On taking a break to reset, renew and refocus

Life is tough, hey. Not necessarily “bad tough”. Or “crappy tough”. Although sometimes it is. But I think more often than not, life is just “full tough”. “Exhausting tough”. “Too-much-on-my-flipping-plate tough”.

And we need to slow down. We need to be doing less. We need to be saying no more often. Way more often.

This year has been full-on for our family – from health crises and deaths to pandemic lockdowns and career changes and everything in between… it has been over-full. So I decided to take a couple of days this week to catch-up. My husband has this week off work, so I booked 2 nights in a motel half an hour from home, repaid some serious sleep debt, spent some time in prayer, read a book, walked around the Botanic Gardens, had my hair done and enjoyed some amazing cafe food… it was so delightful. Slow and soul-refreshing.

But it got me thinking about how important it is to stay on top of our commitments in the every day, because we can’t just hop off to a motel every time life gets crazy. Barring the occurrences that are out of our hands (which most of this year has been!), our life is usually crazy because we let it become that way.

We take on that extra activity or say yes to another party or create a business deadline which is simply unreasonable (not just push-us-outside-our-comfort-zone crazy, which I’m totally down with, but actually, objectively insane)… and we wonder why the heck we’re struggling!

We are expected to do far more in a 24 hour period than is reasonable or healthy and it has to stop.

So, here are a few commitments I made for myself during my down-time this week. Maybe there’s something here that hits a nerve for you, or maybe your list would look totally different. If you feel like sharing, I’d love to hear what you decide to change.

1. Amend my calendar so that all appointments fall on one day of the week. We live half an hour from a major town and that’s where all of our medical appointments, music lessons, groceries, etc happen. Next week, we have appointments every single day of the week (which means 5 hours in the car, apart from anything else!) and it’s just ridiculous. Going forward, I’ll try and make sure all our appointments fall on the day we head into town for music lessons anyway. There’s just too much going on at home with a hobby farm to run, homeschooling to do, a business to manage and a life to enjoy, to be heading in to town more than once or twice a week.

2. Bulk cook. I really don’t love cooking (although getting a Thermomix earlier this year has helped immensely), so I want to start bulk cooking once a fortnight. Nothing fancy – just make up a quadruple batch of spaghetti mince, double chicken pie filling, some stroganoff to last a few meals and a stack of slices that will keep in the fridge for a couple of weeks. Obviously, I’ll need to cook the veggies as they’re required and meatless dishes are usually better cooked fresh (ie, veggie quiche), but I’d really like to have the bulk of it done. I used to bulk cook and it really helped with managing the evening routine and taking the mental hassle out of finding time to prep dinner. Time to get back into it.

3. Declutter, sort and store (stuff that’s not currently in use). So much of my life is spent picking stuff up and putting it away and I want that to stop so I can get outside in the garden more or spend more time studying aromatherapy. I made a pretty good start with this last week by bagging up all my summer clothes and putting them away in a high cupboard until I’ll need them again. This has helped to tidy our room (we don’t have cupboards so all the clothing is literally on open shelving) and means far less stuff to shuffle through each day. I’m going to do the same for my little girls who somehow manage to pull three outfits out of the cupboard when they only need one. Then I want to declutter the linen cupboard which has far more linen than we even need or ever use.

The funny thing about decluttering is that it’s never actually complete. I distinctly remember decluttering the linen cupboard around the same time two years ago… but as we go through life, we collect stuff in a variety of ways and it’s important to stay on top of what has a place in the home, because everything we own requires something from us – whether it’s maintenance, repair, cleaning or storing.

4. Schedule social media time. Most of the time I spend with social media is based around my business, but that doesn’t mean the time is always spent wisely. Social media can become a time suck regardless of how we intend to use it and I’m going to start using an app to shut me out after a certain time. This will hopefully help me to be more efficient with my time and force me to get work done while I’m on there, rather than falling into the trap of following that post in that story in that fascinating new account that someone just tagged me in. In the past when I’ve scheduled social media time, I’ve found it entirely possible to get all work-related social media tasks done in 15-20 minutes a day, and I’m honestly excited about reclaiming any “extra” time I would otherwise spend there.

I’d love to know if anything in my random little list resonates with you! Leave a comment and let me know 🙂

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