MONTH OF ME

So, truth time: I'm feeling majorly stuck. And I have been for a really, really, long time. At least in certain areas of my life. 

In unstuck-land: I'm lovvvvvvving working with the @a1000xbetter girls and I'm super psyched about all the great content I've been producing for HGTV. I even have a few amazing dream clients RN, who are super fab and easy to work with. All of these things make me happy, inspire me creatively and are just loads of fun. I also have an ah-mazing husband, an adorable new senior pup Gus, and an kickass house in Northeast Los Angeles. 

Ok, so wtf is the problem, Erica???

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My ish is, with anything that's associated with JUST me...and my brand (ok, grab your barf bags if you need to, folks. I just used the "b" word)...I just can't get my shit together. 

I come up with a shit ton of ideas all the time: ideas about a podcast I want to do, an online course, coaching services, an online vintage shop, more rad blog content, an online weekly insta live show, a fun, once-in-awhile tour of the Rose Bowl Flea, an airbnb course for super hosts, a business brainstorm offering I could do with creative business owners...all ideas, ALL THE TIME. But for the past year or so, my standard response to these ideas is to do absolutely nothing. Nada. Zilch. 
 

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I'm at the point where doing nothing has started to feel normal. Even something dead easy like posting a pic on Instagram--which I used to do every single day--feels like a major struggle. I'm STUCK, YO.

I'm not entirely sure why all of this happening, though I have a few ideas: 

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+ My default setting has pretty much always been mildly depressed. Even with my daily anti-depressant pill (which I cannot function without...buh-lieve me...I've tried), I usually am just always a bit down. I'm pretty positive that "a bit down" has likely shifted into a solid "medium down," over the past year. 

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+ Because of what happened in our last election, politics has taken a major front seat in my life in a way it never had before. Mostly this has created a lot of feelings of frustration, anger, hopelessness, and helplessness. On the flip side, I'm feeling much more educated, fired up, and ready to help bring about change in response to this shit show that has become our democracy, BUT, I still haven't figured out how to compartmentalize all of this in my life and if I'm being honest: there are many more negative/dark feelings associated with all of this than there are positive. 

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+ I don't have a main goal...even a semblance of a main goal. Meaning, I'm not really sure who or what I want to be when it comes to my own shit? Do I want to be a podcaster? A lifestyle blogger? Do I want to be an online course creator? Do I want to be a coach? Or maybe have a youtube channel? I have no fucking clue. And, after awhile, that makes me feel like maybe I don't really care about *any* of those things. Because if I wanted to focus on any of them, wouldn't I just focus on them?? For realz, I've spent so much time wondering: what if I just want to do nothing from here on in?? There isn't even a word for this...a kidless woman who just doesn't want to work. Not a housewife...not a stay-at-home-mom...seriously--THERE IS NO WORD. What if I am this thing that there is no fucking word for??? Yep: that's kinda scary to me. 

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+ I'm not even sure how design fits into all of this. I mean: I can't imagine not having design in my life...I still crazy love it more than almost anything. But in this other content/branded area of my life, does it def need to focus around design too?? Back when I was a marketing director, the idea of anyone actually hiring me as a designer was literally insane to me. But now that that's happened many times over, I don't feel like I need that affirmation anymore. For awhile, I needed the universe to help me understand that I'm actually a real-life good designer...now I know I'm a good designer. I know I can kick the shit out of any room I walk into, and I sort of just don't need to prove it to anyone anymore. So do I still want to create design-related content? Be known as a designer? I. HAVE. NO. CLUE.

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+ I've lost touch with my "why." Why do I want to do any of this? What do I care about? What do I really want to do? What kind of business do I want to build for us? What do I LIKE to do? I honestly have trouble answering these questions right now. 

Needless to say, I've thought about all this a LOT. If you are my friend, I've probably made you listen to me blather on and on about this. I've spoken to therapists, coaches, smart people, people who really care and want me to succeed. And still I feel totally stuck.

So I came up with a kinda whacky idea to try to deal with all this: I want to devote an entire month to ME.

I want to focus on myself, my health, my well being, my spirituality, my skin...basically anything to do with improving my life. And yep: that means I'm not really focusing on ANYTHING on that list above. I will not focus on my "brand" or what my next move might be. I will not worry about a dumb insta post that didn't get a ton of comments. I will not actively try to come up with my next brilliant biz idea. 

