Cara Sutra’s New Year’s Resolutions 2016
After not only a very successful work year, but also a happy relationship & mothering year in 2015, it’s tempting to work in exactly the same way during 2016. What people generally don’t see, behind all the blogging and tweeting and reviewing, is the never-ending manic chasing my tail which occurs to try and keep up with both demands I place on myself and the demands others place on to me in a work/writing/blogging context.
Things finally reached a climax – not of the O face kind – when, in November 2015, I found myself with an almost insurmountable to-do list of articles to write, marketing to achieve and reviews to complete before I could relax for the traditional family Christmas. When I finally reached December, I was worn out, pretty unhappy with the way things had gone – despite the income achieved – suffering lack of sleep, heart arrhythmia due to stress (again) and a loss of libido.
That last one might be a surprise to some of you. How could you possibly not be aroused when all you do is write about sex, use and review sex toys, work in the adult and sex industry? Well the thing is, it’s exactly that. Work. During November I completed just shy of 30 adult product reviews – yes, in that month alone – which was, quite frankly, ridiculous. And that achievement alone cost me several nights of sleep, never mind the commissioned writing and marketing projects on top. With a relationship to maintain and two children to look after, and a disabled mother-in-law to care for on top of that, you can hopefully understand how my sex drive took a steep nose dive with all the pressure and stress.
During Christmas 2015 I had the chance to reflect and reassess what I’m exactly doing here, with my blog, in life. What my actual goals are and what I want to get out of the work I put into projects. With that in mind, and moving on from the harsh realities of the past year noted above (and taking a pinch of inspiration from this excellent New Year’s Resolutions article by Hella Rude), I’ve written ten somewhat surprising promises to myself for the next year (and beyond) which will serve as my New Year’s Resolutions 2016.
Chill the fuck out. I mean, does anyone really care if I don’t have a new article, post or review live on the site every single day? I will stop making myself overly anxious and stressed about site content and suffering insomnia attempting to meet either external or (usually) self-imposed deadlines. What I’m working with isn’t life or death, it’s meant to be fun. I’m also meant to have a life, sex life and family life on the side – no, more important than work. So relax, take things easier, rediscover the fun and excitement in what I originally turned from a hobby into a business and work to live, not live to work.
Watch more TV
A past New Year’s Resolution was to finish work at a decent time. I can’t remember if I set that as 5pm or 7pm, but whatever – that resolution failed pretty quickly and pretty spectacularly. I have an office across our yard which I planned to do my day’s work in, then come back to the house at ‘close of business’ and have a relaxing, lovely family evening in front of the TV or other family activities.
What actually happened is I was battling myself and those deadlines, attempting to finish my ridiculously unrealistic to-do list in one day, and working on the laptop on the sofa with the TV on in the background until I went to bed in a daze in the early hours of the next morning. In 2016 I want to actually watch more TV with my family, my eyes on the TV not down on my laptop, stressing about whether I’ve refreshed my sponsor’s tweets often enough, relied to that email about advertisement or finished my 284th Beginner’s Guide To Bondage article for company x.
Take baths instead of showers
On the surface of it, this seems a bit of a moot point. What’s the difference? As long as I get washed, clean, smelling sweet once again – who cares how it’s achieved? The thing is, I take more showers as they’re quicker, meaning I can dash in and out and get back to working quicker. No. Stop.
In 2016 I want to slow it down, chill out (I may have mentioned this) and start working my way through my newly replenished Lush bath bomb collection. Run a neck deep bath. Set up some candles. Pour a glass of wine (see resolution #4). Set the towels on the warm radiator ready, then step into a revitalizing and relaxing bath for… I don’t care how long. Lay back, unwind, enjoy.
As a bonus, I find that when I have time to relax like this, I actually get much more and a better quality of writing inspiration. To get struck with new ideas and banish the writer’s block, I first need to clear some room in my head. More baths, less showers.
Drink more wine
Denial isn’t good for the soul – well, not my soul anyway. I tend to spend a lot of my working week stressed (as covered) and barely able to wait til Friday afternoon/teatime when I can sink my face into a bucketful of wine. All week, avoiding the temptation, then giving into the urge in a massive way over the weekend.
I am sick of this. Sick of the self-denial, sick of the hangovers, sick of the wine binges and sick of the stupidity of this cycle. A tot of red wine with dinner every night *has* to be better than tipping litres of white wine down my neck over the weekend in some stress-induced, binge drinking, liver rotting frenzy. I guess what I mean is, I want to drink a little wine more frequently, rather than the self-denial/wine bucket binge/self+liver hate routine.
