In the month of July, I decided I would try one new thing each week as a way to practice self care. I also wanted to find ways to enjoy small moments of fun and new experiences. I have been very busy at work and I’ve been paying attention to how my self-care needs change over time. I notice that simple things/practices are incredibly nourishing so I want to find ways to create space for those simple, small moments.
Here are the new things I tried in July and what I noticed about myself:
Week 1: The NBA playoffs started the first week in July and there was a lot of excitement about the first game! After hearing the history of both teams and the importance of the game, I decided I was going to check out the first game. Just so you know, I know nothing about basketball in terms of the specifics of the game, however, the energy and excitement of cheering on my home team was enough to capture my attention (besides, I could at least follow the score board so how hard could it be?) About halfway through the game, I recognized I was having fun! I felt the energy from the crowd (even thought I watched at home) and I watched the game without distraction. Although this was the first time I ever intentionally watched a game, I immediately recognized that I was intentionally taking myself out of my comfort zone and I did not resist it. It was the highlight of my week! That’s when I decided to continue finding one new thing to try each week, just for the month of July!
Week 2: I think the second week in July I tried pistachios (not in picture grid) as my new experience. A few days before I tried it, I was at the local Co-op and a lady asked if I could help her find the unsalted pistachios in the bulk food section. While I was helping her, she told me how she started eating it and that I should try it. I’ve heard about pistachios but never felt compelled to try it. I must say I enjoyed cracking open the shell more than anything else (you know you do too…don’t you?) I added the pistachios to homemade trail mix and I enjoyed it! It’s probably not a snack that would be first on my grocery list, however, I enjoyed the texture and taste (and I heard pistachio ice cream is really good!) Although I didn’t feel any grand excitement around trying pistachios, I realized that I associate new experiences with enjoyment/fun. In reality, a new experience doesn’t have to be fun or exciting in order for you to learn from it. In my case, I was able to gain the awareness that a new experience doesn’t have to be exciting and it doesn’t take away from the fact that I made the effort to try something new!
Week 3: I love ice cream! I also have a preference and I don’t usually deviate from it. When I find one brand that I love, I stick to that brand and I usually buy plain chocolate ice cream (and some vanilla ice cream because my dog deserves a treat now and then too). My preference over the past 4 years has been Purple Door ice cream and the back up is Culver’s custard. However, I decided to try another local brand of ice cream and got a chocolate brownie flavor from Scratch Ice Cream – it was really good! Each time I ate a scoop, I practiced mindful eating and savored each spoonful. One lesson based on my ice cream experience is that when I stay in my comfort zone all the time, it’s hard to diversity experiences and broaden my worldview. While eating ice cream is not a major life event (okay, speak for yourself, ha! ) this was a small and gentle reminder that it’s okay to try something that doesn’t fit with my norm, and I can always return to my place of safety/comfort. Trying something outside of my comfort zone doesn’t mean I have to stay outside of my zone permanently (unless I want to!)
Week 4: I allowed myself 2 new experiences (wild!) in the last week of July and it was a good idea. Here goes – I drink a lot of tea and decided to try a new tea blend/mix that I never had before. I went out to lunch with some colleagues and the tea I tried came highly recommended 🙂 It was a jasmine green tea made with steamed lemonade! It tasted yummy and seemed like a good drink for winter time. In week 4, I also took a morning walk with a colleague (and our dogs) and part of our walk was through some streets in our neighborhood that I’d never walked before! Although these experience seem small I recognized a couple things: it took courage for me to try a new tea given my tendency to stick to the same drinks/food (I’m a really predictable customer). I also noticed that once I decided to try a new tea I immediately thought about things I may not like before I even tasted it! This is a reflection of how I process some things/experiences – I think of the worst case scenario before I even have the experience. By focusing on the negative I prevent myself from being fully present in the moment and having the experience as it is. This reminds me to pay closer attention to the self-talk and to be brave (as long as it is safe) when stepping out of my comfort zone. On my walk, even though I had company, I focused on my surroundings and because I was closely noticing what was around me, I was able to snap a pic of a bee in a sunflower!
If you’d like to do a deeper exploration of what happens when you have a new experience, I made a journal outline for processing new experiences – enjoy!
Okay, here are some pics from new experiences in July!
What have you learned from new experiences?
I’m going to continue this challenge into August and will take more intentional notes about each new experience. Let me know what you tried and what you learned!