How To Loosen Up (You Know You Want To)

Our social norms and assumptions can make us uptight, yes? Deadlines, multi-media exposures, high expectations, competition, and the demand to be eternally young and beautiful – these tighten our brains and make us feel anxious. We could all use a generous dose of loosen up medicine. In our thinking and behavior, and our style too.

One technique to loosen up is to better understand the line between “important” and “urgent.” We sometimes let others tell us what’s important, rather than listening to ourselves. We allow what’s right in front of us to become urgent, and forget that very few things in life are truly urgent. Bleeding from the head = urgent. Going to your cousin’s kid’s dance recital = not urgent.

loosen up

A management article here explains the quadrant. “Something happens that causes us to suddenly feel as though something must be addressed right now.”

A few tips on how to loosen up, that I’ve had to learn the hard way (the only way?) – by living them:

Don’t micro plan. Leave some room (time, energy, cash) for the unexpected, and then expect the unexpected. Sh!t always happens, so don’t try to plan your day to the last minute. Breathe, and leave some space for the surprises.

Don’t be so freaking sensitive, woman! I’m talking to myself here, but maybe you’ve experienced this too. People will say and do things that may offend us, but it’s not ABOUT us. If someone you care deeply about hurts your feelings, of course you’ll want to talk it over with them. But the opinions of strangers/barely acquaintances have no bearing on our lives. I love the Alcoholics Anonymous maxim, “Your opinion of me is none of my business.”

Perspective! Will it be important a few days (never mind a few years) from now if I missed a blog post or Instagram share? Hell no, it’s not even terribly important right this minute, as we endeavor to keep social media in its place. Enjoy that second coffee, read the funnies, call a friend.

Loosen up fashion-wise – break a style rule, experiment, have an “opposite day” when you wear a cocktail dress to the coffee shop, and expect mistakes. I thought I “couldn’t” wear warm colors, then I found this amazing dress at Suzanne’s Etsy shop. All I did was pop on a warm-toned wig and the dress is my best friend.

loosen up

And yes, that’s my gorgeous friend Melanie, one of the models for the new Nordstrom Canada campaign! You’ll be reading and seeing more of this fab event in my next posts.

Loosen up the reins, breathe in and out, and stay fabulous, xo,


Here’s some chill pieces to browse:

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  1. I think that social media has made things worse. Everyone has a fear of missing out.

    Learning how to prioritize what is important is a life long battle. I fear that on my death bed I will regret many of the decisions I’ve made. For example, I wonder just how many months of my life I’ve spent cleaning.

    Our lives and experiences shape how we deal with criticism and conflict. Learning how to turn off our sensitivity meter is paramount in today’s difficult social media landscape where people treat others with such disregard.

    You made a great choice with the horse dress! Thanks for the shout-out!


    • Love the horse dress! And all your groovy offerings.
      I hope you won’t regret much on your death bed; you’ve already had some amazing experiences, with many more to come. xox

  2. First things first (value!!! ha ha!) — You look amazing in that dress, Patti! It’s swoon-worthy!

    So true about paying attention to what’s important and figuring out what is of value, not just to those who tell me what’s important, but really coming to understand and embrace what has meaning for me. I’ve spent this year trying to define those things for myself. There are so many voices that have weighed in on my nearly 50 years on earth. It’s not always easy to find my voice. And I have a lot more work to do to truly believe myself even after I finally hear that voice within. Thank you for this great reminder.

    Hugs and Happiness to you!
    – Sherry

    • It does take most of us a lot of decades to fully own our values and priorities, right? Your voice will find you, xox.

  3. I could surely use some of that loosen up medicine, as I’ve been battling with anxiety issues lately. I know it will pass. I did micro plan in the past, but I’ve learned to let you and expect the unexpected. I too love “What you think of me is none of my business.” Must keep that in mind. Love your fabulous dress from Suzanne’s shop. And wow, look at Mel! xxx

    • I know, right! Mel is a star. Thanks for sharing what’s going on in your own life, xo.

  4. The idea of what is urgent and what isn’t reminds me of my time as a legislative assistant to a very hyper boss. A wonderful woman, but so busy mutli-tasking, especially during legislative sessions, that I would end up with post-it notes stacked on top of tasks that read: urgent; urgent-urgent; urgent-urgent-urgent; super urgent; or NOW.
    One day, there were 72 items (NOT an exaggeration) on my her to-do list for me–all with one tag or another as noted above. By some bloody miracle, I achieve 71 of the 72 tasks. The 72nd item was started but involved waiting for a return call. You guessed it: she actually yelled at me for not ‘completing’ the 72nd task. Forget the 71 tasks completed. Let’s just say that when that happened, my response to her involved significant swearing in a raised voice (in private) which rocked her back on her heels. Fortunately, It was followed by profuse apologies to me by her and a recognition that she needed, as you say, to loosen up.:)

    • OMG, Mary – how can everything be urgent!? Your old boss needed three of you, minimum. Thanks for sharing, xo.

  5. Very good advice.
    I recently heard a podcast about procrastinators. “Not me,” I thought smugly. Then they brought up the urgent vs. important criteria. It’s true that I’m an ace at what’s urgent, getting my work done on time. But important? That would be writing a book, which I’ve started but, if I had only worked on it steadily, would be done with by now. A very hard balance to maintain!

  6. I love this! I remember that dress from Suzanne’s blog. It looks amazing on you. What a bold choice and huge payoff! All you ladies look gorgeous and this whole Nordstrom campaign with Melanie is the best!

    • Thank you Becky! I’m thrilled at the diversity in the Nordie Canada’s campaign. xo

  7. Great post, Patti! I have been using that management technique (important/urgent) for many years now, and it works so well. I love “What you think of me is none of my business.”

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