First of all, I’d like to wish you and yours a very happy New Year. I hope the best of the year passed pales to what’s to come, and that the year is filled with purpose, strength and love for you.
I’m not big on retrospective posts, so this isn’t going to be one of those. Instead, I’d like to share a few tools with you for dealing with chaos that helped me in 2017.
We can all agree that 2017 was tumultuous, to say the least. The running joke is that it was the year that never ended, thanks to the constant onslaught of tragedy and upheaval. I found it a real struggle to keep a healthy headspace weathering that, but there are some things I found (or doubled down on) along the way that helped. It’s dangerous to go alone, so take these!
There’s this weird accountability I feel to every atrocity in my Facebook feed, where I’m not honouring what’s happened if I don’t stop and read the associated article or post fully. Which is daft, because me reading an article on Facebook has a guaranteed zero impact on the world at large. By seeking out quality news that arrives on a predictable schedule, I found I could quieten that guilt, and read up on my own schedule. These helped in particular:
1A (NPR) – insightful, in-depth views on what’s happening in US politics. I live in Australia, but it feels most of the time like our government is at best two steps behind following trends emerging from the current administration in the US.
Pod Save The People (Crooked Media) – left-leaning podcast exploring the struggle for social progress.
Invisibilia (NPR) – podcast exploring what shapes our beliefs and perception. Explores neuroscience in an engaging way. Understanding vastly differing perspectives has been very important this year.
Hidden Brain (NPR) – slightly shifted focus on the same as Invisibilia.
Regular patterns to life have been more important than ever. A couple of things have really helped here, especially towards the end of the year.
Accidental Creative (book) – I’ll recommend The Accidental Creative to anyone who stands still long enough. I’ve just finished a re-read as part of prep for 2018, and I’ve found more nuggets of wisdom this time around. It’s all about recommending a comprehensive scaffolding around how you approach your time, from day to day to planning each quarter. Can’t recommend it enough as a starting point for reading Todd Henry’s stuff.
Streaks (iOS app) – personally, there are a number of things that need to happen daily, and it’s difficult to get an accurate understanding of just how consistent those practices are. Streaks has been really helping on that front. The more I discover that I’m patchy or lax with a specific practice, the more attention goes to making it consistent.
I hope that something in there might be useful for you – let me know if it is! And I hope that wherever you are, you’re starting the year with a full heart, fully belly and clear mind.
(the photo at the start of the post is by the extremely talented Michael Thieler of KPOW Audio, by the way. Not only does he make incredible audio as part of the KPOW team, he also is an amazing photographer in his ‘spare’ time!)