Hey self, it’s been obvious lately that I haven’t exactly been treating you right.
I’ve been staying up late. I’ve been having self-destructive thoughts. I’ve been stressed. I’ve been sick on and off since August. Over these last few months, I haven’t been doing much to impede these and other destructive habits. It’s been a rough time.
But 2015 is right around the corner. A new year — a new start — is just days away. Self, I have wronged you, and it’s time to make some changes.
Resolution One: Do things that make me happy.
Have “Claudia Time” every day, even if it’s just for an hour or so. Drink an iced coffee and scroll through social media at a coffee shop downtown. Listen to Hozier in my beautiful, nest-y, Christmas light-filled room. Actually take the time to read for pleasure. Take lots of naps. Watch an episode of some show on Netflix before I go to bed. Which leads me to my next resolution…
Resolution Two: Go to bed at a reasonable hour.
Okay, it’s college and I recognize that this will be difficult, but I’m constantly feeling worn down. I’ve also been getting sick a lot more than usual lately, which my lack of sleep may be playing a role in. On weeknights, I want to be in bed by midnight at the latest. I’ve always been a person who needs a lot of sleep and ever since I came to college, that need has been seriously neglected. The fact is, it’s not healthy to get so little sleep. (I also recognize the irony that I’m currently typing this, and most definitely not sleeping, after midnight on a Thursday).
Resolution Three: Be selfish.
I don’t need to inconvenience myself every time somebody asks me to do something. It’s okay to say no to people, especially when saying yes to something will put me through unnecessary stress. I need to start thinking of myself first and not put other people’s wellbeing before my own.
Resolution Four: Reduce negative self-talk.
I say a lot of mean things to myself. Whether it’s telling myself I can’t do something or that I did a bad job or that I’m a bad writer or that my new haircut looks like crap or that my outfit sucks, I’m very hard on myself. Unnecessarily hard. It’s probably impossible to have this negativity completely eliminated, especially within a year, but I can take steps to reduce my harmful thoughts.
Don’t be so hard on myself. Don’t turn little setbacks into huge crises. Stop comparing myself to others. Stop thinking I’m weak. Stop assuming I can’t do anything — I can do a lot. Self-worth is something I need to build on.
Resolution Five: Reach out.
I often feel isolated from others, separated from other people. The best way I can describe it is by comparing it to “The Boy in the Plastic Bubble” — I feel like I’m John Travolta, alone in my own little barrier of thought and emotion while others circle around me. Unlike me, these other people are out of their bubbles, free to interact and connect to one another with ease. I’m physically close to the others but there’s always that invisible barrier preventing me from forming close friendships, sharing real feelings and experiences, and allowing people to really know me.
In the upcoming year, I need to take steps to connect to my family and friends. Break free of the bubble. Open up. Don’t keep my thoughts and feelings bottled or pass them off as a joke. Trust others. Not everyone is out to get me. Also, find a decent therapist.
Resolution Six: When it’s 2 a.m. and I come home from a night out and I feel alone, do not text anybody. Do not call anybody. Do not interact with anybody who is not my roommate. Go to bed, dammit.
I present this as a joke, but in all seriousness I have a problem with being alone. When I go from being surrounded by a lot of people with a lot of energy to being alone back in my quiet apartment, I don’t take it well (as my floormates from last year probably know). Usually my nights end with me watching “BoJack Horseman” and crying until I fall asleep. I need to learn to be okay with being by myself and not wake up the next morning to regrettable text messages.
Resolution Seven: (Regarding some of my previous resolutions) stop presenting everything I feel as a joke.
I’ve used humor as a defense mechanism for as long as I can remember. I like to think that I have a good sense of humor, but there are times when I need to be serious. My feelings matter just as much as anybody else’s.
When I started going to therapy, I would nervous laugh and mutter “it’s not a big deal” under my breath every other sentence. But the things I was talking about were not funny and they were a big deal. Don’t downplay my feelings.
Resolution Eight: Distance myself from toxic people.
I know that some people I care a lot about use me. I know that some people I consider friends take advantage of me or only hang out with me because I will do anything they ask. I know that I shouldn’t keep hanging out with these people, but for some reason I continue to do so. Maybe it’s just that I want everybody to like me. But if I continuously surround myself with negative people, they’re just going to have a negative impact on me.
Resolution Nine: Stop predicting the worst possible outcome to every situation.
No, Claudia, I’m not going to fail out of college if I get a C on this test. I’m not going to be fired from my job if one of my writers turns in a bad story. I’m not going to lose all my money and have to live on the street if I buy this five dollar latte from Kaldi’s. Find ways to relax and practice them.
Here’s to 2015. I have a lot of things to work on, but I’m going to be fine. I’ll make it.