I enjoyed the most delicious breakfast - overnight oats with cocoa cream - and a cup of coffee with coconut creamer. I'm feeling good. Life is good.
Isn't it funny how a good meal or a delicious snack can alter our whole perception of life - even if only for a moment?
It's not only good food, but also kind and encouraging words from others, a hot shower, a nap, an inspiring idea, music, moving our bodies... that can change how we feel, and thus how we express ourselves through our speech and actions.
These will not change our reality - but what is our reality really? In a way, isn't our reality equal to our perception of the world?
So regardless of how amazing or how horrible your week is going, remember that you deserve an upgrade. Small actions can bring about big results. The shortlist above can help you get started.
This is issue #38 of Upgrade with Nelly.
In this newsletter, I discuss self-care, personal productivity, business, mindset during the COVID-era, and how to balance a busy home life.
In Today's Issue:
1. Chaos in New York City (and tips for handling quarantine)
2. Weekly achievements
3. Health tip
4. Relationships, actions, and triggers
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1. Chaos in New York City
In New York City, where I live, our government has again closed down parts of the city. Many public schools that had "blended learning", 1-2 days in school instruction, and 3-4 days learning via Google classroom, have now moved fully to remote learning. Private schools fully paid for by the parents to ensure full in-person learning this year, that have been in full compliance of mask-wearing and all the protocols and with zero COVID cases have also been shut down, and are learning via Zoom.
"I don't know how I'm going to get through this, AGAIN" is what mothers have been sharing with me.
You will get through this.
We will get through this.
One day at a time.
Back in May, I taught a webinar discussing how to navigate the 2020 lockdown situation. Unfortunately, right now, this training is relevant once again. So whether you are again affected by the government closures and everyone is home or you are self-quarantining due to having COVID exposure, or you just need some inspiration - check out this training.
This is not by any means a full solution to the situation, however, if you implement just ONE idea within the next 24 hours you will upgrade your life and the lives of your family.
2. Weekly Check-Ins
Our theme for October is small and meaningful goals. How is it going for you so far?
Here is my progress report for last week.
1. Small daily upgrades.
For nearly a month I have been having problems with my iPhone. The apps weren't loading, I wasn't able to take photos because the memory was showing as full (the "Other" section was taking up 45 GB out of my 64 GB total, clearly a problem), and text messages were not going through. Finally, I fixed the problem. Multiple calls to apple support, visiting two "we fix phones" places, and trial and error, and finally, the phone is working! #Upgrade
Secondly, my laptop screen was disgustingly dirty. I would be embarrassed for you to see me typing away. It wasn't a big deal, as it worked just fine, but it was a little annoyance I was too lazy to do anything about. But comes this monthly goal of small upgrades. So I got a microfiber cloth and cleaned the screen, thoroughly. I feel like I have a new MacBook.
Is there something dusty, moded, dirty, messy, or wrinkled that you have been avoiding getting back into shape? Next week is the week.
Also, as everyone is home, the living room is a bit messy. Not as messy as it would have been having it not been for my decluttering and organizing efforts, but still not ideal. I got myself flowers while doing grocery shopping, and the bright yellow in the middle of my dining room table is what I am focusing on. Another visual upgrade.
What small actions can you take this week to upgrade your life?
2. Thinking Time
Thinking time is about having daily, alone time, to think. This is not a time to complete a goal or get something completed. This is time to analyze problems, to dream big, to reconnect with self, to pause and reflect on what is. Thinking time can be writing morning pages, creating a vision board, taking a solo walk, or just sitting and thinking!
After experimenting with thinking time this week, I had to admit that I did not yet discover the ideal way to execute thinking time. However, I am clear on what thinking time is NOT.
Thinking time is NOT about being alone in silence and expecting brilliant wisdom, life clarity, or solutions to your problems to come, just because you showed up.
Instead, thinking time should be accompanied by an intention.
You can select a problem you would like to find the solution to during your thinking time.
You can begin with a question you need an answer to, or a specific area of your life you are uncertain how to proceed.
The more specific your question, your topic, or the problem you are solving...the more likely thinking time will produce the clarity that you seek.
3. Home organization continued
There is so much uncertainty happening now. I'm not in control of so many things, but organizing my home...that I can do....that... I'm in control of. So I'm taking on this goal both for the end result (clean house) AND the feelings of stability the process itself will bring.
When it came to decluttering, I worked on it by categories - as Marie Kondo suggests in The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up. I decluttered clothes and shoes, books, papers, etc. So regardless of where those items were in the house, I focused on them, again as the decluttering expert suggests. (Decluttering always comes before organizing).
When it comes to organizing, however, I'm working on the house in sections. The organizing process which I define as finding a specifically designated place for every single item in that area also results in the next level of deeper decluttering. The bin for toy cars can "only" handle 27 cars, cars 28 and beyond have got to go.
I have been having many "shower moments" outside of the shower. Lots of ideas in my mind that I have been letting slide away.
I'm so excited to report that last week was a success.
I have a new "idea notebook" dedicated to recording my insights. And I've been pausing and writing them down. Not every idea, not all the time, but definitely more frequently than the previous week.
3. Health Tip
Let's talk about sugar cravings. Craving and indulging in sweets and sugary treats during times of stress, uncertainty, and as the weather gets colder is common.
Just because something is common and frequently occurring does not mean that it is good for you.
Make it your goal to cut down your daily sugar intake.
Cinnamon helps curb sugar cravings! So sprinkle some cinnamon (a few shakes) into your coffee or on top of your yogurt. Be sure to use good quality, fresh, if possible organic cinnamon to get the best benefits.
I personally do not love cinnamon, however, because I have seen its effects on others I have started adding it into my hot drinks in the afternoon (which is when my sugar cravings begin) and have definitely seen results.
4. Relationships, actions, triggers
When relating to people, do not assume that others will necessarily relate to your words or actions the same way you would. You may think of something as "no big deal", or a minor inconvenience, while it may trigger someone else into deep sadness or anger.
Our past experiences, and mainly our memories and unresolved emotions about those past experiences, may trigger grand reactions in our present.
I remember going to a grocery store on Long Island, New York back in April (at the start of COVID), where there was a big sign that read "Limit: 2 egg cartons per customer". To someone this may just be factual information: "OK, I'll get 2 cartons today". To someone else this may be the reason to get resourceful: "Since most of the eggs we will be using for an omelet, I guess I won't bake carrots muffins because the recipe requires 8 eggs, but bake banana bread instead since it only requires 3 eggs". Others won't be affected at all: "I'm vegan and don't eat eggs anyway".
But for me: that poorly centered sign typed in all CAPS was a total trigger. Seeing that sign announcing a limit on purchase quantity set me back to my childhood (in the former Soviet Union), and food rations. (In order to be ALLOWED to PURCHASE many food items, you had to have a coupon from the government "allowing" you to make that purchase, and of course, there was always a limit to what was allowed.). Feelings of uncertainty, lack, fear were triggered in me, and on that one shopping trip - I stacked up months worth of food.
You may not have grown up in poverty in a *commune in Soviet Russia as I have, but we all have our triggers.
(*If you don't know what a commune is, google it. Warning - it's not pretty)
Reading this now, it is important we do our best to be kind and thoughtful to other people. Our words and our careless actions can trigger another to a dark place. While each individual is responsible for working on themselves and healing pain points that may be activated in the present (we all get triggered in some way!), reading this right now perhaps can serve as a reminder for you to be more considerate of others.
And please remember this about your loved ones - sometimes a strong reaction from them is not to be taken personally, it is often in fact not us, but them (processing their own "stuff".).
That's it for today.
Have a happy week.
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