Ready, Steady, Go!
Well, true confession coming your way... Around Thanksgiving last year, I was in a place where there was so much I wanted to focus on all at once that my head was spinning. I want a cleaner house, more time to workout, more time to meditate, more playtime with the kiddos, more date time with the hubby, etc. I was writing down all of these goals, and lists, and plans to achieve them, which probably sounds like a good thing, until I had like 10 pages of things I wanted to do or needed to work on. So, I dumped the list in the trash and walked away. Instead decided to really focus on happiness, gratitude, and creating a place inside that was filled with peace and calm that I could tap into more often. Months later, I can honestly say that I've never felt better from a mental standpoint. That said, I let other really important things slide. Specifically working out and eating clean. So I feel great mentally (and in yoga clothes), but when it comes to slipping on (read yanking up) my favorite jeans, or dressing up to go out, I look in the mirror and feel like what I am seeing isn't necessarily mirroring how I am feeling. And I am ready to buckle down and marry feeling awesome to eating awesome. To be totally honest, reintroducing more routine and planning (after months of letting go), does have me a wee bit anxious, but I have done plenty of these programs and I know that it feels more daunting than it actually is. I want this. And I am so excited to do this with all of you!!
I totally relate to everything you just said! I find myself ebbing and flowing between a list like you had....and just relaxing and creating a place of peace. :)
Ahh, the ebb and flow - well put Jessica! I love knowing that I am in good company :)
I so get this. Here is where I have settled out: creating processes and systems that become second nature to give me time and brain space to live. Have you read The Life Changing Magic of Tidying Up? It really changed my perspective on the why of being organized and sticking with a routine. I am most at peace and able to let go when I streamline routines that allow the every day work to run in the background so I can focus 100% on living.
Oh my goodness - I can so relate to this Anna. The list making, endless striving for self-improvement, not enough hours in the day to tick off all the goals. We are just back from a week's vacation and just today I was thinking that I am going to do yoga every day, meditate more, spend more time playing with the kids, eat clean, walk 12,000 steps per day, read more and go to the gym 4x per week???!!! It just ain't going to happen and then I'll beat myself up about it. I LOVE that you walked away from your list, but also reckon that there must be a balance out there somewhere to be had. Jessica, I'd love to hear about your systems and routines.
So, this is corny, but I think about my evening routine as a gift from present me to future me. Doing and putting away the dishes, getting a load of laundry in the washing machine timed to start before I get up, getting the coffee prepped in the coffee machine, putting away the laundry. If I take the 30 minutes to do those things in the evening instead of watching something dumb on TV my whole next day is better. And I recently emptied my closet of all clothes I don't love. I have less options but that is a good thing. It takes me no time to get ready for the day since I don't waste time thinking about what to wear. During these three weeks I hope to narrow down my list of go to meals so I can easily pull together a meal plan from a limited set of amazing dishes. In theory limiting choice in what I eat and wear opens time and brain spac to be creative I have been reading a lot about this in productivity blogs. Sounds a bit controlled and disciplined, but my hope is that by "curating" limited choices to things I know I love in everyday matters I open up more "free time." I recommend the blogs Modern Mrs Darcy and The-Nife En L'Air. I sometimes also read Zen Habits but he's sometimes a bit much. And the book I mentioned (The Life Changing Magic of Tidying Up) is an easy read that really helped me consider the things, activities and people that add to my life. Now I am starting to ramble ... ;)
I am LOVING this thread!! Thank you :) Jessica, I am right there with you regarding setting your future self up for success, somethings have to be taken care of at night or I feel like my morning starts with a steep up hill climb. And hell YES to less is more - with clothes, toys, boxes in the pantry, etc. I can't wait to check out The Life Changing Magic of Tidying Up. I think the greatest lesson I learned in my time "off" is that my happiness was becoming a reflection of what I got done during the day. And often times in my life at the moment, with three young kiddos and a husband in medical school who is often not around to help, I can't do everything I intend to get done. So I took that time to reclaim my happiness by bringing it back inwards and to learn to look past the things I can't do and focus on the things I can. And while I still experience some stress, I feel like I have taken the power back from things that used to stress me out that were out of my control. And man, it feels good :)
I am LOVING this thread!! Thank you :) Jessica, I am right there with you regarding setting your future self up for success. Somethings have to be taken care of at night or I feel like my morning starts with a steep up hill climb. And hell YES to less is more - with clothes, toys, boxes in the pantry, etc. I can't wait to check out The Life Changing Magic of Tidying Up. I think the greatest lesson I learned in my time "off" is that my happiness was becoming a reflection of what I got done during the day. And often times in my life at the moment, with three young kiddos and a husband in medical school who is often not around to help, I can't do everything I intend to get done. So I took that time to reclaim my happiness by bringing it back inwards and to learn to look past the things I can't do and focus on the things I can. And while I still experience some stress, I feel like I have taken the power back from things that used to stress me out that were out of my control. And man, it feels good :)
I love this thread as well. Thank you for the blog and book ideas, Jessica. I've heard of some (Zen Habits seems a bit idealistic/much to me sometimes as well), but many were new to me. I'm an avid list maker myself, and I love that many of you have been able to look inward and focus on things that have helped you find greater happiness. Honestly, though, it's hard for me to imagine. If I don't have my lists reminding me of what needs to get done, I find myself drowning and overwhelmed in a short period of time. I'm trying to be more aware of what goes on those lists, and trying to make sure that the things I spend my time on are actually worth it. It's been helping, as my to-do list is a little shorter. I'm trying not to put so much pressure on myself. I'm very detail-oriented so it's easy for my list to turn impossible again. I think I still have lot to work through regarding where I find my happiness and peace. How to deal with stress and how food can support me during my stress and during this process is one thing I'm hoping to get out of this program.
