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It’s that time of year again; the festivities have passed and the New Year is here. There’s a stillness as we reflect on the year that’s been and look ahead to 2020. I always find January a hard month to be motivated in, so this year I’m going to embrace that and use it to take stock and address all the things I’ve been putting off in the busyness of 2019. This year has left me exhausted; prepping for another baby, having the baby and recovering, and then learning to juggle two kids in the build-up to Christmas which is my busiest work period of the year. I want to strip things back and focus on what’s really important, finding ways to streamline our life as a family. I’ve already done this in a very physical way, with my annual Marie Kondo-style pre-Christmas clear out. It felt so good to get rid of the clutter and just leave us with things of use or true enjoyment but I want to reflect on how I can do this with the less tangible elements of life like time and focus.Last year was the first time Yankee Candle had produced a Scent of the Year, you may even remember my
“We’ve learned through our research for Scent of the Year that there is a significant cultural shift away from always wanting more: more options, more communication, more material clutter. Increasingly, people want to simplify their lives, unplug from the constant chatter of technology, and reconnect with themselves and with those they care about,” says Anna Whitton, Vice President of Marketing, Yankee Candle Company. “Consumers are seeking out meaningful experiences.”
Yes, yes and yes! I think we’re learning that we need to step away from the noise that tells us we ‘need’ more stuff; need to be busier, need to be plugged-in all the time! It’s far better to be present in our experiences and actually enjoy what we have. The 2020 Scent Of The Year is a one-of-a-kind, crystalline mineral fragrance with grounding notes of driftwood and amber. As the name suggests, ‘Awaken’ was developed to inspire you to open your eyes to the simple beauty of the everyday, giving you a clear, bright vision for the new year.
I thought I’d become much more discerning with what made it into our home in the last year. I’ve been trying to buy more thoughtfully and with the intention of less waste but standing in front of the bags and bags of homeware, clothes and toiletries that were either being passed on to friends, charity shops or the bins. I felt really sick at the amount that had been sat in our home, unused and unloved, lots of it headed for landfill…grim! The freedom of getting it all out of the house was liberating (I literally get highs from clearing out our home) but it gave me a renewed sense of purpose when it comes to honing my discernment for what and how much we consume.
I’m also very aware that clutter doesn’t just come as physical objects. The Yankee Candle Scent of the Year has made me consider how I use my phone, when I check my emails and question how much work for my business I really need to take on to make ends meet. Life is full as it is with two kids, one of which will be weaning and the other potty training this January (wish me luck). I desperately want to be present for them, not constantly stolen away with work projects. It’s easy to let life just whisk you away and suddenly you’re in the swirling rapids unable to stop and think. As someone who has a tendency to say ‘yes’ to way too much, work or just in general life, I’m constantly in this situation.
I don’t know about you, but writing lists is really therapeutic for me. It gets all my plans and intentions down on paper so that my mind feels free. I’ve designed some
The first sheet is looking ahead to the year as a whole and noting your intentions. I much prefer that word to resolutions as they don’t feel so binding, like you’re setting yourself up to fail. Intentions whether big or small give some focus as you enter the year and should direct you rather than tie your hands.
The second pair of sheets is for monthly planning in order to be more deliberate with your money, time and efforts. Realistically think about what you need or even would like to buy. I’m talking about purchases outside of the bare essentials because as you may, notice there isn’t space for your weekly food shopping list in there. Hopefully seeing these things written down might make you more discerning and question if it’s really necessary. This is followed by what you can either sell on or give to charity/ friends to avoid your home gathering clutter for months on end resulting in a grueling end of year clear out like yours truly. It may also reveal patterns of things you buy but don’t use. There’s also a section to carve out some restorative time because if you write it down, it’s much more likely to happen. Whether it’s scheduling in a kid-free couple of hours, some time to read your book, prayer journal, have a long bath or spend time with good friends, it’s worth thinking about what helps you feel restored. Then there’s something you’d love to achieve in that month. I guess you could call it a goal, but it could be as small as you’d like, just make sure its achievable.
Finally, there are some weekly planner sheets to give clarity to the upcoming week. I know lots of things have gone digital but I still love being able to physically write down and cross things off from a weekly planner, whether that’s work or just life admin. There’s something about seeing my week written down that helps ready me for it and frees me up to stop thinking and stressing about it all when I’m with people or listening to a sermon or on a journey.
I hope you enjoy