And I know this gameplan seems kinda weird and counter-intuitive. But my hope is that: mayyyyyyyybe if I just focus on myself, that will allow me to take ALLLL of the pressure off and the other stuff will start to come into focus? 

Also, maybe not. In which case I will really be no worse off than I am right now.

Presumably: I will actually be way better off, cause even if I'm still totally confused about the rest of my life, at least I will have practiced an entire month of self-care. And I mean: I've never done this before, but it's hard for me to imagine that after focusing on myself for a solid month there would be annnnny downsides. I mean, right? It's gotta all be positive? 

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I also love the idea of doing this BEFORE 2018. The start of the year when everyone is focused on goals and resolutions and all that crap. My hope is that I will take this time to really work on myself, and go into 2018 feeling way less anxious (and hopefully more clear) than I normally might. If I do have goals by January, my hope is that it's because I've come to them in a more real, inspired way. Like: not because i sat down at a table and said to myself: IT'S NOW TIME TO COME UP WITH A GOAL FOR THE YEAR! JUST DO IT! 

So yeah: I've decided that the month is December is gonna be the #monthofme And I'm gonna share with you everything I plan to do, on the off chance that maybe you wanna do some of this shit too. Cause maybe you also feel stuck? Or maybe you've been struggling with a decision for awhile and you just can't sort it out? Or maybe you just don't pay attention to this stuff and want to start. You def don't need to be in the same place I am, but if you wanna join in in any way, shape or form, I would LOVE IT!

So what the eff am I gonna do? Well, I'm gonna lay it out. But to summarize: I wanna get reallllll focused on me, myself and I.

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I was inspired to do this after listening to an ep of one of my fave podcasts: Mind Your Business. On this particular episode, James Wedmore, the host, talked with his wife Chelsea about how important self-care is for entreprenuers. You should listen to it pronto (pretty much every other ep is also magic, so settle in if you're looking for a new pod). Those two talked about 7 main things to focus on with a self-care practice: 

  1. Morning Routine
  2. Focusing on a hobby or passion
  3. Changing your environment up
  4. Celebrating all your wins
  5. Travel
  6. Focus on your body
  7. Meditation or spiritual practice

So I decided to use this as a jumping off point. But I wanted to get even more specific: so I am gonna break-down what I want do into a few diff categories: daily stuff, one-off, and environmental stuff. 

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Environmental stuff: 
+ Keep our space clean and clutter free (tidy up in morn and eve before bed)
+ Try an essential oil diffuser
+ Make my bed every day
+ Tackle some organizational projects (outdoor storage, linen closet, etc)
+ Donate or throw out anything that's been sitting around
+ Figure out my daily news allowance
+ Eat dinner with Greg every night at our table (no phones)
+ Drink more water

Morning Routine: 
+ Wake up at 6am every day
+ Morning Skincare routine
+ Take my vitamins and anti-depressant (I'm currently VERY spotty on my vitamins)
+ feed/walk Gus
+ 10 mins of meditation
+ Walk around the reservoir (listen to an inspirational podcast...NOT a political one)

Daily Routine: 
+ 1.5 hours of education (catching up on online courses I've bought but have not finished)
+ Stick to keto diet for the entire month

Nightly Routine: 
+ 5pm - 20 mins writing in journal
+ Right before bed - 30 mins reading (an actual book!)
+ Nightly Skincare 

One-Off (or semi-regular) Stuff to Tackle
+ Mammogram
+ Eye exam for me and Greg
+ Physical/blood test for me
+ Scheduled self-care (mani/pedi, massage, eyebrows, etc). 
+ Plan next trip for Greg and I to Mexico
+ Try to uncover a creative practice I want to get back into (journaling? collages?)
+ Classes to explore: photgraphy, spanish, new exercise classes
+ Exploring LA more (Broad museum)
+ Taxes for 2017 (get ready to file)
+ Create a dog park schedule for Gus
+ Work with a trainer/Gus to help us better listen to each other
+ Try new keto recipes
+ Better scheduling laundry for airbnb

So as you can see, almost all of this stuff is super duper specific to me. So yeah: this doesn't apply to anyone but moi. BUT, you can feel free to use it as a jumping off place for yourself and steal anything that might work for you. 

Lists are always great for me, but if I just wrote out the above lists, most of this shit would STILL probably not get done. 

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So I decided to write it all out on a calendar (yep: I told you I wanted to get REAL focused). Here is what the start of my cal looks like. 

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Based on that list above, it might seem like a TON of stuff, but really when you break it down, it's not (especially since so many of those things are one offs). 

