I can't say that I'm sad February is already here. I find myself looking forward to it. I often forget to flip my calendar to the next month until well into the second week, but I was two days early this time! I'm not sure "ready" is the best way to describe me, but I have a positive outlook!
Because we are changing things up around here, and everybody is going to benefit!
For many months now I have had a laminated family routine taped on a wall in the kitchen and one in the kids room. We do not follow these. Not even a little. Not even at all.
And that is a major contributor to my ever rising stress levels! I can't tell you how many times a day I hear SuperNanny's lovely British accent echoing in my ears..."you have no routine!"
Ahhhh! Nanny Jo, I know! I know!
Why do we have no routine? Because I have NO energy! Physical, mental, emotional. This past year has sapped every ounce of vigor and vim I possessed. It drained me.
I'm in drought. I'm deep in the red.
In a word...I'm tired!
So...what do I intend to do about it?
We started with the spiritual. Both our family routine and my personal spiritual routine have slowly been getting reestablished. We are not where we really want to be yet, but the quality of our Family Worship, family bible reading, and studying is deeper and richer than just the survival mode we were in for quite a number of months. And that has given me the motivation to start the ball rolling in other areas also.
For a large portion of the past year all I really feel like I did was simply survive. I didn't do a whole lot of real living, but rather just hung on until the colossal waves stopped burying me in the sand.
But it's time to start swimming again.
So I need a plan, right?
Yes. But a plan is only as good as it's purpose. And that is where I discovered my failure. Part of it anyway.
I can make all the plans and schedules I can think of, but if my purpose behind and in front of those plans isn't crystal clear, then my chances of success are slim at best.
There are seasons in life where heading in the direction of the distant horizon is refreshing, fun, and benificial. But right now we not only need a map, but we need to know where we are going, and why.
What is the purpose behind my plan?
To LIVE!! And to teach my children to do the same.
Living involves much more than mere survival. It means taking in my surroundings. Letting myself get absorbed in my children's freckles amd giggles and playing! It means pursuing the endevors that bring joy, and minimizing ones that only bring strife. It means living in the moment, with the person I am with even if it's myself. It means planning the things that fill me and my family up, and allowing the ones that don't to pass when possible.
For me it includes knowing, acknowledging, and letting others know my limitations. Even if it means saying "no" to things I want and people I love. It also includes letting go. And forgiving. And not allowing misdirected guilt to unduly influence my decisions.
A purpose is looking into the future and deciding now what you want the outcome to be. Then you plan accordingly.
I want my family to say, "You loved us so much. You smiled a lot. You laughed. And you gave us your time and attention. You made us feel important."
So that is my purpose. And simply put that is my plan.
I intend to get there by employing several techniques.
- Go to bed early. (10:00, that's VERY early for me)
- Wake up before everyone else. I NEED to do this to mentally prepare for my day and have the quiet time I crave without staying up all hours of the night.
- Spend time outside EVERY DAY!
- Eat well and often. (I tend to not eat until hours after I wake up, and I often make lunch for everyone else without actually eating myself, then I end up eating too much of all the wrong foods at the worst time, late at night)
- Smile. BREATHE. Smile. Breathe. Repeat. Repeat. Repeat.
- Look for the good, and then talk about it.
- Hug. A lot.
Other tools I'm going to be using more:
- My alarms on my phone - so far I have set eight to help alert me to move on to the next phase of the day. Sometimes I need reminders just as much as my kids. It's not a rigid timeline, an we don't have to jump immediately when the alarm goes off, but it can help serve as a guideline for the day, and give us all the gentle nudges that help us along.
- Our local attractions and facilities. We are literally right down the street from our huge recreation complex and playground. For a solid six months, I was very anxious about taking all three of my kids anywhere without a second adult, so I basically ceased going anywhere. But that was lame, and I feel much more equipped to handle most situations that might come up, so I will no longer allow that anxiety to win.
- I need to ask for, and accept help. This is going to be very hard. I'm not good at doing this.
The hardest step is often the first one, so I'm glad to say that we are already getting started. We will have a lot of tweaking no doubt, and I'm sure we'll stubble along the way. But I feel much more settled approaching this than ever before.
It almost feels like hope.