How would your life be different if you didn’t need to change? Or keep up? Or improve?
How much simpler would it be?
When I look over the years, there have been hundreds of hours spent reading self-help books and blogs, taking courses, doing one self-improvement project after another, most not completed.
I get bored and move on.
I truly love learning and improving, but some times in your life it’s more important to relax and feel self-compassion.
We can’t constantly be trying to improve ourselves. We grow tired and feel an overcast of self-doubt and guilt covering our days. We are never enough. We didn’t complete enough. Our morning routines were not perfect. Our self-care was non-existent today. We ate a donut instead of green smoothie.
We are putting so much pressure on ourselves to continue to do better each day and all the time. Then come down on ourselves when we don’t.
But, life is in cycles. Sometimes you will have higher energy. During early motherhood you barely have enough to function, much less be “perfect mom.” Certain days, life throws obstacles your way. It’s rare an ideal day comes around anyway.
I see the overwhelmed hanging on so tightly they are completely wound up. It’s hard to breathe or relax – something might not go well.
Can you let go a bit? Have a whole month without a self-improvement project or non-fiction book? Trying on self-compassion instead of self-judgement?
Taking life as it comes without resistance or manically trying to fix it.
Floating, not grabbing. Breathing.
Adding space to be, where it was crammed with information on how to do it better.
Feel free to do it your way. Checking in with yourself and your God moment by moment.
Perhaps everything holiday always falls on you. But, you are realizing it’s not working for you. You don’t want to be “doing Christmas” from August to get it all done. Maybe it’s a lot of work for not much joy.
There are probably things which you don’t enjoy doing. This is different for everyone. Maybe you don’t like the holiday party, baking, cards, going caroling, Christmas dinner or whatever.
When you think about the holiday, what is the one thing you can’t stand doing?
You have options even if it feels like you have to do it all:
- Let that thing go. Make peace with the feeling of, “I should have…” Let go of the guilt and thinking it has to be done and it has to be done by me. It really doesn’t. We have a cat. We don’t have a tree. And it’s fine.
- Let someone else do it that enjoys it more. My artistic daughter does most of my wrapping and decorating.
- Pare it down. Send less cards. Talk to friends and family about doing gift exchanges where you pick a name instead of getting presents for everyone. Only put up one box of decorations. Bake 3 kinds of cookies instead of ten.
- Do it together. Go shopping with friends, have a cookie trade, fill out cards as a family, have a wrapping party.
- Decide to do it and do it out of love. If it’s really important to someone, go ahead and do it. But, make sure you are feeling love and service before doing it. Doing it out of resentment makes everyone miserable.
Remember – you have a choice!
I rarely send cards that I buy. I like making my own and I’ve been doing more online cards as a way to have less environmental impact.
Paperless Post set me up with some coins to try out their card system. I saw I had some Christmas cards yet to send and thought this would be a perfect opportunity.
The whole thing was simple and I love the designs.
How to send cards
- Pick a card from a variety of categories. They also do invites and flyers. (You can upload your own design, too.)
- Customize the background, saying and font. Some have spaces to put pictures in.
- Update the stamp, envelope and typeface.
- Write in your name and subject line.
- Enter the names and emails (Mine was 5 coins per recipient. They also have some free invitations and free cards.)
- Schedule or send now.
It’s really easy and the cards are so professional looking. Here are some Christmas cards if you are interested (especially those of you who know you won’t have time to write out regular cards this year.)
Last month was my birthday and I was preparing the evening before for an easy day. I thought maybe I would shower on my birthday, but then I thought, do I really want to do that on my day off. So I showered that evening instead of procrastinating I also:
- Put clean sheets on the bed and did as much work as possible the day before.
- Picked out a fun birthday outfit.
- Created a pretty space to read, journal and watch a movie.
- Put most of my smoothie ingredients in the smoothie blender container and set it in the fridge for a quick blend in the morning.
- Wrote out a list of fun things I wanted to do like take a nature walk and read.
- Cleaned up the house.
- Did the dishes.
- Got books from the library.
As I was preparing for my birthday, I was thinking I should do this more often. Too often stuff I could have done the night or day before, I end up doing the next day. But, what if I thought, “If it were a special day, would I want to do this the next day?” or “Will my future self really want to do this tomorrow?”
We talked about this in the declutter class as well. When we don’t do our decluttering, we are only making it harder for ourselves the next day. We want to double up our time. But, if we didn’t want to do 15 minutes today, do we really think we will want to do 30 minutes the next day?
When we procrastinate into the “I don’t wannas,” we are usually thinking about the difficulty, tiredness or boredom of right now. If you think about a finished project, how you will feel when it’s done, how you will enjoy it tomorrow if it’s already complete you can use that energy to get it done today.
I can care for tomorrow me, by preparing today. By not procrastinating. I have been doing this most days now. Future me is so happy.
(You can find more ways to stop procrastinating in my little Procrastination ecourse)
For those in the northern hemisphere, this is the time we want to feel cozy. We had hail when I was coming home from choir practice yesterday and the wind was biting.
