I’ve been trying to write this post for a week now, but between catching up at work and home and some last minute fun stuff (aka my first Blackhawks game of the season!) I just haven’t had the time necessary to sit down and write the HLS recap post I’ve wanted to. I don’t like doing the play-by-play style recap as there are plenty of those in the other recaps out there. For me it’s about reflecting on what I took away from not only the sessions but the event itself. I finally got a moment (or more realistically, I’ve finally created a moment) to sit and write down all the post-HLS thoughts I’ve had bouncing around in my head.
(I suppose that should read “I went!” now huh…?)
First of all, it’s funny how a very similar situations can be a totally different experience depending on the person you are at the time. It’s also amazing how much you can see the changes in yourself reflected in an outside experience. As I was reflecting on HLS13 and how different it felt to me, I went back and re-read my recap from 2010. Even reading that post now, I can acutely remember the panic I felt at the thought of being at an event with 199 strangers. Literally the only reason I didn’t just get on the train and head home after work that Friday afternoon was because I was attending with Krista. I’m sure the fact that I knew a lot more people heading in to HLS this year made a difference, but overall, I was just more comfortable. All my nerves heading into HLS this year were related to traveling there. (I’m a really nervous traveler when I travel by myself.) I wasn’t worried about the fact that I only knew a handful of people. When I got there, I actually talked to people I’d never met. In the round table session on Friday and the ice-breakers on Saturday morning, I was actually one of the more vocal people in the respective groups. At the cocktail party, I spent a solid chunk of time talking to the Blue Diamond reps. I made small talk with people! (I hate making small talk so that’s kind of a big deal for me.) It’s amazing how far I’ve come in the last three years overcoming social anxiety and being more outgoing. It’s with complete confidence I say 2013 Stina is a totally different person than 2010 Stina was. I’ll always be an introvert, but I can really tell I’ve grown and learned a lot when it comes to managing that part of my personality.
As for what I took away from the sessions, the Blogger Self Care Session with Jessica from Bliss and Balance, Becki from Fighting for Wellness, and Elizabeth from My Neon Running Shoes was the session that resonated most with me. (I actually live tweeted that session if you want to look back on my Twitter feed or search the hashtag #HLS13SelfCare, and Laura live blogged it so you can check out her post for notes.) I like to think I’m usually pretty good about taking care of myself, but I was still really excited about this session.
My favorite part of the session, and the part I think I took the most from, was the discussion of technology and how it can both hinder and help self-care and happiness. This really struck a chord with me especially during the discussion of how the constant presence of technology can create tension in relationships and reduce the quality of quality time spent with your friends or significant other. Nik gives me a hard time about my phone being attached to me all the time, and honestly I never thought much about it. After the session I decided to take him a little more serious. I’ve made sure we eat dinner at the table again (instead of in front of the TV). I’m going to make it a point to put my phone in the other room in the evening when we’re hanging out. I’m making it my goal to make our bedroom as technology free as possible (We do have a TV, but it gets turned on maybe once every six months and usually only when I’m by myself.) I’m also going to take the suggestion from the panel and put my phone out of reach so it’s no longer the last thing I look at before bed or the first thing I look at in the morning.
But I’m not just going to be cutting back on technology, I’m also going to use it to help me focus on the things that make me happier. Jess shared the website Happier (they have an iPhone app, but sadly not an Android app) with us. The website and app act like a gratitude journal to help you reflect on and track the little happy moments on a day to day basis. (I believe the app actually prompts you to enter happy moments a few times a days.) I’ve started using the website and plan on taking a cue from Jess and do Happiness Highlights posts on the blog each week to help remind myself that even when things get stressful there are always happy moments in every day. I think this will also help me keep up on Project Life.
The other aspect of the session I loved was the idea of finding your happiness formula. The things that create your personal happiness formula are the things that make you feel like a typical day was the best day ever. I’ve really started to look for these things so that I can start applying them. I know cooking is one of them. I truly enjoy the idea of getting home from work and cooking a meal. I’m hoping that the moments I’m logging via Happier will help me to define patterns in the things that make me happy.
In a lot of ways, I feel like this session comes full circle to the fact that I have gotten much better at managing the fact that I’m most definitely an introvert, and honesty I think a lot of the things I took away from the self care session will really help me become even better at that. As I’m advancing at work, I’m having to spend more time making connections with people I don’t really know. I’m having to make small talk (which I still hate) and a lot of the time, it does cause me some stress. I think if I can really focus on these particular elements of self-care, it will make it easier for me to take on the increased socializing and establishing relationships that will (hopefully!) become a larger part of my job in the near future.
And here’s to an even better, bolder Stina at HLS in Madison next year!