So I'm going to type up a list of my daily routines and hang em all over our house (that's not stuff I put on the cal as it will be the same every day). 

And then I made this calendar to track my one off stuff and/or the semi-regular stuff (this is the calendar pad I use, by the way; and here's my fave daily todo list pad that I use almost every day). I scheduled and made appointments for everything I could. But even for stuff I don't really need an appt for (like a mani/pedi), I wanted to make sure to calendar it so that it's not just "eh, I'll do it when I can type stuff." In general: I'll do it when I can = I don't do it. 

I'm not sure what will work and what won't...so I realize I might have to do some adjusting throughout the month. That's ok too.

Also: THIS IS JUST A MONTH. I am only committing to all this shit for 30 days. What happens after that, I don't know. Maybe I'll love it and want to continue. Maybe I'll hate it all and want to never do it again. But a one month committment seems doable and manageable. I can handle it, you can handle it, we can all manage one little ole month. 

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And also, also: even if you are just committing to ONE THING for this whole month focused on your own self-care, it will be amazing. So don't feel overwhelmed by my list. Just pick one damn thing and go with that. 

Here are a few things that I bought already in the hopes that I will use them during my #monthofme: 

+ Tribe of Mentors - Tim Ferris's new book where he shares life advice, hacks and formulas from over 100 super successful experts across all sorts of fields. 
+ The Mastery Journal - The best daily planner for mastering productivity, discipline & focus in 100 days. I'm going to try to write in this every day and use it to keep myself on track. 
+ You Are a Badass at Making Money: Master the mindset of Wealth by Jen Sincero; I seriously need this book. I'm deeply horrible at understanding my worth and keeping myself in the right money mindset. 
+ 52 Lists for Happiness - Weekly Journaling Inspiration for Positivity, Balance & Joy; I like lists better than sometimes just writing. 
+ HP Sprocket mobile printer - I've wanted one of these mobile printers for a really long time. I've been kinda fascinated with art journaling for awhile, and I feel like having this printer will allow me to print out daily photos I take on my phone (which I can then use to zhush up my art journal. (Also: here is a fave Insta account I follow for art journaling inspo. 

Now I'm gonna answer a few questions I've been getting: 

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Will you be working this month, or are you JUST doing self-care? 
I'll be working too. But right now my "work" is not at all focused on me or my biz...that stuff I'm going to try to ignore. 

If I wanna join in, do I have to do this for the whole month? 
Nope. Do it for a day, or do it for a week. I like the idea of a month, so that's what I'm going to stick to. 

Do I have to start on the same day as you? 
Nope. 

Do I have to make a calendar? 
I mean look: it's a free country. You don't have to do anything. BUT, I would highly recommend you write this all out to keep yourself accountable and stick to it. 

I'm super busy. What if I don't have time to do any of this stuff? 
Sorry, dude: I call bullshit on that. Look, I know we are ALL busy. And I admit I am way the hell less busy than the average woman my age simply because I don't have kids. BUT, also: you gotta just commit to the idea that you are going to take some time back for yourself every day and not feel even a teeny bit guilty about it... because that's super duper important too. And that will allow you to be a way better mom, wife, doctor, fire fighter or whatever the hell you're busy doing. Even if you can only commit to 15 mins a day, DO IT. Try it out. See what it's like. It's just a month, yo.

Do I have to focus on as many things as you are? Or the same things? 
Nope and nope. Figure out what you want to focus on and focus on that! There might not be a single crossover on both of our self-care lists of stuff we wanna tackle, and that's no problemo. The general idea is that you are just gonna set super duper intentional and focused on you, you, you and you.

What if I don't have a lot of money to spend? 
You def don't need to turn this into a month of "buying yourself shit." I would say: invest a bit if you can, because there is something psychological about telling the universe that you are worth it. But also, you don't have to spend a lot of money at all! Maybe you are just getting yourself some fancier teas for your cup of tea at night. Or maybe you splurge for a gel mani instead of a regular one. OR, maybe you buy yourself a pretty notebook and really focus on journaling every night for an hour. I promise: you don't have to spend a lot of money to focus on the self-care stuff. 

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I will try to talk about this as much as I can on Insta and share everything that's working and not working for me. Feel free to use the #monthofme hashtag if you wanna join in on the fun too and talk to your community about it. I want as many of you to steal it as you want so that we can all benefit from some big time self-care. 

Ok, so I think that's it! Let me know if you have any other questions and leave em in the comments. GO TEAM #MONTHOFME!