I was sharing with a friend my new delightful evening routine. So many times routines are created to “get things done”. They are full of things like wash dishes, go through the mail or brush your teeth.
What would it be like to have some decadent feeling or delightful on your list? What are some things you love to do and make you feel fabulous? You could eat breakfast on your porch instead of the kitchen table. Or read a chapter in a novel in the evening. Maybe you decide to dance to one song or create one sketch.
Add things to your routines that light you up and make life more enjoyable.
Right now my husband goes to bed by 9:30pm so he can wake up by 4:30am. My daughter is often not home until 11pm from work. So I had taken to watching news and TV yet thinking I didn’t have time for things I want to do. So I put together an evening routine that means no TV after 9:30 unless Brea and I watch something when she gets home from work.
1) While my husband gets ready for bed, I am picking up the house. Jeff often does the dishes before that.
2) After he is in bed, I wash my face, brush my teeth and do my evening grooming while I am still awake enough to not resist.
3) Creative Time- a sketch (I am not good at drawing, but I am practicing), color, write, do a creative exercises from one of my creativity books.
4) Review today, journal and plan tomorrow.
5) Body Time. Some evening yoga, stretches from my chiropractor, neck rolls and/or using my Back Buddy. These were things I kept saying I didn’t have time for, but knew were important for my well-being and migraine prevention. I check in with my body to see how I can release the day.
7) Lavender lotion on my feet as I do some deep breathing.
8) I always read before bed (a habit from when I was a kid reading under the covers with a flashlight).
Now I am in a different time than when I had toddlers at home. Back then it consisted of a bunch of kid stuff and then reading as I fell asleep. It’s so important to include at least one delightful/meaningful/succulent thing to your routine. You will be healthier (and easier to be around). Add some music, nature, dance, games, gardening, chocolate, learning or whatever makes you feel your best.
Many people can make time for daily delight by turning off screens. Or paying attention when doing chores to get them done more efficiently, instead of jumping from thing to thing.
How are you going to create a delightful routine?
This weekend I have been spring cleaning – cabinets, scrubbing down sinks, vacuuming under furniture. None of which I like. My husband mentioned it’s closer to summer now. I may have stuck out my tongue.
I find if I focus on the work, I will procrastinate a long time. Who wants to do manual labor?
Shiny floors, less allergens floating around, or a sweet smelling fridge. The smaller area the better.
I also can’t focus on the whole “spring cleaning.” That’s a lot of chores. That’s a whole house.
Usually I don’t even do spring cleaning. I clean a cabinet one weekend and behind the couch another weekend. But, there has been very little deep cleaning and organizing since play practice in mid-January and migraines increasing.
So I have broken it down into 25 minute sessions. 25 minutes cleaning, a 5-10 min computer project, than a chapter in a book on the porch. Then back to cleaning.
As I clean I am focus on the one thing – the stove, vacuuming the couch or whatever area of the current room I am doing. The 25 minutes helps me not hop around. I do not need half done projects all over the house.
Are you doing any spring cleaning? How is it going?
Pix by Brea Dargis
My 94-year old, go-getter Grandma was in the hospital recently. When she got out, I called to say we were coming for a visit. Since we were coming about lunchtime, I asked if she wanted us to wait until she ate lunch at the retirement place or to go out. She practically shouted, “Go out!” I ask Mom if that was OK and she said Grandma had already been out multiple times.
It was a week after she got out the hospital that we came into town. As she was getting out of the car and needing help, she complained that she was moving so slowly after the hospital stay. I laughed and told her to give herself time to recover.
We don’t like how long many things take. We start shoulding quickly.
I should be better from this illness.
I should be over this breakup.
I should have stopped grieving by now.
I shouldn’t need these many breaks.
I shouldn’t need so much sleep.
I shouldn’t need this much downtime to recover from an event.
I think part of the reason so many people are overwhelmed, tired and cranky is they don’t allow themselves adequate recovery time. We tend to want to hurry the process. We stuff down feelings and fatigue. We honor ourselves for “pushing through.” We read up on the average recovery for surgery and even though we aren’t fully better we go full throttle.
We need to honor the time it takes for us as unique individuals. Introverts tend to need more alone time. Highly sensitive people need more quiet. Certain people need more fun in their lives to retain joy. Emotions need to be felt by everyone.
What if you planned twice as much downtime as you think you should need? Or planned just three evenings away from home instead of every evening?
The only way to truly know what you need is to pay attention. What are you feeling? Are there still some emotions that need cared for? What are your energy levels? If you can’t push ahead without a caffeine burst that lets you know you need to slow down – maybe walk in nature instead. Or read a book for a few minutes. Step away from the technology.
Most of us don’t like requiring recovery time, especially when it lasts longer than we think it should. But, we become more energetic, loving and creative when we allow that time.
What are you trying to push through or push past right now? What is one way you can give yourself that time?
If you need help changing your mindset with time, join my Change Your Relationship to Time class.
I was in a play this month. We’d been rehearsing since January and the last week before the play I spent most of the time at the theater 30 minutes away in good traffic. I would get home at 11:30pm amped up and awaken to work or sing in the choir at 7:30am. Oh yes, I sang two solos the weekend before the play and a solo the week after the play.
Time was crunched majorly. I still have a to do list of 32 things (31 after this blog post :).
