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But, the truth is that this week is more about finding healthy ways of treating ourselves. Of finding that rest and relaxation in a healthy, self-kind (totally made that word up) way. In my mind, it's also about a couple of the issues I addressed during my "self assessment": life balance and making time for "us" (having fun together as a couple, having fun together as a three-peas-in-a-pod family, etc).
I thought it'd be helpful to make a list of the things that I think *would be achievable* to help bring some rest/relaxation/fun into my world (solo), our world (couple), and our world (family).
- Reading. For me, this involves turning off the TV at the end of the day and MAKING myself read. Sounds weird, being a librarian and all, but the fact is still that I'm beyond exhausted (even if I go to bed at 9) and if the TV's on, I simply won't relax or be able to focus on what I'm reading. I literally have a STACK of books and magazines next to my bed that I've started but haven't been able to chip away at.
First things first, though. I need to look them over and see which ones I'm actually in the mood for. It feels daunting to see a stack 20 books high waiting to be read, like anxious puppies all vying for your attention. Guilt, guilt, guilt. So, the ones I'm waiting on will go in another stack, far far away from my guilt-ridden eyes. The ones I WANT (3, max) will sit...and will be read. I may not turn off the TV every single night, but every other night, it will be done. Oh, yes.
- That whole meditation thing. I talked about this during my spirituality self care conversation, but think that it overlaps into the rest and relaxation side of things, too. Finding one's center can soooooo help in handling the other side of the seesaw, can't it?
- Research. Wait, is that fun? When it's my guilty pleasure of trolling ancestry.com to discover enthralling facts about my ancestors and family tree, yes. The only issue here is that the only time I tend to find to dig around is at the end of the day, pre-bedtime (and often overlapping well into bedtime...last weekend I was up until 2am one night). So, I've gotta figure out the balance between reading, ensuring that I actually pay attention to my husband after the baby goes down, and sleep in order to allow myself time to do this stuff.
For US (couple):
- Engage more. We are SO good at living life next to each other. You know the way: living in the "now" (not in that good way), making sandwiches next to each other, discussing issues ahead for that given day, scooping cat poop and changing diapers and chasing a naked toddler around...but not really TALKING to each other, or checking in about, "Hey, how you doin'?" or, well, lots of things.
I talk to my kids about "being engaged" and "actively listening and participating", but I've gotta check in with him to see how he sees us doing this. I swear we email each other more during the day about personal issues we're having than we discuss them in "real life." Not that that's a bad thing....
- Date. We haven't done this a lot since Hadman came around, but truth be told, we didn't do it much beforehand, either. Maybe back in our "courting" days (man, I sound like a Duggar; a Duggar, I ain't...love them, though), we did this, but the time, energy, and money don't seem there for this.
The time, I understand, but we haven't managed our time great lately. Energy...well, yeah, ya got me there. Our "dating places" tend to be 30 minutes in each direction, so it isn't an easy thing just to go out to dinner or hit up a movie. If I'm totally honest, though, these are all silly excuses. A date doesn't HAVE to be going some place special -- or even some place, at all. Dang it, we've got a Redbox about 4 blocks from our house, Dave makes the best air-popped organic popcorn EVER, and we can totally swing some half-caff to keep our eyes open after the baby hits the hay. (I'm talkin' a Friday or Saturday night.) On the other side, I'm dying to get to a REAL movie sometime, and I know he's talked a lot about hitting up Beardslee or some other locavore haunt, so the time's upon us.
For US (family):
- Plan. Sometimes the planning is as much excitement and fun as the actual doing. The anticipation and preparation for a vacation (even just an overnight trip of some sort) is enough to give you energy to see through the really sucky or depressing times. Plus, planning a totally family-oriented trip means that you'll be better prepared for traveling with a toddler and foreseeing his needs (such as planning plenty of stops to run around a grassy area -- one of his favorite things) makes the actual trip run way smoother. Win-win!
- Enjoy the now (in the good way). I mentioned "living in the now" before, but now I mean it in that "enjoy the good moments, for they'll be gone before you know it; enjoy the bad moments, for they're not so bad in the long run" sort of way. It'd be easy to get downtrodden with how many meltdowns Hadman has. It'd be easy to get downtrodden by how many times I find myself not yet showered (for time sake, I shower at night), with zero dinner plans, a fussy baby who also needs a bath, and a looming bedtime. Craziness. But, it's not the end of the world.
Above all, the best way to get some rest and relaxation is to cut yourself...and your loved ones...some slack. Isn't it strange that we're harsher on ourselves than we'd ever be on an enemy?