Taking Only What I Need Into 2021

Taking Only What I Need

If there’s anything the pandemic has taught me, it’s the importance of letting go. So much of last year felt out of our control, so I’ve been working on making peace with that. Like many of you, I’ve been struggling to juggle work, child care, virtual schooling, and the mental load of keeping everyone healthy. It’s been overwhelming, and I’ve found myself quelling my anxiety with things that end up making me feel worse instead of better.

At this time of year, when everyone is making New Year’s resolutions, it’s easy to feel pressure to take on more, but taking on more has never felt less appealing – or healing. So what if we do the opposite?  

This time, I’ve decided I’m taking only what I need into 2021. And I’m starting by stripping away the things I’ve realized I no longer need in my life. Here is what I’m saying goodbye to and leaving behind in 2020. What about you?

Endless Scrolling

There’s been plenty of discussion about kids’ increased screen time during the pandemic, but parents’ screen time has increased as well (mine definitely has!) That ends now. I’m determined to say no to my phone on the weekends. I’d rather spend that time doing fun things with my kids than worrying about the latest trending topic.

Mindless Indulgences

I’ve been eating and drinking a lot during the pandemic. Being indulgent is fine, but I want to be aware of why I’m really reaching for that cupcake or cocktail. One way I reset a bit was by doing a three-day Alchemy juice cleanse. I love that the company’s juices make my body feel healthy and strong, and that they are made with 100% organic fruits and vegetables. And since I know stress is a trigger for me to reach for something less-than-healthy, I’ve been trying to walk away for a bit when I get overwhelmed. Never overestimate the appeal of a silent room (or closet!) when you share your home with three kids and two dogs.

Hustle Culture

Before the world shut down, I used to run around like a crazy person trying to do everything I was asked—even if I didn’t really want to. Being forced to stay home and slow down made me reevaluate what I want to prioritize in my life. After things get back to “normal”, I want to keep focusing on saying no, whether that is relationships that aren’t making me happy or work commitments that don’t make sense.

In the end, I just want to be more mindful of what I put into my body and invite into my life. Daily walks, time with my family, and space to just be are definitely all coming with me into the new year.

What are you leaving behind in 2021….and what are you taking with you?


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  • Kristin Barton

    This Minnesotan would probably be in a tank top in your Texas weather right now, so it made me smile to see you bundled up. Life has absolutely changed for us all in this country, that’s for sure. Things that I’m doing differently include being more interdependent and helping my adult daughter juggle her kids and job by schlepping grandkiddo to and from her recently opened (cringe) school and to her gymnastics lessons (masked, thank all the Gods). I am deeply grateful that I don’t have kids at home during a time like this.

    To the degree that I can, I am returning to old ways, ways that were old when I was a child in the 60’s and 70’s. I am growing a lot of food (on my townhouse deck, no less) and my husband and I bought an electric smoker. We are returning to food preservation like our parents and grandparents did. I will can a bunch of stuff in the late summer and fall. Sauces, soups, jellies, etc. will be put up for the cold months (that’s like, almost all of them here). I will smoke meat and fish.

    While COVID is a horrible thing, it is making us slow down and reflect. As I’ve always been a rebel, I’ve never felt societal pressure to conform, but I do have a lot riding me due to being a Pagan clergy person who has a community to serve. We need our spirituality more than ever right now, and nature is very literally my Temple, so there will be religious rituals in the woods with a few masked, socially distanced peeps.

    • Kim

      I don’t make resolutions at New Year’s, but I guess you could say that I quietly made pandemic resolutions. A lot of it has happened due to cirumstances and working from home since March, but I’ve started to cook daily, go on regular walks, and I’ve cut down on the doom scrolling over those months. I feel much better and even managed to lose 15 lbs from changing a few routines.

