Though I rarely make New Year's Resolutions, I love reading about them. But a twist on reflecting on the change over from the old year to the new that seemed particularly interesting was from Ashley from Happy, Sweet, Pretty, and Anne, the Modern Mrs. Darcy . Both reflected on what worked for them in 2016. What a great idea! We are often stuck on the ideas of growth and aspiration- which can be great- but we need to celebrate the wins too, and by focussing on what worked, it can show us what is worth our time.
I'll be honest, a lot of my own list is small stuff; the baby preparations seemed to have taken over the year!
1) Better control of my Type 1 Diabetes
If this was the only thing I could have had on this list, I still would be over the moon! Living with a chronic (and "invisible" to others) disease is not easy. Even my husband, who sees the most of what all living with diabetes really entails, couldn't see all of it (he went on an eating regime that ended up being almost exactly what I am required to do except he didn't need to take medication or check his glucose levels). There are a thousand small things one must do to manage one's health. Which is why, doctors can help. Diabetes educators can help. Nurses can help. Family can help- but it is also why they tell you that only you are the expert on your own body and health. Diabetes takes a lot of adjustments in your medication, requires you to conjecture what will or could have caused changes. In some ways this is very empowering, but it can also feel like a personal defeat when your test results don't show all the hard work you (and by that, I mean *I*) have put in. Unfortunately, for me, it seemed like my test results scores were getting worse, despite more effort and stringent control happening on my part. It was like a mystery I just couldn't solve!
That changed in May. When I became pregnant, I saw a different set of doctors and diabetes educators who switched me to different medication, and set different goals for my day to day carb intake. While some days are better than others, I'm very pleased to say that overall, my diabetes is in the best control it has ever been and my pregnancy looks far more like a typical woman's than one dealing with this disease. There will be new challenges as I have to relearn how my body reacts to everything post pregnancy (everything can affect one's diabetes including hormones etc.), but changing medication has made the single biggest difference in my health! Hooray!
2) Make my bed everyday
I'm not even sure this had been a conscious goal, but this year was the epiphany that if my bed is made, I'm more likely to have a good day. Feeling that my personal space is in order helps kick start the feeling that rest of my day can be in order too.
Have you ever felt that way?
3) Skin Care Routine
Let's not dwell on how I made it 31 years without a skin care routine. This year was finally the year I managed to find not only something that actually worked, but was simple enough to be a routine I could carry on. I use a morning lotion, and a night cream for my face. A facial wash and body wash is used in the showerThen, to prevent stretch marks and just keep generally hydrated I use a combo of an exfoliating salt scrub, an essential oil and body lotion.
Maybe one day I'll even learn how to put on make-up effectively!
4) Using Snapchat
These next two are bit of funny ones, because as far as social media goes, its been a mixed bag this year. I quit my blog for the better part of the year, and am not sure where it is going even now that it has been started again. In addition to which, we have so many talking heads and articles preaching the importance of unplugging. But these two things both worked for me this year.
I signed up for Snapchat before this year, because my sister asked me to. But, to be honest, I didn't really use it all that much till we took a trip to see her in April, and I could see how she utilized it, what she snapped and what she enjoyed from it. I still only have a handful of contacts- and that's okay. The point wasn't followers. Snapchat still gets used almost every day. I'm a big believer in the "Languages of Love" and one is giving of gifts. Not the wrapped-in-bow kind (though that kind is good too), but sharing little things you know the other person might enjoy. In this case, where the other person lives far way, a little peek into daily life- a funny sign, a sight they saw, even just seeing you make a funny face- really can add a lot to someone's day. I feel more connected to her and the other handful of people I Snap with.
5) Instagram Improvements
I've made two changes to how I use Instagram and both immensely improved my enjoyment of the platform.
First is using hashtags. That same trip, my sister mentioned how important it was to use the right hashtags- not just of what the photo was of, but the mood it might invoke or the place hashtag etc. So that people would see it and connect to something larger than just that photo. She also pointed us to us that, unlike with Twitter or Facebook, there wasn't really a downside to using a lot of hashtags. I think she said it in reference to a friend's account sharing drawings or my Dad's account sharing his art photography. But it made sense. I've started using more and have seen that not only has there been a (modest) gain in those numbers, but I love looking through those more effective hashtags and seeing some of the photos. Okay, a lot of time I'm looking at the #wirefoxterriers hashtag to see cute dogs or #pinupgirl to see awesome chicks in cool dresses, but who doesn't need more images of cute dogs and people in their lives?
The second change I made was to start following interesting people and institutions, rather than just people I know. I have Facebook for the people I know and I do follow some of them, but I also now follow museum feeds to see gorgeous art, a ballerina's feed to see some of the amazing limits the human body can be pushed to, and- my personal favorite- the smithsonian zoo for the best animal photos around. PANDAS are featured frequently. I rest my case.
6) Bluetooth for Podcasts
Okay, so this one came together in the very last days of 2016, but it has already been so helpful and so effective and easy that I just had to share. Over Christmas I was gifted with a device that allowed for bluetooth capabilities in my car and we got an Amazon Echo. Both of these can connect to my phone and therefore to my Stitcher Account. For those not in the know, Stitcher is an app that is basically the Netflix of podcasts, except even better than Netflix because it is free. You can follow and listen to all your favorite podcasts in one place, and see when they update automatically. By being able to connect to these devices, I can now easily listen to podcasts where ever I go. I need to turn off my car; the bluetooth device automatically stops the podcast and saves my spot. I want to turn up or down the volume, but am in another room? The amazon echo responds to verbal commands.
It is the easiest thing every and I'm actually able to keep up with my massive list of podcast shows!
What worked well for you in 2016?