New Year, new changes? Instead of packing the New Year full of things that we want to do, what about taking a step back and making room for what’s really important? As I mentioned before I’m not a huge fan of new year’s resolutions, but I do like the idea of re-evaluating priorities and values. I think every family has different priorities that they set. For some, it’s experiences, living life to the full. For others, it’s about finding time together as a family and having that down time and relaxation, that popular concept of hygge. Education, sport, music, healthy eating, outdoor activites, family time… we’ll all prioritize those to different extents, depending on our values. One of the big things for me is actually having more time. I think that often in the desire to give our children as many opportunities as possible, we end up living frantic lives. Being busy seems to be what is valued, but I think we often underestimate the value of doing less. There are a few tools I’ve discovered along the way that have really helped with this, and helped me re-evaluate what I’m doing.
This is the fourth year I’ve been bullet journaling. While it sounds complicated when you first start reading about it, it’s basically just a notebook and pen and an easy way to keep your “To Do” list, ideas, calendar events, and important information in one place. One of the benefits of a bullet journal is that it makes you more intentional, you start to realize what activities you don’t follow through on (and therefore aren’t important to you). It also helps me with general organization, therefore reducing stress. I find if I don’t use it for a few weeks I forget things that need to be done, while my Bullet Journal keeps me on track and motivates me to get stuff done! If you’re interested, you can have a look at the original idea here: https://bulletjournal.com/pages/about
Another useful tool/mentality I discovered was Minimalism. I’m a complete clutter bug, always fighting STUFF. I’d read Marie Kondo and a few other books but the value of minimalism didn’t really click until I discovered Joshua Becker’s books (you can check out his website here: https://www.becomingminimalist.com/ ), and realised that minimalism isn’t about getting rid of all your stuff and sitting in an empty, sterile house, it’s about getting rid of the stuff (and activities) you don’t need or value, to make room for what’s really important. I find decluttering makes my life so much easier, making tiyding up, cleaning, getting the kids ready, much less stressful. It helps me focus on the important stuff. I’m still very much an aspirational minimalist, but I admin the Minimalist Mums NI group on Facebook, and it’s a great group for inspiration and sharing decluttering ideas, so feel free to join if you’re local.
The third tool I use is to frequently step back and say “Do what you don’t resent”. A few years ago when I did my Slingababy sling consultant course we were discussing what to charge for services and Lorette (who teaches the course) made that statement. It honestly blew my mind, and I now apply it to work, commitments, activites, even my relationships. Being resentful is a really negative, draining way to live, so when I start to feel annoyed because I feel I’m being taken advantage of, or I’m getting too busy doing something that I don’t enjoy, I try to step back and think “How can I make this better? Do I need to set some boundaries in place? Do I need to turn around and say “I’m really sorry, but I won’t be able to do X,Y,Z anymore.” Giving myself permission to say no without feeling guilty has been great for cutting back on the stuff that doesn’t mater.
To read all that you’d think I sit at home in a Zen-like state of calm. I don’t! But at the grand old age of 43, I’m slowly learning how to prioritize what’s really important in my family, life, and work, and give myself some time too.