But, do we take the time to be cozy. Do we schedule cozy time?
The other evening my husband was at a friend’s house so I created cozy time. (You can see this blog post for making a cozy space.) I put some hot cocoa in a mug next to the couch, got some water and snacks, a fetched my journal, planner and the newest Bella Grace magazine. I lit a few candles, turned down the lights. and space heater on. I gathered my fleece blanket.
One of my friends says she likes to have chocolate chip cookies and a fire, while reading
Once I was set up, I watched a Hallmark Christmas movie which is not normally my style, but perfect for cozy night. I drank my hot cocoa.
Then I read some of the Bella Grace magazine and filled out the prompts in my journal. I did a little planning for the rest of the year – what I wanted to do, feel, and enjoy. Petting the cat, while I listened to music. I read a few chapters of my novel before my husband came home.
What would your cozy evening be like?
I don’t like the trend in politics to demonize the other side. To throw around a bunch of “ists” around. To categorize people you don’t agree with as stupid, uninformed or evil.
I hear stories of how people were friends, but then they found out how they voted. Now they saw their friend totally differently. But, the friend hadn’t changed. They still listened, brought soup, volunteered. Yet, they allowed politics to make it so they can’t be friends anymore.
How are we supposed to work together to solve problems when you can’t even be in the presence of someone that voted differently than you? If you put yourself in such a bubble – only friending people, listening to media, or going to groups that believe exactly as you do – you will find your view of humanity very limited. People don’t have the same experiences in life so they see things differently. Too many people think others see exactly as they do and just choose badly or evilly.
The media likes to take the fringes of political discourse and act like it’s the norm. Showing the harassment and stupid things people say. Portraying monsters. So much of what I have seen is made to make people outraged. That’s how they get clicks and ratings. Things taken out of context. Stupid remarks that were clarified later, but the clarification never is shown. Selectively edited video. Opinion spouted as facts. If you feel yourself getting outraged and emotionally hooked, please do some research and get the context.
Notice your filters that you see things through. Remember other people have different filters. They had different experiences. What may be obvious to you, may not seem true to someone else. What if your family suffered badly economically during President Obama’s years? What if a friend of yours was deported? What if you were falsely accused? What if you were sexually harassed? Our life and the media we consume, creates our filters. That’s why people don’t see things the same way.
What is true, is people in general want to make the world a better place. They just have different ways of doing it.
But, if you are sharing distorted memes aimed at making people look bad, calling names and ists, shouting instead of listening, unfriending, and assuming the worst in people are you really making the world a better place?
I worry about the anger, frustration, outrage that is coming if the group you want in doesn’t get in. I worry about people feeling hopeless. About people dividing even more. Politics is not where change ends. We can change communities by showing love, volunteering, starting a charity or small business, mentoring a kid, being kind to everyone regardless of politics.
If your party does not win the mid-terms, what are you going to do personally to affect change? How will you be kinder and listen more? How will you come together?
In order to create lives we want to have, we have to take responsibility, ownership of the choices we make.
It’s easy to get tossed about saying yes to too many things. To take more than your share of responsibility for other people’s choices and then claim you don’t have time for your own. To feel the victim of time, only focusing on where you don’t have as much choice, but refusing to choose where you can.
We make choices for all sorts of reasons – so people will like us, to impress, because it seems easiest.
We also decide not to choose – our attitudes, saying no, making space for what is important to us.
Many people prefer to blame other people or circumstances for their choices. But, you can only move forward when you own your choices. Then you can see you really can change and make better decisions.
If our life is not going how we want and we are not meeting our goals, we need to take ownership of the choices we have been making. Are we choosing what other people want for us instead of what is fulfilling? What is fastest rather than what will bring us towards our goals? What creates the biggest splash instead of what our soul wants?
Do you long to enjoy nature, but never make decisions creating the time? When is the next time you can spend 5 minutes outside?
Are you tired of your job and feeling you can’t do anything about it? Can you make the decision to change your attitude? Or upgrade your skills? Or research a new career?
Do you have a creative dream but feeling overwhelmed with everyone else’s stuff so you never get around to it? Notice where you are taking on other people’s stuff. Set a time in the morning before work or the kids get up. Doodle your idea at lunch.
Dig down into why you are making the decisions you are making so you can inch closer to a more authentic, fulfilled life. One small choice at a time.
Last day of the desk clean-up. How is your desk? I’d love to see before and after pix if you are willing to share.
Here is the worksheet if you haven’t gotten it yet.
Today is desk drawers, spraying down your desktop, doing the last things, making a self-care basket and finally congratulating yourself and actually looking at your clean desk.
Here is the whole series if you missed a day:
If you want to do more decluttering, join up with the Declutter Group.
How is your desk looking? Did you miss some days? You can start again after Day 5.
And if you have been decluttering your desk, you must be feeling really good about your progress. Things don’t have to be perfect to have progress. Don’t let yourself feel badly if things aren’t done “exactly right.”
Today we are going through project files, cubbies and boxes and bulletin boars/whiteboards.
My Bulletin Board before and after.