and coping methods.
For a while I barely had the mental capacity to keep up with my 9-5 job, so that was all I did. I got through the day and then zoned out or had panic attacks for the rest of the night. It was not a fun time, and handling fear and uncertainty is not my forte. Goals were the last thing on my mind because I absolutely did not have the energy for them. I was focused on functioning and keeping myself together when it largely felt like things were completely falling apart.
Three months later, it finally feels like I’m in a place where I have some semblance of motivation again, so I’m going to start slow. No over-the-top ambitious goals, just some things to give me some direction when I have some extra energy. I know that nothing is holding me to them, and nothing bad will happen if I don’t check every last thing off this list. If you’re setting goals for the month, give yourself similar grace!
If big habit changes seem like too much, maybe stick to goals that you can accomplish in a few hours or an afternoon. Something on the level of organizing a drawer or sorting through some paperwork. There’s also nothing wrong with free-floating for as long as you feel you need to. There will be plenty of time for goals in the future, and it’s totally okay if your priorities need to shift.
For a while, I think many people were waiting to see when things would ‘go back to normal’. Now that it seems like there will be a new normal, I’m feeling like it’s time for me to adjust. I need to figure out what I can do to manage my own personal tasks while also experiencing a new and scary global crisis (have I mentioned that I’ve been scared?).
I know a lot of people have had to cancel or put a lot of things on hold. As someone who would cling tightly to her countdowns, expectations, and life plans, this has been one hell of an adjustment. It’s okay to be upset about things that aren’t happening anytime soon, or ever, no matter how small they are. Please be gentle with yourself about any disappointments, uncertainties, or losses. We are all grieving together.
My Goals for June 2020
Goal #1: Finish two books
I’ve already finished one since I started working on this post, so this goal should be totally doable. The other book will be one of two that I ordered by black authors. I plan to order more, but they are selling out! I am taking steps to educate myself and understand the experiences of black people in America. It’s no longer enough to just be not racist, we have the responsibility to be actively anti-racist. I suppose this goal is about more than just reading, it’s about learning to do better in terms of supporting BIPOC.
Goal #2: Exercise three times per week
I was doing so well with my yoga habit and even going to the gym before the quarantine started. But that’s no excuse! Taking a walk is always an option, and there are endless workout videos. I’m trying to build that habit back again, mostly for the fun of it. I’ve done a few videos that feel like dance classes (in the fun way, not the horrible stage fright way) and it’s really bringing me back to my roots. I believe some more dancing is in order this month, for my mental health.
Goal #3: Bond with the piggies
I got guinea pigs last month! Timmy and Tommy are still pretty shy and skittish, and I want to help them warm up to us a bit. I’ve been researching how to tame guinea pigs. There’s no one right way to do it, but I want to spend more time hanging out with them. While I’m still working from home, this is even easier. They’ll come out of their shells on their own time, but seeing some progress this month would be awesome.
Goal #4: Launch P&P
This was a goal in February, I know! Right around when I was planning to launch the first time, I got super busy at work and was too exhausted to put any time into the blog. And then the pandemic really kicked off, which kicked off a whole bunch of other things. Nevertheless, here we are. We’re doing the damn thing and putting ourselves out there!
Goal #5: Sit outside as much as possible
Kind of dependent on the weather. I don’t enjoy it when it’s hot enough that I break a sweat just sitting on my balcony. But when the weather is nice, I want to take advantage of the time I can spend outside. It doesn’t even matter what I’m doing. Using my laptop is fun when there isn’t too much glare on the screen. My main go-to activity outside is reading. Is there anything more calming than listening to birds chirp while you enjoy a good book? I need more of that feeling this month.
Five goals may seem like too much, but most of them aren’t high stakes or huge commitments (besides this blog, which I fully plan to commit to!). I’m not trying to completely revamp my life but to be more mindful of the things I want to be doing. It’s time to get back to a sense of normal, at least in terms of routines and intentions.
I encourage you to start slow if you’re like me, and just kind of gave up for a few months. I hope you’ve been taking care of yourself and doing things that bring you joy. It’s important to step away from the news sometimes and get some space to breathe and recharge.
Do you have goals for the month? I’d love to hear about them!