After finishing out my year of organizing I felt like there was an empty hole needing to be filled. I wanted to learn something new in little bites over a year just like I did with “One year to an Organized life.” After a pretty exhaustive search of books starting with “52 weeks…” “Learn such and such in a year.” and “365 days to a ….” I found nothing that really seemed to fit.
I don’t want a challenge…
This year I didn’t want to take on any weighty pressure filled goals. No, I didn’t want to push myself to be more. Although there are many great books out there about becoming more productive, using your time more efficiently, and mastering the art of getting things do that wasn’t what I wanted from this year.
As a matter of fact I want to do less. This year I don’t want to shove as many things into a single hour as I could possible get done. The next 365 days are about letting go of the need to multi-task and over do. In 2017, I wanted to take things off my plate and maybe take care of me for once.
Since I couldn’t find the right book to guide me in the way “One year to an Organized life,” had I decided maybe I should follow my own path. Maybe this year the thing I should be learning about is…well…me. As mom’s we give to our families, as working mom’s we give to our jobs but all to often the last person we give to is ourselves.
This is a theme I have talked about many times on this blog but it still eludes me. When I try to make my own care, my own needs a priority, I am racked with guilt about the time spent. (Mom’s I know you feel me.) An example of this behavior is when my sweet husband gave me a gift certificate to get my nails done. It was really thoughtful and from the heart but all I could think of is between work, the kids sports and everything else I have to get done how will I ever find the time? Also the hour it would take me to get my nails done would be agonizing as my mind would fill with all I have to do.
For these reason my nails go unpainted, my hair overgrown, my clothing wrinkled and outdated. There are doctors appointments I have put off, glasses I need to repair and books and TV shows I DVR but never watch. That is the life of Mom. Well not this year.
I read a post from the Playful Notes blog where the blogger went in search for a parenting challenge to pursue during 2017. After failing to find one that she was looking for she decided to start here own. You can check out her challenge here.
Her inventiveness inspired me. Seeing as I was in the same predicament, I didn’t want the pressure of a full on challenge so nothing quite fit. I only wanted a monthly check in to keep me accountable in making doctors appointments, keeping things simple and listening to my mind, heart and body. Something more introspective and emotional. So following that inspiration I decided to create my own “A Year of Taking Care of Me.”
Again this is not a heavy goal setting, achievement oriented pursuit. It is designed to be a reminder that we matter. We deserve to take time each month to do something we enjoy, to sit and think or paint our nails without guilt. To let go of the laundry list of responsibilities.
At the end of 2016 I kind of felt like a hollowed out shell. Everything I had in me, my intense emotions, my energy, my drive was just used up. In 2016 I was blogger, mother, wife, worker, chef, maid, banker, event planner ect…but in reality nothing was left of me. My hope is that at the end of 2017, I can recognize how this happened and feel like myself again. ( Wow, this got much deeper then I expected.) Here goes:
A Year of Taking Care of Me
January: Why do I do that?: Look at the habits you have created, are they good? bad? How did they develop? Which ones I would like to change? Which ones have I changed unknowingly? We all know the definition of insanity is doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results. What do we do over and over again?
February: Love myself: Make a list of the things you like about yourself. What makes you a good mom? What you do well at work? Make a second list by asking your family and friends what they like about you. I know it sound awkward…do it anyway. All to often we are really hard on ourselves. We only see our flaws and failures. Very rarely do we see what others see in us.
March: Let go of something toxic: Since this is also the Lenten season, it seems like a good idea to let go of something that maybe toxic to, this could be a bad friend, ugly self-talk, or emotional eating. Let go f something that makes you feel bad about being you.
April: Pamper yourself: This is actually a lot harder then it seems. Each week schedule in something that will pamper you. Do not make excuses. You deserve this. It can be something as small such as getting a new pair of shoes to get yourself a ticket to New York for a shopping spree.(Ok, don’t break the bank but you get the picture.)
May: “May”be it’s in my head: Keep an ear out for negative, distorted thinking. Each week write down one thing you may have distorted or thought of in a negative way. See if you can re-write it to make it more positive.
June: Love your body: With the start of summer go shopping for a bathing suit. Yes a new one that makes you feel confident and beautiful. Wear it. Do not hide. Next schedule trips to the pool or beach and be ok with how you look. Get in your head and fix whatever it is that makes you feel a bad body image and fix it. Fake it till you feel it if you have to. Read books, see a therapist, use positive affirmations. But find a way this month to accept your body in whatever for it is and love it that way.
July: Give yourself a summer break: Remember summer break as a kid where the days felt like they lasted forever. You could just play and have fun with very little responsibilities. Try to take time to recapture that carefree summer feeling. Yes, leave the laundry undone, the dishes in the sink, play with your kids all day while you step over the toys instead of cleaning them up. Lay in the grass and read a good book. Give yourself the permission and freedom to be a kids again if only for a little while.
Bonus-Christmas in July: Start to think of who you would like to give to this holiday and what you want to give to them. Don’t just give an obligatory rushed gift this year. Take the time to think about what the gift recipient means to you and how your gift can reflect that. Take your time and have fun gift giving this year.
August: Here’s to your health: Schedule all of your necessary doctors appointments that you have been putting off all year. This is non negotiable. DO NOT put it off. Don’t be over come with fear or shame. You only have one body. Take care if it.
September: Time for me: Find one way each week to treat myself to something that makes me happy, like taking an hour long walk by myself, watch a guilty pleasure TV show, or do absolutely nothing.
October: Get dressed up: At least one day each week take the time to get dress-up. Wear your favorite outfit, put on make-up, and add some jewelry. Pull out the clothes you never take the time to wear but always feel amazing when you do. Or try on something you might not have had the confidence to wear before. For one morning instead of rushing out of the house, do your hair, dress-up and take the time to put yourself together.
November: Stop saying yes to everyone and set your boundaries: This year figure out what makes you most happy and do that. If you don’t feel like driving all over town during the holiday’s, then don’t. Say no and make a choice that will make you feel happy, content and satisfied. Let go of guilt. Be ok with not making everyone else happy. They will get over it. Make your favorite dishes at Thanksgiving this year and create the memories that matter most in your heart. In other words you can’t please everyone so sometimes it is ok to please yourself. Your family will love you and maybe even respect you more.
December: Keep Christmas special for you: Since by now a lot of your gift should have been purchase. Slow down and do all of the things mean joy, love, and peace to you. Watch a Christmas special, bake cookies, spend time with family. Pick one day this month (Christmas Day is mine.) To spend the day in your PJ’s, take long naps, and enjoy all the gifts God has given you.
I would love if you did this with me. If I get enough of a response then I might even start a Facebook group where we can share our feelings, triumphs and struggles. Either way I am going to post monthly about what I learn. This year I’m taking time to be me again. I hope you will too.