Eat more carbs
Something else I spend a lot of time avoiding is ‘the dreaded’ carbs. You’ll know this if you’ve met me at an event. I tend to spend a lot of time at events suffering from carb cravings, having denied myself any in a (usually deluded) hope to squish myself into whatever too-teeny dress I’ve vowed to myself I *will* get into for the occasion. I then wander around the event in a lack-lustre, totally knackered-out haze, telling anyone who is unfortunate enough to be in earshot just how shattered I am and how after this I am going to pig out on chips until I can’t actually move.
This… is stupid. It’s also not fun. Eat more carbs and stop stressing, stupid girl. You’ll have more energy, feel happier and healthier, and a balanced approach will result in reaching those little black dress dreams eventually.
Attend less events
Speaking of events, I want to go to less of them in 2016. Sure, they’re fun, and I get to meet up with adult industry friends and contacts for both exhilarating chats and to forge ahead with new professional projects. But, I am one person. One person in a family. I don’t have a company pot of money to dip into to finance these trips, to pay for transport, accommodation, expenses. My ‘company pot’ is my own personal bank account, which is also for the needs of my family. I haven’t been able to take my kids on a holiday – which is a life goal for my partner and I. Priorities.
So basically, if you want me to attend your company’s event, you’ll need to finance it – otherwise I won’t be able to attend. Attending less events will also mean a lot less stress for me (tick in the ‘relax’ box) as they take a hell of a lot of planning, time, energy, tangible and emotional resources as well as the post-event blogging, photo editing, marketing and mental come-down.
Lose the gym bunny dreams
I need to face the fact that I will never be a gym bunny. I will also never achieve that pre-2 kids, 18 year old’s slender toned and fit body. Oh, I could give it a good go if I was the type to be into jogging, lifting weights, doing whatever a ‘spinning class’ is and feeling self-conscious in pink spandex. But I’m not. I never have been, never will be.
What I *do* need to do is to fit more practical and enjoyable exercise into my life. Move more. Walk more. Play footy with the kids, have a bounce on the trampoline. Stop feeling guilty for not even considering a gym membership, and start feeling good about meeting small goals of a bit more moving about every day.
Stop using sex toys, for fuck’s sake
What?! I hear you all cry out in unison. No, I don’t mean I will stop using sex toys completely (hello, Doxy?). What I do mean is that I want more sex, with less sex toys involved.
I want sex with my partner where I don’t actually (or at least feel like I should) take notes before, during and after. Sex shouldn’t be homework, it should be fun. I don’t want to be thinking about how I can word that particular sensation as he presses whatever latest vibrating device against me, I want to *lose myself* in that moment. When we’re in bed (or wherever) and fucking, I want to be having sex, not planning the next blog post or product review.
In 2016 we’re going to be working on getting back to what many consider to be ‘basics’ – the intimacy of touch between us, roleplay, just being together physically. But sex toys aren’t ‘the next level’ or for ‘advanced’ fuckers and fuckees. They’re accessories. Seasoning. Sex with my partner without sex toys isn’t ‘lacking’ anything or a step backwards, it’s a choice. Sometimes I want to focus on him and him alone during sex. His feel, his words, his scent, his movements. Just the two of us, naked, raw, entwined – no sides.
Stop writing about sex toys, for blog’s sake
I’ve been writing sex toy reviews for many years now. It must be close to a decade. The fact that I wrote just short of 30 of them at my peak of review writing last November shows just how much demand there is for me to review adult products. The thing is – I don’t really want to write sex toy reviews any more. Well, not as many in any case. That’s why I’m setting a new rule starting 2016 – I will review only one adult product a month. And I’ll be choosing very carefully.
That doesn’t mean that the reviews published to CaraSutra will slow down in any way. Quite the opposite. You may have noticed a little something called the Pleasure Panel – my community of enthusiastic and genuinely brilliant community of adult product and sex toy reviewers. You will be able to read their guest sex toy reviews as they’re published to the blog – and if you’re a company you are welcome to contact me to find out how to get your selection of products reviewed by the Pleasure Panel at Cara Sutra.
Meanwhile, I’ll be rediscovering my love of sex writing – without so many of my own sex toy reviews, buyer’s guides and vibrator references getting in the way. First and foremost I’m a sex blogger and educator, not a sex toy review machine (dammit, Jim).
Set realistic goals
Like not saying you’ve got 10 New Year’s Resolutions when you can only think of 9. But seriously, I do need to stop with the over ambitious goals. I will not redo my website SEO in a morning. I will not publish 3 guest reviews, an author spotlight and finish off my own sex blog post in the afternoon. I will also not have time to cook a roast dinner for the family at the same time as the above. I can’t write *and* photograph products in the same 2 hour slot. Assign projects a realistic amount of time. Only say yes to projects I can actually complete, and in a reasonably calm fashion without having a heart attack.
Say no a lot. Don’t feel guilty.
And for god’s sake, RELAX.
Happy New Year everyone! I hope you enjoy a rewarding 2016, whatever your personal goals and New Year’s Resolutions.