But, I wasn’t really stressed. I kept reminding myself that it’s the thoughts about time that make me stressed, not time itself. I didn’t get everything done and I let myself be all right with that.
Last weekend we visited my Grandma, Mom, Sister and the kids. So this weekend I am playing catch up. And as it’s 7pm I have a feeling I am still not finishing the to do list.
We all assign meaning to not completing the to do list or not getting “enough” done or not reaching inbox zero for email. The good news is that you are the one that made the meaning. So now you can have it mean no big deal. We all have full lives and most people don’t reach the bottom of their to do list every day (or most days).
If you need some help with dealing with your thoughts and not-enoughness, my Change Your Relationship to Time class is coming up in June. I’d love all of you to feel more relaxed dealing with time.
I proceeded on this project as I tell you – small steps, sometimes just 15 minutes of writing or editing or formatting. I checked in with my accountability partner. I got support from a writer’s group and took a writing retreat. It took over two years, but it is now done (well the e-book version. Paperback is coming soon.)
What project are you working on that needs some nudging?
Decluttering the easier, less stressful way
What if your decluttering didn’t have to be done in 7 days like the magazines say or completed in a weekend makeover? What if you allowed yourself to do it a little at a time? What if it was easier and less stressful?
I got really tired of myself. I spent much of March in the land of hard. “There’s too much work to do.” “Not another migraine.” “Winter is too, too long. When will it end?” “No fresh fruit at the store.”
I only saw the hard. I was getting more tired and more cranky as the month went on, leading to a hormonal melt-down at the beginning of this month.
Completely sick of the whining, I forced myself to stop, look around and see. I went outside to see the swans. Opening the window was cold, but different. I felt grateful I can work from home. I am loving practicing for the play even if it means less time.
Focusing on the hard made me pleasure deprived. There was no reason to work in silence when music made me feel good. Freshly baked garlic bread tastes much better at the kitchen table than in front of the TV. I noticed I had stopped massaging lavender lotion on my feet before bed. Instead of looking at ways that I could feel better, it was like I was shutting down any ways that do perk me up. As if I wanted to be miserable. Ugh!
So this week there has been music, rest, reading, lotion, and walking in the rain. Even tiny bits of time can turn things around. Asking the question, “How can I make what I am doing right now more fun or more pleasurable?” can lead to insights.
Notice what is already around you.
When we are trying a new habit and it doesn’t work or doing a project that gets stuck or regretting a binge session with potato chips in front of the TV, we tend to harden. We berate ourselves with, “I could do this if I had more willpower”, “I am so lazy” or “I am fat and unlovable.” Our bodies become tight. Our breathing more shallow.
We buckle down and try harder. Our inner task master takes charge. Work, work, work. Try, try, try.
Sometimes we get the results we want. Sometimes we don’t.
We would notice what isn’t working and de-personalize it. We would realize it is the process that is wrong, not the person.
We could have self-compassion, “I really wanted this new habit to stick and am disappointed it isn’t. Thankfully there are plenty of other options for change.” “Getting stuck in a project is hard. In the midst I am learning to love myself and love my project.” “Something must have really upset me to go into the binge. It’s OK sweetie.” Feel your heart soften. Breathe more slowly and deeply.
Then you bring in your creativity. If what you are doing isn’t working, what are 10 other ways to do it? If you were looking at this problem through the eyes of love, what would you do? If nothing is coming, ask a friend, coach, or do a little research.
I did this the other day. The time change was making me so tired. My body hadn’t acclimated yet. I needed to make yogurt for my morning smoothies, but every evening for a week I would say I am too tired. Then tell myself how lazy I was because I didn’t do it. Until I realized what I was doing.
The next evening I said, “I am tired because of the time change. I need to be gentle with myself until I re-calibrate. How about I try doing it in the morning?”
I made the yogurt in the morning and it felt so easy.
This was a simple problem, but softening helps with even complicated problems. Hardening only makes the difficult feel harder.
What problem would you like to soften into today?
Photo by Clyde Robinson
I was reading an affirmation that said, “I have plenty.” That phrase made me smile as I thought about the truth of it. I looked around at the beautiful objects in my living room like the water painting by a local artist, an angel given to me by a friend, and flowers. I saw photos of loved ones. I had my laptop, tablet and phone beside me.
I have gas in my car, my vehicle is running, the pantry is almost full (I need to go grocery shopping today.)
I sponsor a child and I thought about his home which is basically a cement dwelling.
Often our minds don’t look around and think plenty. Too often we think about what we don’t have, what is falling apart (I am talking about you, roof,) where what we have or who we are is not enough.
Can you look at your life right now and see plenty? How does that make you feel?
Pix by Daily Food
Over the weekend we got a new fire safe box. The old one got too full and the lock broke. So I spend some time in “preparing for emergency” mode.
As I was putting files and documents into the new box I realized the “in case of emergency” document was very out of date. Since I take care of the bills and paperwork, if I were to be incapacitated my husband wouldn’t know what to do with some of them.
I updated the document with:
I also put on my calendar to update the inventory which is also very out of date. Now I have on my calendar a recurring date to update the emergency document and inventory.
Wondering which is better, a safe or a safety deposit box for you? Unclutterer has a great article on it.
Are you prepared?