When life tosses new responsibilities my way, I need to sit with them awhile, figure out how life looks and feels with them in it, and find a way to shuffle and shift to make room for them in a way that doesn’t leave me frazzled and overwhelmed.
So I’ve been hibernating a bit this week, slipping into the role of Observer Of My Own Life, and finding it rather fun. When you’re an observer, you aren’t a judge or a jury or an executioner. You’re simply there to watch and report the facts. No condemnation is allowed, no shame or lavish helpings of guilt, just observations.
At the end of each day I went through my discoveries and made adjustments and changes and improvements, then put them into practice the next day and observed some more.
It’s been so interesting.
I really do love learning about how I tick, what I’m good at, what I’m rotten at, what things I’m afraid of or intimidated by, what makes me happy or excited, what sets off triggers, what makes me feel instantly comfy. I like to do what I can to help myself be my best self so I can walk through this life in peace with a full heart and a settled mind.
Here are some of the things I’ve learned or been reminded of this week, things I can do to help me thrive and navigate life in a healthy way:
- Sleep. Such a simple thing but wow, it makes all the difference in the world for me. I went to bed an hour earlier and my 1:40 a.m. alarm was so much easier to rise to. It’s nice to not be a zombie.
- Exercise. My non-farm work involves copious amounts of sitting as I do my law firm work and my writing work. So hoofing it on the treadmill keeps my back and neck from getting stiff and keeps me limber and alert.
- Quiet. I thrive with moments of quiet throughout the day, especially first thing in the morning. Bear and I have renewed our practice of having breakfast together on the back veranda. Even if it’s chilly, we just pull blankets over our laps and do it anyway. It is bliss to be out there, watching the various animals wake up, listening to the wind in the trees, talking about whatever comes into our heads or just sitting quietly and companionably together.
- Reading. I need books. Need them. The stories and experiences and thoughts written within their pages never, ever fail to enliven my brain and renew my love of life.
- Writing. Setting aside time each morning to write in my journal, no matter how rambling or disjointed, helps me settle my whirring brain and work through any issues that may be niggling at me.
- Food. I grew up in a world where women were pressured to do everything from scratch. Everything. All. The. Time. Anything tinned or premade was looked down upon as not-good-enough, or a sign that this-woman-doesn’t-really-love-her-family. Such hogwash! I didn’t even realize I’d carried that expectation with me until recently, and when it hit me I thought, “Oh bugger!” Since then I’ve rebuilt my relationship with food and it has been glorious. Taking away the expectations and pressure has made food fun again. How lovely to know I can cook/eat whatever I want. Seriously. It’s like someone gave me Christmas presents all over again and I’m delighted. Food has become such fun. If I’ve got the energy, I love doing fiddly stuff with 18 ingredients and 12 steps, but if I don’t, it’s baked potatoes, or pasta with premade sauce, or even a big bowl of cold cereal. And the best part, it’s all OK. Premade, homemade, it doesn’t matter, we’re just so lucky to have food to eat and people to share it with.
- Nature. Being outside is pure happiness to me and when I let myself get stuck inside for too long, I suffer for it. So I’ve been carving out nature time every day, even if it’s just walking through my gardens or standing barefoot in the grass or picking weeds in the orchard. It contributes greatly to my well-being.
- Friends. I know we all go through lonely times when we move away or our loves move away, or things get busy or people get sick or money gets tight and we can’t afford drives or coffees or lunches. The last couple of months I’ve been much more intentional about friend time, whether it’s chatting on WhatsApp or meeting for tea and cookies on the veranda or stealing 30 minutes to sit down and talk on the phone. What a difference it makes to have those connections, to listen and be listened to, to share and laugh and cry and laugh some more. I’m going to keep doing this, maintaining the connections that make my life so rich.
How about you? Have you made changes in your life recently to help you thrive? I’d love to hear about them. xo