Sometimes it feels like there are too many things I have to do every day to stay grounded, whole, and strong.
Exercise. Write. Meditate. Read. Spend time outside. Talk to family and friends. Connect with my community.
If I were to make a list of all the things I *need* to do every day to feel like my best self, the list would have between ten and twenty items on it, and it would require all the time and effort of a full-time job.
Now, if I could quit my job and spend each and every day devoted to self-care and self-love, I would do it. I would LOVE it.
But I can’t. And so, it gets overwhelming to think of everything I need to do to preserve my mental health.
The item most prevalent in my mind today is exercise. I’ve been feeling really up and down recently – some days just kinda out of it, some days pretty depressed – and my exercise routine has been suffering.
Today, while Teddy was napping and Tee was getting some work done, I went to the gym and ran on the treadmill. It felt so good. I came home rejuvenated – got some writing done, read a few chapters in Buddhism Is Not What You Think (one of the seven books on my “Currently Reading” Goodreads shelf), and just felt like I was in an altogether better headspace.
I’m going to try to get myself to the gym early tomorrow morning, and I am contemplating running a race with Tee in June. (JUST CONTEMPLATING. Sometimes I get really stoked to run a race and then lose interest halfway through my training period. So I’m going to ponder the idea of running a race for a bit before I actually pay to register.) Cheers to a week of exercise, healthy food, and all-around wellness!
There’s a story – possibly a long-ish work of fiction – bubbling up in my mind.
However, I’m in the middle of a seriously crazy Book Binge currently, and I’ve been reading much more than I’ve been writing.
The WAY I’ve been reading is a little different this week. While reading this week’s books – including Wonder, The Hate U Give, The Readers Of Broken Wheel Recommend, and Young Jane Young – I’ve been asking myself questions about choices the author made, things I like about the plot or story, and tools I might be able to use.
However – my actual writing has been limited. Every day for the past few weeks, when I get done with Teddy’s bedtime routine, I race downstairs to read my current book. I finished the Louise Penny novels, which were incredibly addictive and suspenseful, and then have been flying through book after book after book.
I’m a little worried about my lack of actual writing – though I am trying not to be TOO worried. I do want to make writing a priority; I don’t want to put my writing on a back burner for weeks that turn into months that turn into years.
Maybe if I give myself a soft deadline – need to have started writing this story-maybe-novel by Valentine’s Day – then it will keep me dedicated without forcing me to do it RIGHT NOW. I’m not great at forcing myself to do things – I’m better when I maintain my faith that it always comes back, whether it’s my desire to read, my energy to run, or my creativity for writing.
However – I also don’t want to wake up in a year with this story still bubbling up inside of me. Hopefully this post will bring me some accountability.
I am enjoying tossing this story around in my head.
Thinking about character quirks and which characters can have them.
My last check-in was JULY 31, 2017. That was a long time ago! I have a feeling the last six months of my 2017 were pretty balanced, as my not-at-all-scientific method will probably show. Let’s see!
Since my last check-in, I have written:
- 13 posts about nourishing my #heart by spending time with family and friends;
- 12 posts about nourishing my #soul by spending quiet time reflecting and recharging;
- 16 posts about nourishing my #mind by reading, writing, and engaging in other activities that educate me or exercise my brain muscles;
- 5 posts about nourishing my #body by exercising, eating healthy food, and taking steps to take care of my physical being;
- and, last but not least, 5 posts about nourishing my #spirit by learning or doing new things.
Here are my thoughts on this:
- I feel pretty balanced recently. I’ve been doing my best to make time with family and friends a priority, and to make plans for fun things to do as a family and with our friends.
- I never write as much about #body as the other aspects of self. I’ve never been the person who posts about physical accomplishments on social media or anything like that. There’s nothing wrong with posts like that, at all – just not my thing. However, I think that writing less about #body also has to do with my exercise routine sometimes being monotonous. I’m actually in the middle of a drafted post about one of my new exercise routines, which is nostalgic and exciting – soon to be posted.
- I expect that my #spirit posts will increase during the early months of 2018. Tee and I have some fun plans – nothing wild and crazy, just little adventures to have, places to visit, things to do.
I feel excited and energized to be blogging again after my accidental two-month-long hiatus. Already published seven new posts in 2018 – five more posts until 300!
Having ME Time is exponentially more valuable now that I’m a parent. This morning, I was gifted an extra two hours of ME time thanks to a two-hour delayed opening at my office. I debated going into the office early, but rejected that idea quickly. Our friend comes to the house every Tuesday to watch Teddy and her son, so extra Teddy time was out. It’s miserably cold outside (hence the two-hour delay) so taking a walk or a jog is out. Inevitably I end up spending my ME time doing one of my two favorite things: reading or writing.
On weekend days, Teddy naps for an hour or two in the afternoon. That’s a solid chunk of ME time, and I usually set it aside for reading or writing.
The thing is – I feel a little guilty when I decide to read instead of write. If writing’s my dream, and I need practice and commitment and hard work to achieve my dream, then shouldn’t I focus on that for all or most of my precious ME time?
No. Reading is my inhale and writing is my exhale. If I never inhale, how can I exhale? If I never read, how do I feed the part of me that fell so in love with the written word that I feel compelled to write myself?
This weekend, I experienced this conflict, and ended up typing away on the blog and taking little breaks to read. It helped that the book I was reading was Story Craft, a nonfiction book about writing narrative nonfiction stories. It feeds both my love of reading and my motivation to get better at writing.
Our life – mine and Tee’s and Teddy’s – is very hygge in the wintertime.
We wake up, make coffee, and make sure the fire in our living room wood stove is roaring. Teddy plays with toys near the Christmas tree and Tee cooks us pancakes for breakfast. We read books – Tee is (finally) starting Book 10 in the Inspector Gamache series, and I’m in the middle of Shrill by Lindy West. We take turns reading Teddy his favorites – The Little Blue Truck, All The World, and Knuffle Bunny, currently. There’s a blanket on every chair and a cat ready to curl up on your lap for warmth and company.
Though I prefer spring, summer, and fall, I looked forward to wintertime a lot this year. Tee gets extremely busy with the farm during the warmer weather, and it’s so nice to have her around more. We’ve gotten a lot done around the house, especially during December in preparation for family visitors for the holidays. Our weekends are more free and fun; every Friday, we figure out what fun (or, ugh, productive) things we can do with our free days. During the summer our conversations are usually more along the lines of “how the hell are we going to do everything we need to do this weekend,” with limited time for simple fun or coziness or just BEING together, with no agenda or deadline.
The slower pace of wintertime is lining up well with my intentions for 2018. Having more time and space allows me to be more intentional with my actions. Our hygge lifestyle is conducive to curling up on the couch with my journal or my laptop to write. I have successfully avoiding angst for the first five days of 2018, which is pretty much a miracle all by itself. The one intention I haven’t honored yet is to meditate, unless you count swimming laps at the Y, which I DO so really I’ve nailed all of it.
It’s a slower, gentler time of year, with more time and space to just be me. And I just love it.