  • Manuela

    Hi Gen! I agree, this pandemic has taught me that not every thing I usted to do before was worth it… I used to go to places where I didn’t want, pay atention to things and people that didn’t really care about me… Now, I spend more time with my family and my boyfriend… I take My time to read more books and learn other languages (that includes improve my English, I’m from Argentina).
    As I got the covid I can’t exersice as I usted to, but I try to do as well as I can and my body and doctor let me… I eat healthy so thanks for all the recipes that You share! I hope every one can reach their goals, and I hope this 2021 will be better for all of us… Thank You for every post. Have a wonderful day and a beautiful 2021 with your lovely family! Love, Manu.

  • Marion

    2020 was a particularly difficult year mentally, be lock up in a small apartment was a hell. I’m a very active person, I hate being locked up, it has to move.

    Then, a new life change is installed, it was no longer the life I had known before COVID. In this new year, I decided to recover what I lost. When I can, I take my car and go on an adventure.

    This year 2020 made me think a lot, I have questioned, what I do with my life. If I’m going to keep living like this, or living a new life. I decided to carry out a project to go and live abroad, to start a new life.

    • Daryn Rollins

      Three months ago, we purged our California home of 65 years that my parents built & moved with our now-grown family to Boise. We have never felt more free of burdens and baggage! We are looking forward to finding our forever Idahome and KISS-ing (keeping it simple, stupid!). We will never hold on so tightly again. FREEDOM never felt so free…

  • Gail Hunter

    I’m adopting the William Morris quote “have nothing in your house that you do not know to be useful, or believe to be beautiful”. It’ll take time, but if it doesn’t fall into either of these categories, it’s going on eBay, or it’s going to charity shops to help people who might need it, or off to recycling. I’m also weaning myself off my long-standing online shopping craze and putting more thought in before I decide what to buy.

  • Deb

    Just FYI, I had a credit card phishing page come up first time I hit “read more”.

  • Chantal

    Sounds good. Myself I’ve decided to face forward and live in the moment as much as possible. Less is more. Sounds simplistic but it’s what I found works for me. Work and my anxiety will always have overwhelming moments, chaos, highs and lows; it’s up to me to step back and navigate through it and not let those moments toss me around; be proactive and not reactive.
    I too have cut down on scrolling. Teaching online has made me a slave to my computer. I’m either in front of the webcam or I’m creating new virtual material and games. A couple of times a week I make sure to go to the forest for my walks and reset my spirit. Nature grounds me, settles me.
    Be well.

  • Jessie Woosley

    I’m leaving behind all my anxiety. I increased my dosage to my meds which help keep my anxiety in check better. I’m less stressed and more calm in situations I do not have control over. I’m taking with me the self care routines. Whether it be going to the gym, reading a book or practicing meditation. I’ve been struggling alot in the last year with my health. My body has been through a lot…the flu, mono, covid and now neck pain and migraines. 2 different doctors said 2 different things it could be…occipital neuralgia or neck spasms. I’m doing everything I can to try and get better with this recent illness but nothing is working. Just trying to stay positive and patient through it all ❤

  • Jessica Lozano

    Hi Gen,
    I love this topic and agree so much! Last year has definately turned people inward to reflect on ourselves and our families we are living with during this pandemic. I have been stress eating and have to remind myself constantly to practice self care even when working from home. I actually thought I’d be healthier being home, but I still had to remind myself to eat and drink healthy. I too had to say no to things to clear my plate and focus on reducing stress in my life. It’s hard to say no, but gets easier each time. I also had a friend tell me “people have to earn their way into our lives”. I lost a few relationships that I thought were good friends but disappeared during last year. I realized I was the only one putting in any effort into the relationship. Once I stepped back, they disappeared. So I focused on spending time with friends that made just as much as an effort to make time for me as I did with them and I’m much happier. We just have to be creative during this time. We go on weekly walks together, wear our masks and keep a distance. She brings her kiddos sometimes and they wear masks too. Thank you for sharing your experience with us and providing tips to get back on track 🙂

  • Gen pad lover

    I love what u said about kids using phones and all this stuff,and I agree,my generation is the last generation with photos on paper or whatever,this generation has tons of pictures in the phones,and they use the phone more than they breath….I used to do that too,but thank god I stopped now I use it 2 hours or less,anyway I love you gen so much you really inspire me😘

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