Originally published in the Girls’ Night In newsletter Issue #151.

By Alisha Ramos

Happy New Year and welcome back to GNI. The team and I were able to live our values and take a bit of a break from the newsletter this winter and it was so nice. There’s something so wonderful about a break that spans 2+ consecutive weeks. Rather than the usual stop-and-go mental whiplash of going from relaxed to anxious energy that the usual work-week-to-weekend-and-back-again cycle brings, I was able to take a long, deep breath…physically and mentally. I got great sleep. I watched a ton of Netflix. I wore the same sweatpants most days. Generally, I did a whole lot of nothing and it was awesome.

What’s more, the usual tension that holds everything together into a tall, rigid tower of “to-do’s” and worries in my brain eased until everything loosened, swirled, and collapsed delicately. This gave my mind the sudden free range to think about things other than work. I even embroidered a little. (That is, until my dog literally ate my embroidery. Lucky for him, he’s impossibly cute.)

This all made me wonder — why can’t I be this relaxed all year?! How can I reclaim my brain space in 2020? I’m still working through this list, but here are some simple practices I’ll try out this year to free up my noggin from worries and stress. (Note: I got this idea of a “less” and “more” framework from Stella Bugbee.)

LESS: Brain space and/or actions dedicated to work outside of work.
MORE: Doing nothing. Actions and tasks are one thing (like Slack and emails), but brain space is a whole other thing. I think about work a lot (because I love it and I get excited), but a 24/7 obsession with work is not good for anyone, especially friends and family around you who want to connect with you.

LESS: Screen time.
MORE: Analog time. I’m trying to find a screen-free post-work activity each day and do that thing for at least 30 minutes. I mentioned embroidery, but other activities: reading a book, doing a puzzle, going to the gym or a class, cooking something from the NYT Cooking app (which I’m fully obsessed with).

LESS: Worrying about something and thinking about it obsessively.
MORE: Asking for help. Again, the key is to free up your brain space. You don’t have to face it alone! Ask for help and let it go.

I’m curious if any of you have found practical ways to free up your brain space after work? Hit reply and share with us. I’m logging off to go read more of Little Women now. 👋

What kinds of less/more things do you want to work on in the New Year? 👇 To sign up to receive musing like this in your inbox every Friday, click here.