intentions

Set intentions not resolutions.

If you can’t keep a few new year’s resolutions on 1 January, are you even trying? I legitimately let myself coast towards the end of 2019, promising myself that I’d “start in the new year.”

So here are the resolutions, or rather intentions, that I set for today:

  • Do the New Year’s Day Park Run
  • Don’t eat a ton at lunch
  • Drink 2.5 litres of water
  • Write something for Over The Influence

So, I’m 750ml away from my water target and very full of food. I’m writing (obviously) and did walk the 5km this morning. Three out of four can’t be that bad? Especially when I didn’t exactly try very hard to curb my eating. I call these intentions because I’d rather commit to doing what I need to do, day-by-day. Routine is key for me. Empty promises are not.

I recently came across an article by Brianna Wiest that spoke about self-care. Apparently we shouldn’t need to apply the brakes and escape from our lives every few months. Self-care should start with intentionally creating a life that we don’t need to escape from.

I’ve adored the following quote from Seth Godin for years but I’m long overdue in actually applying it to my life. “Instead of wondering when your next vacation is, maybe you should set up a life you don’t need to escape from.”

The sentiment is exactly the same as Wiest’s theory on self-care. There is no point in me just pasting Wiest’s article onto this blog. So what would this look like in my life?

Budget

Money is a huge stress point for me, especially with trying to launch a freelance career and adapting to being a full-time step-mom to my 10-year-old. It’s so important for me to know exactly how much money I need to cover my bills. I don’t think I’ve ever been at a point where I can comfortably spend money on luxuries before the debit orders have gone off.

A lot of this stress and uncertainty can be relieved by actually putting together a budget. It really doesn’t need to be fancy or complicated. I use an Excel sheet to keep an eye on my fixed expenses, and to keep track of the variables like petrol and food. I managed to clear a lot of debt by having a clear view of my basic financial obligations and a monthly tally of how my debt was being whittled away. Drop me a message and I’ll happily share my template!

Debt is also something that you need to sort out asap. In my experience it becomes a vicious cycle. Feeling less than because I owe money, is easily (and very temporarily) “fixed” by spending more money on things that I don’t need. This can be anything from wine to cute boots to a manicure. I’ve looked this square in the face and don’t have any debt anymore. I refuse to have a credit card or store account. I bought my car with cash. While laying down cash for a car may seem very out of reach, it took time and investment. Not to mention some real levelling of my expectations and ego.

Food Prep

Regularly grabbing food on the go is insane. Repeat after me: INSANE. I’m also extremely guilty of literally forgetting to eat until my step-son is home from school. By that time, I’m usually beyond grumpy and feel ill, because this also means that I haven’t taken my handful of medication. In my case this includes blood pressure medicine. Giving myself unnecessarily high blood pressure does me no favours.

Back to food on the go: the kind of food that you can just grab is rarely healthy or fulfilling. I try to reduce my wheat intake for the sake of my IBS and short of grabbing a pack of ham, the non-wheat options are limited.

When I was working an 8 to 5 job, I packed a little cooler with breakfast, lunch and a snack. That was my food for the day and I rarely strayed from my meal plan. Now that I’m at home, my meals are random and often rushed. I’m seriously considering packing my meals for home too. Bottom line, preparation and planning may seem like a mission in theory, but the benefits are better in the long term.

I’ve also just downloaded an app that reminds me to drink water during the day. It seems ridiculous that I need a reminder, but I’m sure you probably do to. Another good method is to use a water bottle. Depending on your weight you should be drinking about 2 litres of water a day.

Remember the basics

The old adage of “If you don’t have two minutes to meditate, you need twenty” is so clear in modern life. When I’m rushing around, and honestly putting everyone’s needs before mine – I forget to go to the toilet. I push aside things like yoga or a run. I tell myself that I don’t have the time for 30 minutes of activity, but then need 2 hours of series to clear my brain.

Take the extra 2 minutes to condition your hair or shave your legs in the shower. Seriously, before you’re spending hours and money having your body “put back together”. Stretch every hour so you don’t need to slink like a hunchback into the physio’s rooms.

Use a diary or calendar app so you’re not scrambling to remember every appointment. Check the traffic on a navigation app so you can pre-empt the traffic. Take the time to prep so that you can be punctual. All the rushing around is unnecessary and stressful and horrible.

Ask for help – I can hear moms of tiny babies rolling their eyes at the idea of a less hectic life – honestly my love, I don’t have any idea about raising a baby. I can only give advice on what I know. Ask for help. Hire a cleaner. Buy the non-eco-friendly disposable nappies if it will help your serenity.

I could write thousands of words on this topic, so look out for more advice from me as I navigate my own journey to a less hectic life in January. Advice is welcome too!

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