This post is part of an on-going series, #LifeOnPurpose, where I’ve challenged myself to do something each day for the next 40 days- no matter how small – to slow down, notice my surroundings, and be intentional. It is part of my effort to live less on accident and more on purpose. You can read other posts in this series here:
Day 7 It is summer time, and life for my family has continued at the same break-neck speed that we maintained during the school year, much to my chagrin. When life gets especially busy, especially if it is busy with things that are time consuming but not necessarily intellectually enjoyable or challenging, I start to zone ouuuuuut. I end up putting little to no thought into my actions as I go into auto pilot and just coast through my days. This, is exactly why I need this #LifeOnPurpose challenge! Because, even in the midst of busyness that isn’t especially meaningful, I know that I can still be purposeful. On day 7 of my challenge, I wanted to focus on being purposeful about how I relax and center myself, both physically and mentally. When I’m not challenged mentally, I tend to make the problem even worse by choosing mind-numbing actives to “unwind.” But on day 7, I decided to stay away from tv, Hulu, and the great time waster of all – Pinterest.
Instead, I challenged myself with a new yoga sequence that left me feeling rejuvenated and relaxed, and then topped off the experience with a little couch time and a good book. Truthfully, this type of relaxing is much more…well, relaxing, then when I just veg out in front of the tv. But like I mentioned in my “Body and Soul” post, it takes more effort to do the things that are the best for us….which is probably why we don’t do them as often as we should!
Again, I was reminded how much more I enjoy life in general when I am intentional about unwinding by doing the things that I love. It even inspired another #LifeOnPurpose challenge: a technology detox! More on that in my Day 11 post. Day 8 Day 8 I focused on being open to interruptions. We had plans to entertain again that evening which meant I had a to-do list that included extra cooking and cleaning on top of the normal tasks that are vital to keeping my children alive and happy. Oh, and did I mention I decided to tackle a huge fear of mine and attempt….to bake bread??? Yeah. I did that too. So I guess you could say Day 8’s challenges were to be open to interruptions and try new things that scare me.
For the first challenge -being open to interruptions – I simply resolved in my mind to not be thrown off, irritated, or otherwise disturbed by any interruptions that drew my attention from my current task at hand and on to something else.
One of the biggest parts of this challenge was to remain attentive and present with my two boys. It is very easy for me to get tunnel vision as I attack my to-do list and then get frustrated when I have to stop what I’m doing to clean up messes, refill sippy cups, or pull my toddler off the top of furniture. (Don’t judge. I know I’m not the only person who has these feelings…) Normally, I think I have a good balance of requiring my son to entertain himself and interacting with him and taking care of his needs. But because today was a special challenge, I decided that I’d stop whatever I was doing whenever the boys wanted my attention, no matter how seemingly unnecessary their request.
So… …I stopped sweeping when Theo said, “come play with me!” and we built a fort out of pillows. …I took extra time to hold Oliver and rock him before his nap because he seemed to be a little fussy. …I stopped washing dishes to not only give Theo a snack, but to also sit down with him at the table and listen to him tell me a story about something silly. All in all, I noticed two things about my day. One, I found myself being far less stressed when I was mentally open to interruptions. And two, at the end of the day, I wasn’t any farther behind on my to-do list. In reality, these “interruptions” cost only a fraction of time.
It isn’t like I had to choose between being present, and accomplishing things. This challenge was a good reminder that I do have time to both take care of my responsibilities, and simply enjoy my blessings. Now, for part two of my Day 8 challenge. Part of being intentional, for me, is embracing the things that I love, the things that make me unique, and going with my own impulses instead of other people’s standards.
So, in addition to being open to interruptions, I also focused on confidently attempting things that interested me, but either scared me or were simply unknown to me. Again, these were mostly simple things that I’d normally over-think and end up doing something expected or comfortable. But today, I:
…baked bread! It wasn’t perfect, but it is something I’ve always wanted to do but have always been intimated by. I found a good recipe and now that I’ve attempted it once, I feel excited and confident to try it again!
…mixed prints! I know that a summer 2014 trend is to mix prints, but I’ve always been too much of a scaredy cat to try and rock something so trendy. But I found two prints that were totally different yet were fun paired together, and just went for it! …practiced my yoga head stand. I don’t know why they intimidate me. They just do. But I am bound and determined to get it this summer! Day 8 was a fun challenge, because it was all mental. I didn’t have to plan anything special, I just had to remember to chill out, be brave and have fun!