Anyone else around here feeling the winter blues? Feeling stressed or like you're working so hard and "nothing is happening"? This winter I have been dealing with a lot of that, and while it's tough to be candid about it sometimes I think it's good to be honest. Recently I was also told by my doctor after extensive blood work that I have a sluggish thyroid, low vitamin D levels, low iron, and too much stress. It was a reality check to hear from my doctor that if I didn't manage my stress level on a daily basis, no nutrition based solutions would help my tiredness and anxiety. The current Rx is a blend of micronutrients, rest, and things that make me happy.
I've been doing my best to "activate my parasympathetic" as she calls it. :) To me this means boundaries with work, time to laugh with Rowan hands free, dates with my handsome husband, deep breaths and flowers. Lots and lots of flowers. :) It will be a process to figure out my balance between working hard (because I love it so much), and taking breaks to breathe and unplug a bit. Here are some things I've been doing so far, if you're interested! I think that no matter your situation, we all need to spend more time focusing on self care. Self care is not selfish, as so many of my closest tell me. :) You can follow along on Instagram at #rachelshappyplan to see the things I'm (trying) to do each day.
1. Rising early. I purchased the e-book, Early to Rise to help me with this goal! I think a major roadblock I was having was feeling pressure to exercise first thing in the morning, when I really do much better exercising in the afternoon. I've been rising around 6:30 (a far cry from 8:30) and giving Rowan his morning bottle, then heading back to bed with my coffee and a book. No work, just play.
2. Letting go of goals. It's hard for me to do, as you know I'm a big goal setter. Recently I let go of my goal to run a half marathon in June, and just let others fall away. It's okay to let go of goals when they no longer serve you.
3. Expressing Gratitude. As part of my rising early habit, I fill out my gratitude journal! I use an app (The 5 Minute Journal). It's a transformative practice to write out what you're grateful for and what will make this day go well before anything is in my way. Before bed, I write what good things happened with a photo. It's great for a visual person like me.
4. Powering down. I am slowly reading Hands Free Mama and experiencing the power of being more unplugged when playing with Rowan, cooking, or working. Less scrolling on my phone and more stacking blocks with my little one. Less Netflix, more talks with my husband. Sign me up.
5. Exercising only for fun. Part of the reason I gave up my goal to run a half marathon in June was because I was feeling so much pressure to run long distances that I wouldn't exercise at all! How silly is that. On Saturday we went on a family fun run and I've been enjoying daily yoga.
6. Asking for help. SO hard for me. But when I know there are things that I have to do and I'm just straight up overwhelmed, I'm getting better at asking for help. On Saturday I had a trillion meetings and I asked my friend to watch Rowan for a few hours, she happily did, just like I would have! My in-laws are always willing to help if we ask and know we wouldn't take advantage of that. Rowan's starting daycare and it was uncomfortable for me to admit to Isaiah that it was something I needed.
7. Planning a vacation. I won't be able to do this all the time, but right now we are excited about our trip out East! Isaiah and I are planning surprise activities for our mini trip to Boston.
8. Not pushing my limits. Giving clients realistic deadlines is helpful in so many ways. I would stay up all night designing floor plans and reorganizing spreadsheets, but I don't have to. They don't expect that and it's not a balanced way to work.
9. Prioritizing and writing it down. Most nights I tend my to-do list by migrating unfinished tasks to the next day and prioritizing. I sleep better knowing exactly what I have to do the next day.
10. Spending time with friends. Simple and easy, yet so easy not to do. Yesterday I called up my best mama friends for a spur of the minute brunch and they said YES! I was so pumped. We're all so busy that it's easy to forget how nice it is to have some girl time. Grateful.
Maintaining happiness is a work in progress but it's the most rewarding work. Guess what? Since I've set more boundaries and let go a bit, my business hasn't started to fail, I haven't gained 10 pounds, I'm not spending thousands of dollars. I've noticed in a short time my clients starting to respect me even more, my family rising to the occasion, my spirit more open and generous, and my metabolism getting back to normal. I've been working on a routine that works instead of holding myself to old expectations of "perfect".
It's Sunday night and I've organized my week in my planner, drafted 40 e-mails, written out my to-do list, and blogged this post. It took me about an hour (or the time we would've spent watching Netflix and eating gelato a month ago). When I reflect on the harder weeks, they were the weeks that I wasted time feeling overwhelmed instead of doing something proactive.
Hope you all have the happiest week ever! Fill it with things you love, and nothing else.