self-care

#body #mind

I had a mini-meltdown a few Saturdays ago, the themes of which were why don’t I take better care of myself and there is not enough time in the day to do all the things.

Hashtag sad face emoji.

I’ve previously posted about LauraVanderkam’s wonderful TED Talk (you can read that post here) about gaining control of your free time.  And I’ve been thinking about Vanderkam’s work non-stop lately.

During my commute, I’ve been listening to an audiobook version of her ebook What The Most Successful People Do Before Breakfast: And Two Other Short Guides to Achieving More at Work and at Home.  It’s pretty great.  One of my biggest takeaways so far has been about fantastic weekends – as in, they don’t just happen.  A fantastic weekend requires planning. And for No Plans KEM, as I sometimes call myself, that is a huge bummer.stock-photo-a-goal-without-a-plan-is-just-a-wish-motivational-handwriting-on-a-napkin-with-a-cup-of-coffee-280658234

But, it makes sense.  If we want to live rich, full lives, we sometimes have to plan ahead.  Otherwise, per Vanderkam, we end up spending half the weekend making plans for the rest of the weekend.  Which is INEFFICIENT.

I’ve been digesting that tip lately and thinking about how to best plan ahead.  I’m all about maximizing my time lately.

I’ve also been tracking how I spend my time in a log, using a tool from lauravanderkam.com – so I’ll be writing down what I’m doing, in fifteen-minute increments, for a week. So that I can answer the question, “What the heck do I do with the 168 hours I have each week?”

One of the reasons for my Saturday meltdown was that I have NOT been able to make time for writing since the beginning of 2017.  And I really, really want to be able to make this a part of my regular routine.  This morning is the first time I’ve sat down with my laptop in days.  UNACCEPTABLE.

So – I’ll make some plans.  It’ll be great.

Lessons Learned: It’s okay t0 plan ahead.  It’s a good way to prioritize and maximize your time.  

self-care

The Thief Of Joy #mind #soul #body

Oh, comparison- you annoying bitch.

My struggles with comparing out are closely related to my current status in a particular area of life.  During the adoption wait, I had a hard time NOT comparing myself to expectant or new mothers.

Right now, what’s been happening is that I am making efforts to get serious about writing.

It’s scary just to type those words.

When I sit down to write, I think about a bunch of 15727359_1061787643933586_5068042491673070246_nthings:

1. I think about all the published authors I know and how inferior I am to them.

2. I think about the mistakes I’ve made as a writer in the past, and I feel intense shame.

3. I think of why I initially pulled away from writing, and I wonder if it’s too late to begin again.

This points me toward an important lesson I’ve been trying to write on my heart: Your path doesn’t have to be the same as anyone else’s.

And also, just as importantly – just because you chose a different path – that doesn’t make other paths wrong or dumb or something to mock.  Sometimes, when I feel insecure, I start to inwardly condemn others.  I imagine that others are judging or mocking me, and I start to fight back with my own condemnation.  (All of this is playing out in my head, mind you.  Like it does in the mind of any totally sane individual.)

You can accept yourself without  condemning others.  Having a long, winding path to your dreams doesn’t make you less awesome; it might even make you more interesting or marketable because you’ve gathered valuable experiences along your way.  You could be a savant with a lot of different passions who’s also a badass aspiring writer.  Just sayin’.  

I want to pursue this goal.  It’s okay if it doesn’t happen tomorrow.  But it will happen.

Right now, my job is to just keep writing.

And writing.

And writing.

And writing.

12359836_10153712219826291_8429868804433774169_n

 

self-care · simplifying

How To Be KEM

  1. Let go and let goddess.
  2. Do the next right thing.
  3. Go with the flow.  (SYNCHRONICITY!)
  4. Live with intention.
  5. When in doubt, do nothing.
  6. Embrace rhythm and rituals.
  7. Do one thing at a time, fully.
  8. Keep it simple.
  9. Take things less seriously.
  10. Help. Care. Connect.
  11. Be(lieve in) you.
  12. Choose peace.
  13. When you’re feeling lost or restless, take a nap.

nomudnolotus1

 

balance · self-care

Oh, Perfectionism #mind

So I read an article called 6 Steps To Beating Perfectionism by Therese Borchard, and I liked it a lot.  As an emotional and relationship perfectionist (yeah, I made these terms up, but they should be real), I appreciate any info that will help me let go
of the Image result for perfectionism is a twenty ton shieldtwenty-ton shield.

I’m going to list the article’s key points for future reference:

1. Distinguish Between Realistic and Unrealistic Goals

2. Practice Failing

3. Be Wrong in Front of Others (Sidebar: I think this one I am actually good at.)  

4. Celebrate Your Mistakes

5. Make Some Rules

6. Be Yourself

Image result for what is really hard and really amazing is giving up on being perfect

self-care

In Maintenance Mode #heart #spirit

The sense of rejuvenation and refreshment we can  get from a weekend away from home is unique and invaluable.

I have been stressin’ like crazy lately.  I spent last weekend in Portland with two of my dearest friends, and it felt so good to be away from the day-to-day stress.  I visited Powell’s, a mecca for a book nerd like me.  We frolicked at waterfalls.  I spent hours catching up with close friends over coffee and food.

Now, I’ve been back for five days, and I’m already caught back up in the daily grind.