This is great! I also found myself getting wrapped up in what I accomplished and checked off my list every day. I finally realized that I wasn't living or fully present with whoever was right in front of me or whatever task I happened to be doing. So while I do capture all the things I want to do by writing them down (and getting them out of my head), I have a priority to-do list for home and work each day. I have three things, and only three things, on each list. It helps me to see what is important that day and not feel overwhelmed by a massive list. It's been a big shift in my perspective to see tidying up and clearing out of stuff as not the end goal but the means to an end. The end being the ability to be more creative and present with the people I care about. Anyway, it's not directly food related, but is mental wellness related! I hope you both enjoy The Life Changing Magic of Tidying Up. Some of it I had to take with a grain of salt since the author doesn't have kids. But the overall message really resonated with me.
Love this thread and all the inspiration - I'm printing it out! Def going to try the 3 things on each list idea. My problem is that it always seems to be the kids that suffer when the to-do list grows to long so a bit more playtime for us all is going to be a priority for me.
I love this thread too! It describes me to a T. I love the idea of a good nightly routine. Every morning I tell my girls "this is something we should have handled last night" but it seems we keep having crazy mornings around here. (my girls are 13,11, & 8) Love - "really focus on happiness, gratitude, and creating a place inside that was filled with peace and calm" Anna. I need to do this. Jessica, I love the idea of cleaning out my closet. As strange as this sounds I do better which food when I feel more in control of my life and vise versa. When I eat better I feel like I am more able to keep up with life. This is probably too late notice for everyone and not sure how many are from MN but this weekend in Red Wing I am going to a retreat called Path and Purpose. Here is how they describe it. "Do the day‐to‐day duties of your life or business leave you depleted? Do you want to invite more self‐care in without feeling selfish? Are you ready to invite more fun, play, and Spirit into your life and career?" I have no affiliation with them it is just something a friend suggested so I signed up. They did say there is still room. :) This thread has inspired me to take more time with my kiddos today AND clean out my closet!!
Sara, that retreat sounds amazing, and if I were in town, I would be there in a hot second. I really hope to keep fine tuning the place I've gotten myself. It certainly is a practice - and when I don't practice for a day or two, I can really tell. Taking time to meditate both before bed, and once or twice during the day (we are talking 5-10 minutes during the day) has been paramount. When I take time to quiet my body and mind and tap into a place inside where I know and trust that I am enough and am doing a great job, I am fueling myself for the next few hours and tackling my day and lists with mindfulness, peace and gratitude. I HIGHLY recommend some form of meditating!
This thread is amazing! Jessica Z., Modern Mrs. Darcy and Le Nife En L'Air are two of my absolute favorite blogs. I have spent the last year or so not only changing my eating but also trying to cultivate a simpler, richer life. A HUGE part of that was cutting back on my wardrobe. I only keep things that I love and that fit me and generally, that I will wear on a daily basis. We have a small home but I removed all "special occasion" type clothes and stuck them in my guest bedroom closet so they're out of mind/out of sight. My closet has space.....breathing room....so I see everything and honestly, I wear everything. Into-Mind is a fantastic site for minimizing your closet. She's very detail oriented and it can be overwhelming if you get too into it but she has a ton of good information. Project 333 is another good site. I've recently started taking my yoga to a new level. I'm practicing regularly and meditating every day and find that that allows me to be more mindful in every aspect of my life. Habit List is a great, simple app I use for tracking I want to turn into habits. I have them listed out and you can set the frequency and then you just check it off when you complete it. I have things like drink hot water with lemon in the AM, take a walk, write for 5 minutes, meditate, no alcohol, and sometimes work outs. I started with very manageable goes....like for the walk, I just had three days a week and outside of PN, I basically try to do no alcohol during the week. Another great app for learning to meditate is Headspace. It's free for the first 10 days - and I found the guidance to be very helpful. You can repeat the first 10 days as much as you want and the guy (Andy Puddicombe) has a very soothing voice. It's only 10 minutes. I don't manage to meditate every day but I'm so much better off when I do. I am so excited to see so many of you are interested in the same sorts as topics :) Makes me feel even more camaraderie as we get going!
