In one of her most recent blog posts, Modern Mrs. Darcy asks us ‘what is saving your life right now?’ (Actually, I hear this question all of the time in Jen Hatmaker’s podcast and supposedly it’s a concept originally mentioned in Barbara Brown Taylor’s book.)
I have been in a weirdly introspective place the last few months, but especially this month. In the middle of January I felt super energetic, productive, and unstoppable for a few days and then crashed and burned the following days. Subsequently I embarked on a mental mission to figure out what could be causing this feeling of burnout. I now know a bit more about what is completely draining the life out of me, but what is saving it?
Saving My Life Right Now:
// Reading every day.
I have read every day since as long as I can remember. I don’t remember a time when I wasn’t reading at least one book… or at the very least a large collection of articles. Reading every night before bed is what calms my mind down and allows me to escape from the world a bit, or gives me a new perspective on life. Nonfiction has been my jam the last few years. Dirt was my last five-star read.
// Outdoor time (for the girls).
I have a new appreciation for outdoor time after the smoke in September made it impossible for us to be out there for weeks. These days, the only time my girls are not making a complete mess indoors is when they’re making a mess outdoors. We don’t do screen time every day (or really at all), so everyone is in chaos mode every waking hour. What keeps me sane is being able to tell them to go play outdoors. The girls are probably outside for about 2-3 hours each day when they aren’t in school and are outside for about 6 hours on the days when they attend outdoor school (which is 4 hours long). When they’re outside I get a bit of a sensory break (they are LOUD), and it gives me the opportunity to clean up a few messes before they make more.
// The Ivy Lee method.
My to-do list has not been working for me. I have some things in my bullet journal that I have been rewriting on my monthly to-do lists for YEARS, which I realize is absolutely ridiculous. I have put off hiring a landscaper for the past 6 months and it’s not even a hard task. I can’t explain this about myself. HOWEVER, then I heard about the The Ivy Lee Method and my life is forever changed for the better. This is not rocket science, but the idea of prioritizing six things every day and not being able to move onto the next thing until the prior one is complete has made me much more productive in the span of days. I have crossed many things off my life in the past 72 hours, hiring a landscaper included. Phew.
// Walks with friends.
I loved taking walks with friends way before the pandemic made it necessary, and now I really love it. Rain or shine, a walk is a daily event for me and Oz, and if a friend can join it just makes my day/week. I guess I just like to be in constant motion, or maybe I think better when I’m moving? I don’t know what it is but there is not much I love more than taking a walk and chatting with a good friend. This includes a walk while having a great phone conversation, which I’m trying to do a bit more of these days (instead of texting).
// Seeing mountains.
I never get tired of the PNW views, and seeing the beauty of God’s creation fills up my soul every single time. This has been especially true this month as I’ve had some opportunities to escape the dreary Seattle weather and find some snow in the mountains!
// Outdoor school (for the girls).
Schools have been virtual since March here in Seattle, and I remain endlessly thankful that we signed the girls up for outdoor school (after we took them out of public school) so that they have the opportunity to meet new friends, learn from teachers (who are not me!) and have some hours away from me and each other. It’s not the being away from them that is saving my life (because I still have Phoebe with me so it’s not ‘free time’), it’s feeling like they have the opportunity to consistently socialize with their peers.
There are so many things slowly (and not so slowly!) draining the life right out of me, but these few things are saving it and helping me retain some shreds of sanity.
Onto a new month! Let’s go, February.