In May of 2019 I
started a new job, moved to a new apartment and celebrated my 30th
birthday. It was a lot. In fact, the month of May was fairly
overwhelming and so it was nice that I got to end it with quick trip
to New York for a couple of days to celebrate my birthday. And in the
end, the trip felt essential. I needed to get out of town, off my
computer and as close to pizza as I possibly could be.
Don’t get me wrong. I am so thrilled to be in a new apartment, having spent the last seven years accumulating stuff in a small one-bedroom with my husband. Our new place is great (In-house laundry! A backyard!), and I was happy to relocate. But moving is a big thing, even if it’s only a quick car ride away. And my new job is a great change of pace and has me feeling so positive about my career—but it’s been awhile since I’ve switched gears in my career and I sort of forgot for the first little you bit you aren’t really that good at it. That comes later.
Which brings me to thirty. On its own, thirty didn’t scare me. Most of my friends have already hit that milestone and pretty much all of them have shown me how amazing your thirties can be. But the newness of all three had me feeling a little bit out of my depth. A little bit overwhelmed. Until I remembered how lovely a fresh start could feel.
There are so few times where you really feel like you have a fresh slate and this was one of them. And so, as May drew to a close and I recovered from my pizza diet, I began to appreciate the positivity of a fresh start, and how doing some small things in your day-to-day can actually give you a bit of that feeling, even if you’re not starting a new job, living in a new space or entering a new decade. Get your fresh starts in small doses with a few recommendations, below
A to-do list is great, but make it the night before.
As someone who truly loves a good list (and crossing things off of it), it’s no surprise that I usually have several on the go—all constantly accumulating more points in a never-ending cascade of things to do. There’s a better way. In fact, several times I’ve encountered the idea that you should make your to-do list for the day the night before. This not only helps you get the list out of your brain so you can actually get to sleep knowing you’ve done some of the next day’s prep, but it also means you can start the next day ready to go with the most important things you need to accomplish.
Wrap up projects and loose ends before travelling.
Travel is great—but the last thing you want to think about on your vacation is half-finished projects or whether you should actually be addressing problems that come up while you’re away. So, as much as possible, wrap up what you need to wrap up before you go and take your time away to truly disconnect. This might mean passing off some things to colleagues or putting off something until you return—but making peace with those inevitabilities and leaving them behind will allow you to return truly refreshed. Which is sort of the point of vacation anyways, no?
Change your sheets.
New sheets have the ability to completely transform your nighttime routine and sleeping experience. Do not underestimate the power of changing your sheets to make you feel refreshed and to set the tone for both your good night’s sleep and your next day.
Rinse the day away.
While the symbolism of water being cleansing is obvious to most, showering at the end of the day takes that cleansing to the next level. It’s the reason why I always find myself hopping into the shower after a particularly rough day or if I’m feeling out of my depth. While water can’t actually rinse away fears and deadlines and mistakes, it can take you out of your issues for just a few minutes so you can go back to them later. We all need a break and heading to the shower gives you a few minutes to wash, sing, cry, think and otherwise disconnect before getting back to it.
This one is easier said than done, and I’ve been working on a meditation practice for a few years now with very off-and-on luck. But lately I’ve been finding that taking a bit of time in the middle of the day does wonders for my productivity in the afternoon. Maybe it’s because it breaks up the day for me, taking me away from my computer and my phone and forcing me to slow my thoughts to be more intentional and less frantic. Even when I feel unsuccessful at meditation, when I take the time to do it I always feel like I return to my work feeling renewed.