I wish I had read that before I pushed post! All the typos :) I mean I started with very manageable goals. And I realize at one point I said I meditate every day and at one point I said I don't. I don't always have time to do the whole 10 minutes Headspace sets up. So sometimes my meditation is nothing more than a minute or two or three of deep belly breathing in the morning or before I go to bed.
Jessica S - I LOVE your post AND your resources!! Thank you :) And from the queen of typos, no judgment here. I am off to check out Into-Mind right now...
Jessica S., I think we are "Jessica" soul mates! What you wrote captures *exactly* where I am in my life right now. The Daily Connoisseur is another one I am digging for finding a richer life. I know I mentioned it a couple times but I think you would get a lot out if The Life Changing Magic of Tidying Up. Lately I keep coming back to something that Kali from The Nife asks herself regularly. "Do I like who I am when I am doing this?" It really narrows what is important. Maybe we need an ongoing thread for these three weeks where we check in and share this process?
Jessica Z, I've got the book and I plan on reading it on my way to NY later this week! We do sound like Jessica soul mates! And of all the crazy things, we're both traveling to NY at the same time, right? I love the idea of asking myself that question. Just the other day, before PN started, my husband was having a cocktail and I really wanted one. Gosh, I love cocktails. Here's the thing: they don't like me. Even though we make pretty clean versions besides the alcohol. No sugars, mostly homemade ingredients. We even make our own tonic water and ginger beer (crazy, I know!). I wake up feeling sluggish and have a headache most of the time even if I have one drink. So I asked myself a variation of that question, "will I like how I feel if I drink this drink?" and it was enough to steer me away. Headache free mornings are the best :) Should we start a new thread or just keep checking in here?
I love that you ask yourself questions like that - I've been doing the same thing. (and, by the way, I'd love the recipe for tonic and ginger beer -- I bet they are amazing!). Yes, I am also headed to NYC on Friday with my 4.5 year old to meet my husband who will be there for work. I'm starting to think ahead about planning snacks for the train and where to eat. I wonder if there are any New Yorkers in the programs who have suggestions. Anna, do you mind if we use this thread to check in on these mindfulness habits we all seem to be cultivating?
Go for it, ladies!!
You guys. This is totally my jam! Obsessed with e.v.e.r.y.t.h.i.n.g. posted here. "A simpler, richer life" = amen. I have saved all of the blogs/books/resources you guys mentioned and cannot wait to check them out! I actually have a blog in the works that focuses on the mind-body aspect of our health. I realized over the past year that no matter how well you eat, if your mind and body aren't working on the same team, you aren't loving your body...change will be hard to come by. I will be sure to let you know when it's up and running! I have been slowly cleaning out my cupboards and my closets - this is a great blog that talks about how 'the space around us impacts the space within us" ...my take = zen space, zen mind. http://rebeccamcloughlin.com She obviously is a professional but even simple clean outs have helped in my life. With my closet, I've been slowly going through everything, trying it on, and taking note of how I feel in it. Do I feel attractive, comfortable, happy, straight up GOOD in the clothing article? Or does it make me feel meh? If 'meh' is my answer = DONATE. It's an amazing process for not only leaning out my closet but upping the self love too! Why wear an outfit that makes me feel meh? I'll stop my rambling but can't wait to keep following along here! You guys are the best.
See, this is what makes the PN community so great. It's about so much more than nutrition. :) I love all the new resources here!
This discussion is so where I am right now and have been for a long time. Thank you, thank you for sharing your thoughts, ideas, and resources. I live life with the pedal to the medal. My field of work is very, very competitive, and it fits right with where I was when I was younger. Then, slowly, a lot of little things changed, and I wanted more. My 2 children have helped put a lot of things in perspective as well. And for the past several years, I've been trying to figure out what my simple is - the life that is enough. I've started with my physical environment, which was easier for me. Dealing with my inner world is more difficult, but I've come to realize that I truly need time to think each day. I'm an introvert by nature, and (especially with kids) haven't made time to quiet myself and process all the thoughts that run through my mind, figure out where I want to be, and live in space where I am at peace with things as they are. That's my biggest goal for PN 20 - make time each day to process and think and see where those ideas take me. I would LOVE to check in with you all!
Oh Robin - yes, yes, yes! I love your goals and we would all love to hear more about your journey inward over the next few weeks. Thank you for sharing!!
Katie, I should have told Tanya about this retreat. You all (MN ladies) could have come to Red Wing for a PN20 weekend. :) Started cleaning out my closet the past few days. Feels so good!!