If you’re a regular reader of Slow Your Home you probably know my family and I spent December and much of January in Canada. We had our first (magical) white Christmas, we snowboarded, we ice skated, we spent whole days by the fire watching movies and reading books.
It was one of the most incredible holidays we’ve ever had. And it was also the longest time we’ve spent together without daily pressures of work, school, home and general life stuff. We had the opportunity to view life through a wider lens and have come home both refreshed and with a very real need to rethink and reset and our priorities, goals, rhythms and habits.
Because when you’re in the thick of life, it can be hard to get a 10,000-foot view. But when you do and life opens out beneath you, it can become abundantly clear that things need to change.
Since we’ve been home, I’ve been on a resetting binge. Life is going to look really different this year, with our eldest starting school and our four-year-old at preschool two days a week. So my approach to our days and weeks needed to be overhauled. But what’s more, it needed to change because it was no longer working for us.
Resetting our Rhythms
I’ve spent a lot of time rethinking how our days, our home and my work will feel this year and resetting the rhythms that help make it all happen in a (relatively) simple way.
This means I’ve deconstructed all the things that need to happen in our mornings, our days and our weeks, and I’ve put it back together in a way that makes sense to the way we want to live and the way we want life to feel.
I’ve written before about how you can create a rhythm for your days and weeks, but essentially it means looking at:
- what needs to happen
- what currently happens
- what doesn’t need to happen
- the time you have available for these things
Then plug it in to a rhythm (which is a little like a routine, but not really) that fits your life.
Resetting my Mornings
Early mornings are when I like to get the majority of my writing work done, and last year I fell in to bad habits. I would hit my snooze button one too many times or waste time online (Facebook, reading emails, news websites). This meant I got less done, which would leave me frustrated, and I would carry that feeling through the rest of my morning, constantly feeling overwhelmed and behind schedule.
This needed to change, so I spent a lot of time thinking about my priorities and decided to:
- stop using my phone as an alarm clock.
- start getting up at 4am again
- avoid the internet completely before 9am – this means no email, no messages, no social media, no posting to the blog at all during this time.
- finish my work at 6:30am and get the rest of the morning underway – regardless of whether I’d finished or not.
- have a list of no more than 3 things to do every morning
We’re only in the first full week back but I can already tell you that the no internet thing is working incredibly well.
Resetting our Level of Stuff (Again)
Another thing I love about travel? You recognise how little you really need.
After coming home I decluttered even more of our stuff (mostly toys, decor and clothes the kids no longer fit into) and was amazed to see how easy it was to let go, even though we didn’t have a huge amount to begin with.
With toys in particular, it was really interesting to see how the kids reacted to having only a few things to play with while we were away. They each had a little bag of figurines, a puzzle, a board game, a soft toy and some Lego and we also packed colouring books and pencils.
They never got bored. And while part of that was being on holiday and having us around more than normal, I think part of it was also that they weren’t overwhelmed by choice. There was plenty there to keep them occupied but not so much that they didn’t know where to begin.
When we got home, I held a second packing party for the kids toys and no-one has missed a thing.
If January had an unintentional theme of Resetting, then February has a very intentional one of Momentum, where my new goals and habits of:
- writing 500 words (min) every day
- going to the gym three days a week
- waking early (4:00am) every week day
- no internet before 9:00am
become an ingrained part of my rhythm and where the New Year just becomes the year. I’m really looking forward to seeing how it all comes together and whether I need to readjust again once we’ve settled back in to our everyday rhythm.
I hope you and yours have had a good introduction to 2015. I have a feeling it’s going to be an exciting year!