✅ Today’s tip: Build activism into your daily life with small, private actions.

Martin Luther King Day is a good time to check in with yourself about whether you’re being a truly effective ally in the fight for racial justice, or simply a performative one. As Holiday Phillips writes: “Challenge yourself to do things quietly, like changing the things you buy, giving your platform to a BIPOC, or educating yourself on the history of racism without telling everyone about how educated you now are.”

📚 More from Forge on meaningful action:

47 Very Specific Answers to ‘What Can I Do to Help?’

If you’re searching for a pandemic-safe way to meaningfully observe this Martin Luther King Day, the writer Miyah Byrd has compiled a list of ways for anyone to apply their…

✅ Today’s tip: Think of someone in your life who stays calm in times of crisis, and give them a call.

Staying on top of current events can feel like an exercise in masochism these days, and it’s all too easy to let conversations with friends and family turn into two-way anxiety spirals—which is why the therapist Kathleen Smith recommends seeking out the wise and even-keeled people in your circle.

“Look at your family, your community, or even the voices you interact with on the internet,” Smith writes, “and ask yourself who’s staying thoughtful when everyone else is spinning out. These are the folks you want to orbit.” …

✅ Today’s tip: Before buying something on a whim, ask what your future self would find annoying about owning it.

For all those who’ve been making a few too many pandemic impulse purchases lately [immediately hides new waffle maker, temperature-control mug, and inflatable jacuzzi], Sadie Lee offers a series of 19 questions to ask yourself the next time you’re about to click “add to cart.” One that’s particularly helpful: “What negative emotions might come with owning this item?”

Dry-clean-only garments, for example, might be a headache to care for. Plants need watering. A light-colored rug will show all the dirt that’s tracked over it. “Think about the whole life of an item,” Lee writes. …

✅ Today’s tip: Decompress from the week with a foot-rub routine.

To give your stressed-out body some pampering, try this soothing practice from Elemental editor Kate Green Tripp:

“After a shower or bath, find a comfortable seat alongside some nourishing body oil or lotion and a pair of socks. Take five minutes to rub the product deep into your skin, making sure to really massage each heel, ball of the foot, arch, ankle, and toe. Then put on the socks — their job is to lock in the moisture and warmth you’ve just created. …

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Photo: Constantine Johnny/Getty Images

In ways both in and out of our control, this is an era of less: Our worlds are smaller. Our functioning brain cells are fewer. But we can enter the new year resolving to do less, to grind less — and to spend a lot less time in meetings.

My colleague Damon Beres, editor-in-chief of OneZero, recently tweeted out this piece of inspiration:

Whether or not you manage a team, right now, today is a great time to follow suit. Summon whatever take-charge January energy hasn’t already been sapped by recent existential threats to American democracy. …

✅ Today’s tip: Whenever you find yourself worrying about a situation, treat it as a cue to ask what action you can take.

As the performance coach Brad Stulberg writes: “Exerting agency, even if only in small doses, is key to health and well-being.” That might mean doing something about the situation that’s causing you distress, like calling your representative, or doing something about your state of mind, like taking a long walk or calling a friend.

The next time you find yourself slipping into anxiety, figure out what will help you reclaim your sense of agency. The time after that, do it again. Eventually, you can train yourself to spring into action when things feel out of control, rather than letting yourself spiral. …

✅ Today’s tip: Use the “RAIN” method to get out of your own head.

Getting yourself to a place of calm is no easy task in this chaotic time. But meditation teacher Tara Brach’s RAIN technique for quieting the mind is easy enough to follow, even for people who aren’t naturally good at this sort of thing:

  • Recognize what is happening.
  • Allow the experience to be there, just as it is.
  • Investigate with interest and care.
  • Nurture with self-compassion.

The next time you’re feeling stressed, take a deep breath, close your eyes, and go through these four steps.

✍️ We want to hear from you. What’s your favorite method to calm yourself down? View this email in your browser and let us know in a comment! …

✅ Today’s tip: Prioritize your day by pretending you only have a few hours.

Look at your day today. Now imagine it was much, much shorter. Imagine you lost your electric power, your Internet connection, your phone. Imagine that by, say, 10:30 this morning, it was all going to go away. How much could you get done? What would you tackle first?

That’s the experiment Forge’s time-management expert Laura Vanderkam wants you to try this week. See what you can get done. It’s probably more than you think.

📚 More from Forge on working smarter:

Try This If You Can’t Stop Working at Night
Read more…

✅ Today’s tip: Put white space on your calendar.

Free time shouldn’t just be a reward for finishing your work. Instead, Michael Thompson writes, allowing your mind to wander is a requirement for finding ideas, solving problems, and opening yourself to new opportunities. So at the beginning of every week, before you get bombarded with invitations to meetings and other events, block off some white space (if you have a shared calendar, make the event visible so no one can schedule over that time).

“Treat your breaks like you would a meeting with your boss and be on time for them,” Thompson writes. “There’s a big difference between thinking you need a break and knowing that in 20 minutes, you have to take one.” …


Cari Nazeer

Deputy editor, Forge @ Medium

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