I think we can all agree, this has been an extremely difficult year. It's been challenging, dark, transformative, complicated, aching, quiet, sweet, and heavy all at once. Many of us expected quarantine to end many months ago but we have stayed resilient and tried to lighten each other's load with some laughter. We prioritized connection above all else.
It's been full of ups and downs and scary news, long months spent at home, and many a zoom meeting. The people we consider essential workers have faced the highest exposure throughout the pandemic. It has unequally impacted BIPOC, skyrocketed poverty and unemployment and starkly highlighted the need for prison reform. Many of us have missed milestones, and even more of us have lost loved ones. It has also held some bright moments - a massive dip in carbon emissions, a record voter turnout, a Supreme court ruling that LGBTQ+ individuals are protected under civil rights employment statutes, a woman of color as VP elect, the end of the Trump administration, massive protests bringing slow but steady headway made in racial justice all over America, and the introduction of a COVID vaccine. (you can read more good things that happened in 2020 here if you need it!)
For me, it has been all of this for sure. Our wedding was postponed due to covid, I had a very jarring health scare this summer, and we think our sweet Lab has nerve cancer. But it also had its highs. We had an intimate wedding ceremony on a boat with our closet family and friends, Eco Collective more than doubled our team and got a warehouse despite an uncertain economy, I spent a lot of time sailing in the San Juan's, fly fishing in the mountains, and even tried wind surfing in Hood River. We spent a lot of the year in quarantine and a lot of time in masks, but we found a lot of ways to get outside and stay sane. I reconnected with friends I hadn't heard from in years, found a rhythm in fitness, read so many books on race and gender equality, hormonal health, and chasing your dreams. I voted for what I believe in! My sister-in-law is a nurse in an ER accepting covid patients, and she finally got the vaccine just a few days ago. There is much to mourn and so much to be grateful for.
It's a lot. Amidst all the highs and lows, we are all deeply in need of a moment of rest and peace, wherever we can find it.
For our team, that looks like taking time off, checking in with each other, leaning into a sense of normalcy and routine, and making space to process, dream, and rest our eyes on togetherness and hope. As this year comes to a close, we are taking a moment to reflect on it all - the good, the hard, the heavy.
One of my favorite practices to look back on each year is to do some mindful journaling. To reflect, ruminate, and reset. I have a lot of friends who will check in with their New Year's resolutions and see if they met their goals (books read, miles biked) and that's so fun and rewarding to see your own growth and achievements, but I'm honestly not that organized. Plus, I'm more of an All Year's resolutions gal! I like to set new goals and visions every few months and regularly assess what I want more of in my life. But it does feel especially poignant and charged in the last days of each year, and if you know me at all, you know my deep love for all holidays. :) So I tend to dive in head first into the New Year's energy!
Here's a few of the things I do (throughout the year) to recenter myself and start fresh. PS - at the end of this post, you'll find my end-of-year reflections practice in the form of a set of questions and writing prompts.
Some easy mindful practices I do to end the year and start fresh:
- Look through my Favorites folder on my phone (Photos and Notes) to look back on all that this year held. I usually look at Instagram and Twitter to jog my memory too. I make a list of all the big things, rambling through highs and lows.
- Make note of some of the biggest moments and most notable numbers of the year. Hours meditated, miles walked, books read, places visited. I try to view these in a positive light without measuring up. It's the reason I don't set a number as a goal or resolution, but rather choose things I want more of. Like more biking, more reading, more trying new things.
- Make a list of things I want more of in the New Year. For example: I'd like to be more hydrated. Less wine, more green juice :) I'd like to find ways to fit movement into every day, whether a walk, a workout or a sail. I'd like to read more and research to my heart's content. I'd like to write more. Definitely want to spend more time in and on the water!
- Write out what a perfect day in my dream life would look like, in detail. I like to look ahead a few years, rule that anything is possible, and describe my day from the moment I wake up, and how I spend the day, to where I fall asleep.
- Read my dream day aloud and then do a meditation to this abundance frequency on Youtube.
- Take a bath. By this I do not mean a regular bath. I do not have a bathtub on the boat (LOL) so usually I like to spend a day at Ladywell's spa or somewhere with a steam room. This year it's a friend's hot tub who is out of town and so graciously lets us borrow. I adore hydrotherapy. Breathe out the old, breathe in the new.
- Clean the house!!! This is a big one. I like to deep clean (click here for my guide to zero waste cleaning), do laundry, make the bed, vaccuum up all of Drifter's fur, air out the place, light some sage and burn some incense.
- Do a polar bear plunge. Some of you may think I'm crazy, but for the last two New Year's, my husband and I have jumped off the dock out near Golden Gardens. It is oh-so refreshing and always clears my mind and invigorates the rest of these practices.
- Go for a walk, read a book, bake some bread, whatever I want to see more of in the New Year, I like to get started right away. It's cheesy, but I love how rosy and inspired every one around me feels, and I like to tap into that collective energy.
- Make a list of books I want to read (yes this is a long list), habits I want to build and things I want to try outdoors.
- Bring the outdoors in. I like to go on a walk and collect a few pinecones, seashells, foraged flowers or fallen branches to usher in each change of seasons, and it's always sweet to do this on a New Year's Day walk.
- Make a vision board. I go to the nearest health foods store and grab a plethora of magazines - home, travel, exercise, lifestyle, pop culture, and get to clipping. Inspiring quotes, beautiful aesthetics, motivating images... I'll glue them all to an 11 x 17 cardstock and tape it up on my mirror in my bathroom so it's the first thing I see every morning. We had a vision boarding party in our very first Eco Collective office above our old store. The sweetest memory, I shared a photo below.
- Journal. This is a big one. I like to journal at poignant moments in my life - business milestones, life changes, big events... it helps me tune in to where I am, feel everything fully and honor the passing of time. Click here to see our zero waste journaling collection.
My end-of-year reflections journaling practice consists of a series of questions and writing prompts. I shared them below in case any of you lovely readers want to join me this year. I asked if we wanted to do this live on Instagram, and several said yes but more of you said you'd prefer a written version, so thank you for making my job easier ;). You'll find the writing prompts below. If you do try them, tag me in a picture of you or your notebook @ecocollective_ so we can share the joy and release in this creative energy.
Remember: self care looks different for every one. Some of you may want to grab a friend to do this with you, some will seek out solitude. Maybe you want to keep this simple like building a "things that are good for me" list like Summer did below, or maybe you want to go all out and pair this journaling practice with a vision board and a perfect day manifestation. If you're like me, you'll be doing a mix of all of the above over the next few days :)
End of year writing practice:
Write down some of the brightest moments of the year, both small and big.
What were some of the heaviest parts of your year?
What are you grateful for right now?
What were you proud of this year?
What is the best way you invested in yourself in the last twelve months?
What (and who) was worth your energy this year? What wasn't?
What's something you want to leave behind in 2020?
What's something you want to take up or learn in 2021?
List 21 self care items you can do when you're stressed - quick ones, ones that take more time, free things and ones you would pay for.
What's one habit you want to break and one habit you want to build?
How you want to feel at the end of 2021.
What would bring you joy and growth in the new year?
What do you want to do more of next year? Who can you connect with to help you explore these things?
- What's inspiring you lately? What tools do you need for that next big project or creative outlet?
- Make a manifestation list. "I will do _____ every day" or "I will read more about _____" This can be anything from waking up early to starting a tea ceremony to reading about growing your own food.
However you are celebrating the end of this wild year, I am thinking of you and sending you positive energy to close the chapter, believe in hope, and continue chasing the best version of you and learning to love yourself more and more.
Sending light and gratitude.