These last couple of weeks I decided to step back and take a bit of time away from all of the common day distractions that keep me so tied up time and time again. Mainly television and the computer. Instead of checking emails every 10 minutes, updating statuses every hour and watching garbage on TV, I dug into some wholesomeness and feel-good activities. Stuff I've really been needing mentally, spiritually and emotionally. I don't know about you, but I often feel so overwhelmed by all of the "stuff" out there that we all can't seem to live without these days. I find
myself anxious, flustered, stressed out and wired, like I've had too much coffee to drink. I really needed this. The first thing I did was grabbed my crochet hooks and got to work on a blanket for Gabe that I had been slowly piecing together. It was my first actual project and it took many, many, many hours to complete but once I did, wow. It felt fabulous. Working with my hands is so incredibly relaxing and therapeutic for me, so this was fantastic. Of course with crocheting being as addicting as it is, I also crocheted a produce bag and I'm working on a ring. Pictures to come. During the times when I am crocheting, Vaeh will put on a DVD of The Sound of Music and the three of us will cheerfully sing the songs together. Other times it will just be the sound of each of us doing our own thing together. Vaeh has been a very, very busy girl playing with her modelling clay, sculpting miniature watermelon and banana bunches for her miniature make-believe picnics in the park, or a row of hearts to show me "how much she loves me". The sound of creativity and fun is a much sweeter sound to fill the air then the sounds that come from the idiot box, as my Dad used to call it. I've been leaning closer and closer toward cancelling cable but I'm not quite there yet. In the meantime, long bouts of keeping it turned off is perfect.
After finishing Gabe's blanket I got motivated to do other things around the house that I've been meaning to get to. Namely, Vaeh's bedroom. Slowly but surely I've been working on each room of my house, painting and organizing, to put my touch on things and make my home as cozy and as reflective of me as possible. Not all rooms are completed, but I had done a lot of work on the living room, kitchen, powder room and my bedroom. I've been promising Vaeh a real bedroom for a few years now. When I was with my ex, we moved around so much because of his problems that Vaeh hasn't had a real bedroom. We never stayed anywhere long enough to decorate and make it her own. That really made me sad, especially since she wanted a room that was her own so badly. Every little girl wants a little girl room. The plan for her room was that she would share it with Gabe once he outgrew sharing my bed with me. Her room wouldn't comfortably accommodate two beds, so bunkbeds was the answer. I had an idea in my head of the type of bunkbeds I wanted to get for them but buying a new set was out of the question. I happened to be browsing Craigslist last week and low and behold, I found the perfect set. Thankfully I had a little money put away and I was able to get them. I don't have pictures to share yet but I will in the next few days. So with bunkbeds purchased, I picked out a paint color and got to painting their room. It took me all day to clear out their room, wash the walls, paint two coats of paint, let it dry and then assemble the beds, but it was so worth it. Doing things like this makes me really proud to be on my own. It makes me feel strong and completely capable of getting things done, feelings I didn't think I would have when I was just venturing out on my own as a single Mom. I'll be the first to admit that it does present a challenge, but it's not impossible. It's empowering. If you aren't being challenged, you aren't growing. Plain and simple. I'm incredibly grateful that I took the time to learn certain things throughout my life. I never left things like programming the DVD player, changing light fixtures in the house (involving rewiring), being tech savvy, home repair, etc., up to the guy. I always figured stuff out on my own (which is a big part of my personality) and it has helped me immensely.
Another thing I've been doing to create a little bit of mental peace is going grocery shopping early in the morning. Since we walk to the grocery store I decided it would probably be a good idea to do it earlier in the day. Traffic is calmer, the weather is cooler and the grocery store is near empty. Because I have daycare kiddies coming to my house in the morning I need to make sure we get home in time to welcome them. This is our shopping schedule:
-Leave home at 8:00am
-Get to store by 8:30am
-Shop until 9:00am
-Get home at 9:30am
-Welcome the kiddies around 10am
Some days I have kids arrive earlier than 10, so I plan our shopping trips to fall on days where they aren't coming until 10. This has worked out really, really well. The walking has been great, especially shortly after waking up. We typically don't have breakfast until we come home as I've found walking on an empty-ish stomach just feels better, in the daytime anyway. A walk after dinner feels great too. Shopping in a large grocery store that is almost empty is INCREDIBLE. I can't stand the lineups and chaos of packed stores, which is mostly why I avoid going to malls and shopping in general unless necessary. I have a very sensitive personality (see here and here about being highly sensitive) and things affect me more than the average person. It took me a long while to understand this, and now that I do I embrace it and love that I am highly sensitive. I don't always take care of this side of me though, and more often then not I get caught up in life and things and forget this very important part of me and before I know it I'm completely frazzled and overwhelmed. This will be something I work on for sure.
So I'm working on cutting back on things. A lot. I need more peace in my life and more things that stimulate me emotionally. I've committed to only checking emails twice a day, with the hopes to reduce that further to once a day in the near future. I'm working on reducing my aimless internet browsing to only looking up specific things when the need arises. This alone has cut back on my computer usage immensely. I only visit my Facebook page every other day or so and I've even gone as far as cleaning up my friends list, removing "friends" that I don't talk to regularly, if at all. So far I've removed almost half of my friends list, and I plan to do more. Simplifying to me isn't about making things easier. In fact, simplifying your life can be harder in the beginning, but it does get easier. Even exciting. Living simply is about cutting back and decluttering. Whether that be in your home, your office, your schedule, your mind, activities you participate in, your wardrobe, whatever. The old adage of "less is more" couldn't ring more true. And once you see the benefits of cutting back and/or organizing and/or decluttering one area of your life, you'll want to do more because it feels so good. I plan on doing much more.