cultivate your life

You Need a GYST Day!

You Need a GYST Day!


Have you ever heard of a GYST Day? I recently heard this term and it perfectly sums up how I feel about once a month or every other month when things have just gone WAY off track and I need to gather my life and my thoughts together. I think we all feel these calls to renewal and a fresh start, and it’s great to be inspired like this sometimes.


I bet you’re thinking: what does GYST stand for? Get Your Sh*t Together! How funny and accurate is that?


I often try to ask myself, “If I were talking to myself as a friend, what would I say right now?” Some days, that thought helps me to be more compassionate & kind to myself. And some days, honestly, I just have to sit myself down and say “Get it together!” That’s when I need to refocus and have a GYST Day!


What does a GYST Day look like? Well, it really depends on you. Some of us let our house go, let our appearance go, have zero organization in our calendars and to do lists, have veered way off course at work, you get the picture. For me, it’s usually a combination of all these things!


I can spell out what a GYST Day looks like to me. Maybe this will inspire you to GYST together today!


+ First things first


For me, if I’m feeling off in my life that means I have to get back on course with God before I get back on course with anything. That means I take time to Bible journal. Matthew 6:33 sums this up nicely, “Seek first the Kingdom of God and His righteousness and all the rest will be given to you.” I couldn’t agree more! If I start with getting tasks together or my space together, I just don’t have that restoring feeling and inspiration that I do if I check in with God first. Having a spiritual center and checking in with it is a great start! That could also be time in meditation, yoga, going to your house of worship, journaling, checking in with a trusted relative (grandparents are great for this!), whatever gives you that centered, peaceful feeling. I find if I pour my heart out in a journal post, I’m essentially decluttering my thoughts which is a great beginning to a fresh start!


+ Clean your space


Some days when I was way off at work, I would spend some time cleaning my desk and classroom before the kids arrived for the day or after school. Any time I had a quiet moment. When I’m at home, I might tidy the surfaces in my house, make my bed, put away clothes, and just make my space tidy. This is one of my favorite ways to feel like I have it together! I’m pretty good about cleaning my kitchen and doing dishes regularly, but if you have dirty dishes and a messy kitchen, it feels great to get that sorted before moving on to anything else.



+ Get in the mood


In a future post, I’ll talk about putting together an environment that sets my mind up for just about anything. Light a candle, make some tea, put on some motivating music, diffuse essential oils… Whatever it takes to get you in the right frame of mind is perfect. I think best when things are chill and peaceful.


+ Fail to plan, plan to fail


I know there are a million tutorials online touting the beauty of a bullet journal, a decorated planner, a home keeping binder, and the perfect organization tool. So what’s really the best system for planning your life? Whatever system you will use! I like having everything electronic so I don’t get distracted decorating my planner, rewriting things over and over, or having something spill on my beautiful planner and then I feel like I have to start over. You know, whatever works for you! I put things in my calendar and then dig through my to do list and really assign what needs to be done vs. projects that have just been languishing for months. If my calendar is sorted and my to do list is organized and usable, I feel so much better and feel like I can take on the world!



+ Mind Dump


This is a helpful tool from the Getting Things Done universe. Basically our minds are a terrible place to store things. Instead of storing things neatly and making them easily accessible, our minds put to dos, calendar events, and responsibilities in a giant pile that turns into a tangled “things that stress me out” part of our brains. This creates physiological stress responses and wears at us after awhile. Something I’ve found helpful is putting all that clutter in my brain on paper (or in the Notes app or whatever) with no rhyme or reason. Just taking everything out, piling it up, and going full KonMari on your brain. It’s that first bit of emptying your brain of clutter that helps you see and sort things well. And our brain has a wonderful way of feeling more peaceful when things are taken care of. Our brains see that wide open space where a tangle of tasks used to lay, and it can take a deep breath and think clearly.



+ Do that one thing


There are always one or two things that have been languishing on my to do list. I choodr one or two that have been there forever and just GET THEM DONE. This is not an easy task, but it so often sets off a cascade of productivity. For example, my brother-in-law is a writer and often asks for my thoughts about his work. I had an email of his latest project in my inbox for a month or two, waiting for me to both read and comment. This is the perfect task for a GYST day. It made me feel so much better! Once I read and commented, I realized how quick and easy that task really is and was able to sort through the simpler things that were bottling up my productivity.



+ Refresh yourself


I’m all about reclaiming your time and doing self care. It’s so important when things get hectic! On a GYST Day, I might color my hair, get a mani/pedi, iron my clothes, or just whatever will refresh how I look and feel about myself. I’m I’m short on time, I will use my GYST Day to make an appointment for one of those things. I also consider doctor and dentist appointments in the same category, even though they aren’t always fun. So I’ll make doctor and dentist appointments for the future if I don’t have time on my actual GYST Day.



+ Be ruthless with your list


Sometimes I put things I HOPE to accomplish on my to do list or projects I wish I could do. Sometimes I’ll want to spend time with a hobby but that hobby has long since run its course. Sometimes I’ll hold on to possessions “just in case.” If I’m just a little bit ruthless with myself and my list, I have a clearer sense of what I really need to get done. I go through my to do list and my mind dump and ask myself if what I hope to get done really really needs to be done. Sometimes the time has just passed for that task, hope, or dream. And sometimes there are things that I never make time for, even if I have extra time, so I can axe those from my list. A GYST Day is a great time to really look closely at your priorities, where you want to use your time and mental space, and what is realistic for you. This feels hard, but once those things are off my list, I feel so light and free and can focus on the things that are really important to me.



+ Do something physical


I feel a million times better if I work out & especially if that activity involves the outdoors. Any physical activity helps put us into a mindful “here and now” state, calms our nerves, and gives us strength and energy to tackle the bigger things. Even ten minutes is a huge help!



+ Make something delicious


For me there’s no better feeling than sitting down to enjoy a meal I prepared. I feel like I’m being responsible with my health and money and that’s a great feeling! If the meal includes a bunch of vitamins, anti-oxidants, healthy fats, and anything that reduces overall inflammation, it doesn’t just satisfy a desire for something delicious. It goes to work on some of the physiological causes of stress & anxiety.



+ Stay off social media


If I really want to hone in on my own life and heart, making space for that away from any other voices is so helpful. I want to focus on what makes my life better not on what I “should” focus on. Sometimes social media is a bunch of mental clutter that drags me down. If you find that certain social media sites and apps are uplifting to you, use that as a short burst of motivation instead of a rabbit hole to dive down… (totally guilty of that here!)



+ Reward yourself


At the end of your GYST Day, reward yourself for all your hard work! And make it a healthy reward – preferably not food-based. The reward could be any kind of self-care or hobby you really enjoy. For me, that might be getting my nails done, reading a magazine on the porch, or just poking around at Ulta for awhile. I’m pretty internally motivated, but a little bit of external motivation is always fun!





That’s my list for a GYST Day! What about you? How often do you feel the need to GYST? Is it a weekly thing, monthly thing, or everyone once in awhile thing? Let me know in the comments below!



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