The holidays have come and gone and if you’re like me, you’re feeling that post-festive season slump. Something about the busyness and frantic pace of the holidays, combined with all the build-up and work that goes into what is literally one day for those of us who celebrate Christmas just leaves me feeling all sorts of lost come the new year.
And I know, I know—we’re supposed to feel all “New Year, New Me” once January 1st rolls around, but the truth is, I usually don’t feel anything but depleted, puffy, and anxious that once again, a whole year is lying ahead of me like a blank page in a book I have no idea how to start.
I’ve spent a better part of the last year working on both my physical and mental health through things like medication, education, and a whole lot of therapy, and if there’s one thing I’ve learned it’s that giving myself grace goes a lot farther than berating myself for not doing more. So I’m vowing to kick off the new year not with more to-do lists or resolutions or even goals to be a better version of myself. Instead, I’m starting things off by creating my own proverbial cozy corner in my life with healing things that make me feel good, force me to slow down, and remind me that my worth has nothing to do with what I may or may not accomplish this year.
If you’re looking to get cozy and reduce your stress levels, here are some things to add to your calming toolbox.
The very first thing I did when I started my journey toward healing was to carve out a corner of my house for a morning ritual of coffee and reading time. Sometimes my coffee time is literally only a minute or two, but every morning, I make a point to brew a cup of coffee, get cozy in my chair, and read my morning devotion for the day. For me, it’s not the time spent, but the act of centering myself no matter what’s going on. I also treated myself to a few new inspiring coffee mugs so every day, I choose one that speaks to me. It’s a ritual I look forward to every morning.
2. Free Apps
To go along with my new morning coffee time, I tested out a bunch of different apps I could use for some inspiring reading. I love to read and it helps me to have some structure to my morning to follow an app—plus, I’m not a huge morning person so I need something easy to follow along to. So far, I’ve been loving using Libby for e-books I can rent from the library to load directly onto my Kindle Paperwhite as well as a free Christian-based app called Glorify that offers a short quote, reading, and devotion every day.
So far, I’ve made do with some blankets we have, but do I have this one in my cart just waiting for a price drop? Yes, yes I do.
This thing will change your life. Truly, I use this almost every night and it helps a lot with my tension-filled shoulders!
6. Inspiring Books
Speaking of Shauna, I loved her most recent book, I Guess I Haven’t Learned That Yet. It’s very helpful for anxious seasons, or seasons of transition or listlessness. I’m also halfway through this one and am finding it enormously helpful if you’re looking to enact some physical changes in your life to address burnout.
I’ve tried many, many different kinds of weighted blankets and interestingly enough, for whatever reason, the more expensive ones have not been hits for me. My favorite so far that saved my sleep is this one that I picked up at my local grocery store.
8. Calming Art
I decided to add special art to my coffee, both to inspire me and calm me when I’m anxious. I bought one print specific to my own faith tradition and then had fun creating my own black-and-white abstract art inspired by some artists I found on Etsy. (If you’re wondering, I just used a canvas and paint spackle to make my own!)
9. Mindfulness Bracelet
I love wearing my mindfulness bracelet because it’s so helpful to have something tactile on anxious days. Mine doubles as a prayer bracelet in my faith tradition, so I can center myself with prayers and breathwork no matter where I am.
Do you have any favorite calming products or apps? I’d love to hear them!