Maintenance has always been my struggle.  I am great at doing self-improvement projects.  A Happiness Project – a cleanse – giving up indulgences for Lent.  I’m great in a crisis.  I’m great when I’m not in my routine – I can stay in the moment and cultivate mindfulness like a pro when I’m away from home.

But when it comes to the day-to-day maintenance of life, keeping myself cared for and de-stressed, I struggle.  I always have.

Last Friday night, I got home, exhausted, my stomach full of jelly beans and Mini Eggs.  I was asleep by eight and I slept through my Saturday morning.

I woke up feeling rested but stressed.  It’s the same question, over and over – how do I take better care of myself?  How do I make sure that I am exercising, eating healthy, not binging, cultivating my spiritual growth?

These designare not easy questions, but I think the answers are probably pretty simple.

I’ve got to get myself back to the basics.

While pondering how to simply and to get back to the basics, I found this book on Amazon.  (I know that books and journals are not the answers to everything, but I consistently find that they hold the answers to most things.)  It’s called Design The Life You Love; I’d never heard of it before, but the title leapt out at me.

Sometimes when I’m feeling overwhelmed, I look at my life and I realize that while I have a lot of amazing elements – awesome family, wonderful wife, good job, lovely home, enjoyable leisure time – they don’t always piece together in ideal formation.

My happiness would likely increase if I took time to edit my life –editing to launch a redesign, which I think I frequently do informally.  I think that’s why the title of this book/journal appealed to me.

Currently, it’s a lovely Saturday morning on the couch in front of the wood stove.  Tee has flown off to a birding class (could not be helped), and I’m excited to have a day to reflect and recharge after a week of stress.  I’m going to spend a little time with my new journal, and I’m going to take some time to consider the day-to-day of my life to make sure my design includes all the things that are important to me in a healthy and balanced way.

self-care

Warming Up #soul

When I get home after a stressful day, there are lots of items in which I might indulge – television, Cadbury Mini Eggs, diet Cokes, Starburst jelly beans, nachos, Harry Potter novels.

girl on fire
image from deviantart.com

Most of these are not great for my overall health or well-being.

However, I do have at least one healthy, non-harmful task that I crave on stressful days.  It’s productive, simple, and meaningful, and I find that I can motivate to complete this task even when I’m pissed at the world, everyone in it, and myself – building a fire.

I didn’t learn to make a fire until I was 25 years old.  Up until then, I’d had limited exposure to the great outdoors and the wonders of rustic living.

Ever since I learned how to make a fire, it’s been a great enjoyment for me.  For several years, we lived in a house without a wood stove for heat, and that sucked.  Our new lovely little farmhouse comes with a wonderful little wood stove, and every day when I get home, I sit cross-legged in the front of the stove and build a roaring, beautiful, warming, magical fire.

This task is productive.  It’s tactile.  It’s manageable, even when it feels difficult to put one foot in front of the other.

I am giddy with joy that the weather’s been warming up and that spring is coming.  But I do feel a twinge of sadness that I haven’t needed to make a fire the past few days when I’ve walked in the side door of our lovely little farmhouse.  Instead, I will warm up by looking at this adorable Sophie Corrigan drawing I found on Facebook yesterday:

hedgehug_551

self-care

Zen and The Art of Puzzling, or Why Puzzles Are Awesome Stress Relief #mind #soul 

HOW DID I FORGET ALL ABOUT THE NPR SUNDAY PUZZLE PODCAST?

A few weeks ago, while Tee and I were in North Carolina with family, I was reminded of the Sunday puzzle when Morning Edition came on the radio.  I re-subscribed to the Sunday Puzzleweird_al_yankovic_white_nerdy_mousepad Podcast and now I’ve been listening every week.

On a related note, I’ve recently experienced a resurgence with one of my nerdiest leisure activities – puzzling.

Once we got relatively settled in our new lovely old farmhouse, I broke out my puzzle caddy and started working on a jigsaw.  (Sidebar: this particular puzzle was one of several given to me by a family friend, my Aunt Jan, who passed away.  She was my fake aunt and one of my mother’s best friends, and they spent many a vacation together with others working on jigsaw tables in a cabin in the Poconoes, back when I thought puzzles were boring and enjoyed playing Manhunt with my fake cousins way more.)

This past month or so has been Prime Time For Puzzling – I’ve been learning to do a new job, going in to work early and staying late, and struggling a little with work-life balance.  There have been a lot of nights when I get home, eat dinner with Tee, and spend the rest of the night watching Parks and Rec or Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt (my new favorite!) while working on a puzzle.

This is why I think puzzles are awesome stress relief when life gets crazy:puzzle-piece

  • Puzzling promotes mindfulness.  Just the way coloring can help you to re-center and to focus on the picture right in front of you, puzzling pulls your focus so that you are SERIOUSLY attuned to the piece you need to complete the picture in front of you.
  • When you’re puzzlin’, you are literally putting things in order.  I think that’s why I get so drawn into puzzles when things are confusing or overwhelming at work.  When I am having trouble putting things in order at work, I find it refreshing to come home and put a puzzle in order.
  • Every piece has an exact place in a puzzle.  There is an answer that you can find, and you have a road map to get to your goal.  (The top of the puzzle box – duh.)  You don’t have to force anything at all – in fact, if you find yourself trying to force things, you can be pretty sure that you’re on the wrong track.

Thank goodness for puzzles – helping to give us the illusion of control.