Updated: Mar 8, 2021
Advice from Nisha: Control what you can and set realistic goals
Yes, 2020 was tough for a lot of us in so many ways. For a society that claims that NYE is the most hyped-up holiday, we had way too high of expectations for things to miraculously change on January 1, 2021. Key word: miraculously. With action, they can.
You’ll see me discuss this in other posts, but think about what is in your control. Yes, your hobbies and positive thinking fall in that bucket.
When we succumb to our lesser instincts, constantly complaining about the hermit stage we are in, we leave ourselves open to this self-fulfilling prophecy: We will continue to feel stuck at home and let this further affect our mental health and claim this is never-ending.
We can’t control the timing of the pandemic or other people's risk tolerances. But there are ways we can mitigate the risk of falling into this trap of feeling even more down. Personally, I spent some time evaluating the silver linings of 2020. For example, working from home enabled me to spend more quality time with Mia and Nick. I recently looked back at ways I controlled the situation to derive a better outcome. No, I couldn’t attend fashion week and no, I didn’t go to as many trendy restaurants in the West Village. But there are actions I took to satiate my cravings for fashion and food.
Here are my recommendations:
1) Set specific goals and realistic “resolutions” One of these should always involve learning something new. This is a healthy practice and will keep you motivated. Further, not all of these goals have to have the same objective. Not all of them will relax you or relieve anxiety.
2) Hold yourself accountable (thank you, technology, for pestering me with my screen time and step count. At least Netflix took Friends, Gossip Girl and the Office off…). And try not to cheat (too much) - you’re only hurting yourself. If you ate a carton of ice cream (like my husband did, leaving my daughter none), that’s okay. Just don’t do it the next day.
3) Reward yourself for good behavior. I reward myself every Sunday (right when I’m getting the Sunday blues) by scrolling through pictures and doing a celebration dance with Mia (I do have a leg up here, as my daughter is a pretty awesome dancer).
If you are curious to know my specific goals, see below. Remember, as an Indian woman, I grew up with parents telling me “B is for bad”, so all of my goals have been set such that I can get an A+ on all of them every week.
Nisha’s Goals to “learn something new”
1) Despite pulling an all-nighter the prior night to work on a left-lead transaction (for non-bankers, translation: somewhat important, high-stress project), I took 45 minutes to run to the Met, turn off my phone, and go through the fashion exhibition. Can you believe Gabrielle Chanel (in 1925!) created this Evening Dress, which led way to the "little black dress" that we wear so often? Tip: 45 minutes may not nearly be enough time, but set your schedule to work for you. I did this in two 45-minute sessions over two weeks. But I did what I needed to do to still feel connected to the fashion community.
2) Like every other New Yorker, I’m a self-proclaimed foodie. So if I can’t dine at a Michelin-star restaurant, may as well learn how to cook good food at home, right? In all fairness, (a) my mom is the world’s best (and diverse) cook and (b) I have always enjoyed cooking, so I did have a little bit of a head start here. Given my obsession with Paris, I ventured into several French dishes (see my French onion soup below).
Tip: It’s not always a one size fits all. I only have a limited amount of time between my high-demanding job and toddler. Hence, I decided to have my daughter make her own “soup” with spices, a pot of water and vegetables and used this as an opportunity to teach her about cooking and different utensils. Messy? Yes. Fun? Yes, yes, yes.
3) I am making a conscious effort to learn more about modern art. I’m a total newbie (so if any of you have more insight, I would love to chat!). Context? We are in the process of purchasing a co-op and I want to use this as an opportunity to buy my first meaningful art piece. But that’s extra exciting for me because that means I can spend time learning about art history – something which I never ventured into previously. As Satya Nadella (fellow-Boothie) says, “Always keep learning. You stop doing useful things when you don’t learn.”
By the way, I have endeavored to be more artistic myself. After our first snowfall (And probably our only real one for the next five years; thank you, Global Climate Change), I spent 45 minutes building the perfect snow-person. Apparently beauty is in the eye of the beholder as Mia didn't seem to appreciate my art.
4) I’m a traveler, and having my only travel experience in 2020 be to California to see my family for Christmas was sad. So I am consciously finding safe ways to travel. For all of you pandemic-travel haters, you have reached the wrong destination. Please make a legal u-turn. Your destination is the UES Mothers Facebook group, where venting and judging is welcomed! Tip: Don’t do anything you don’t feel safe doing, and don’t judge others for their decisions either. Everyone says, “weird times.” Well, take that to heart.
5) 10,000 steps (on average) a day
What are your thoughts? How do you plan on making 2021 different?
<3 XoXo Nisha