January is always a really odd month for me. The beginning of the year, my birth month and a time of taking stock. This year, I’m even more reflective than ever. In December I caught COVID and spent a lot of breathless, painful nights tossing and turning, questioning my life’s choices and wondering what I would do more of if given the chance. It sounds a tad dramatic now, but at the time I didn’t know if I would live through it, that’s how rough I felt. So now, here I am, recovered and nearly well, planning out the things I’ll be doing more of this year.
So far, there are 7 things on my list. Check them out below and let me know what you think in the comments.
7 things I’ll be doing more of throughout 2021
1. Prioritising myself
How many of us are putting off what we need in favour of everyone else’s needs? I’m a natural mother hen and take great pride in helping everyone else. So it’s no surprise that I tend to do this at the detriment of myself. That’s not to say I’m going to stop spoiling the girls or anything, it just means that I’ll also be saying no to situations that don’t help me and be sue to prioritise myself from time to time too.
Saying no is such an important skill to have in your tool belt but it doesn’t always come naturally. Last year I said no to so many blog collaborations. This is a brand spanking new site and I wanted to treat it with the deliberate intentions it deserved from the start, which meant being much more intentional about who I worked with and why. Prioritising the blog in a way was a bit of self care for myself, my time and my sanity.
2. Walking more in 2021
Last year I kitted myself out with some chunky wellies and a waterproof coat with the intention of walking more. I live in the middle of the countryside. Literally any way you look you can be in a field within 10 minutes of walking. It’s ace. It’s also all uphill and I’m not in the least bit fit. So I really need to psych myself up to go out and walk. Turns out I’m not as good a cheerleader as I thought!
After suffering with COVID over Christmas, even walking round the block is problematic. I would love to build up my stamina and walk a hell of a lot more this year. Working from home means I’m even more sedentary than ever and I can easily do less than a thousand steps all day if I don’t actively make a point to go out at lunchtime and get some steps in. I’ll be doing more impromptu walks. In fact, I went on one today!
I love to read. At the moment, I have a good 10 or so books staring at me. When I had a commute, reading one book a week would have been easy. Now, I can’t seem to carve out time to even pick one up which makes me sad. So this is the year when I get back into the habit of reading everyday. Even if its 30minutes at the end of the day to wind down or between work and picking up the littlest from nursery, as a way of switching off from ‘work Tin’ to ‘mum Tin’.
I’ll be listening to the Broccoli Book Club podcast to help me reach my reading goals. You can check out the reading list and read more in the post I wrote here. I’ll also post book reviews here on Tinukebernard.com in order to keep to my reading goal. Nothing like being accountable!
4. Cooking simple foods
Now this is totally self inflicted, I realise that now, but I have a habit of finishing work then rushing to make dinner. But ‘proper’ dinners. I’m talking rice and chicken and a side or two of vegetables. I stress out to get a good dinner on the table whilst the kids grumble about how hungry they are. Over Christmas, I was too sick with the ‘rona to cook. At best I’d boil some pasta and sprinkle some cheese or pasta sauce over it. Guess what? The kids loved it. They also loved the frozen chicken pies, fish fingers and over ‘emergency foods’ I found in the freezer.
So all the mid week roasts, the moi moi and stews? They’re banished to the weekends in favour of a chicken thigh tray bake and some roasted vegetables. Or on those really tiresome days, some fish fingers and steamed frozen veg!
I love writing but funnily enough it’s probably the thing I do the least of. Writing used to be so cathartic. I would journal, write short stories and bore everyone I knew with them. I used to write poetry for the pure joy of putting pen to paper. Now, I don’t really make time for any of it. Don’t get me wrong. I’m not a lady of leisure with much time on my hands, working full time and raising two girls, but there is always time if you want to fit in your passions right? So let this be the year I write more and enjoy every moment of it!
6. Saving money
I don’t have any savings. Well, I do as of maybe a month ago! But prior to that, I had no savings. Like, I know this isn’t unusual and that many adults are in a similar boat. But equally, there are so many people who have so much more financial stability than I do. I’ve been taking stock of my debts and savings and trying to repair my credit score too.
You might have heard me bang on about the importance of creating generational wealth and having money in the bank is vital for me to fulfil this aim. As a first generation daughter of immigrants to the UK, we don’t have a wealth of history here. Our parents and their parents had to work for survival, we are the first generation with choices.
So far, I’ve created an investment plan and have started investing in shares. I’ve also registered for premium bonds and have created an ‘emergency fund’ to boot. A few years ago, I was in an awful position where I was unhappy in a job to the extent that my mental health started to really suffer. I didn’t have the savings to quit and I endured a situation that I’m only now getting over. So now, my immediate priority is having enough savings to comfortably get through a month of no income, then 3 months of no income, just in case the worst should happen.
It seems like in order to achieve your goals you need more hours in the day. I think that resting well is pivotal to productivity. I’m not sure about you, but I get more done in a couple of hours when I’m well rested than I do in an entire working day if I’m tired. I don’t sleep enough at the moment. Blame a 3 year old who fights sleep until late at night. So I need to improve her sleeping habits in order for me to create my own sleeping habits. Wish me luck!
So nothing here is particularly radical. But they’ll all have positive results. A happier, more chilled version of me. Good all round. I’ll of course let you know how I get on with these, as well as how I got on with my goals for the end of 2020. Spoiler alert; I still can’t make jollof rice. Just take away my Nigerian badge now as I hang my head down in shame.