Using my Time

In which I touch on how I’ve been using the time freed up by my 101-motivated routines to regularly pamper myself without treats (#61).

I added a goal to remind me to pamper myself because I thought that it would be a good way to step back periodically. I did buy myself a few pampering treats, but I can only remember my ring and one big weekend away. A goal with good intentions that didn’t quite work for me. I needed to do more self-care on a smaller, regular basis.

Once I got the hang of my 101-motivated routines, I started thinking about how to make my self-care more routine. I’ve been struggling with prioritizing myself. Not only because I don’t have time, or I have so many other things that will blow up long before I do, but because when I had the chance, I couldn’t think of ways to really make a difference. I was doing a lot of shopping just to get out of the house (the opposite of so many of my goals on stuff and money). I was spending money on food/drink treats and simultaneously getting frustrated when my clothes didn’t fit. And I often came home feeling more lonely than rejuvenated. When I attempted to get myself the pampering treats my goal called for, I felt guilty more often than not.

Part of the problem was that I had no idea what to do for myself on a regular, routine basis. I was waiting for those big, once-in-a-while times, which only put more pressure on them to be fantastic. And each one that wasn’t built more pressure, and the cycle continued.

I started getting up earlier in the day, making the most of my best energy time. I also realized that I craved being in my house in the quiet. I drink a large, hot(!) cup of tea. I try to only work on things like my 101, reading, or a creative project. No paying bills or getting a jump on my day! That was hard to commit to, and I still slip up and do “just this one thing that won’t take too long.” From there, my early mornings grew to include meditation.

I’m clinging to possibilities of neuroplasticity. Isn’t that really what the 101 is about? I can change habits because I can change familiar lines of thought. I can cultivate calm and intention with every small moment I successful court one or the other. I can literally create and deepen mental paths to grace and joy.

I’ve been using apps and a few books. I started with Stop, Think, Breathe. While there were certainly aspects that I liked, I didn’t think it was focused internally enough for me right now. I’m not interested on meditating on compassion, I’m looking to slow my mind down so that I can look at my day clearly. Which lead me, predictably, to Headspace. I’ve been using it since August, and feel like it is a better fit for me right now. I’ve also been using One Moment Meditation throughout the day when I need to reset. I’m hoping that the combination of these will have a big effect with practice.

I’ve been working (less successfully) on an evening routine. I need to separate myself from the business of the day. I’ve been trying to end each day with some reading, but I found that I really didn’t want to read my real book. Lately, I’ve been reading a lot of nonfiction, which gets me thinking, which doesn’t work for me for bedtime. So I’ve decided to read a little bit of a juvenile or YA book instead. It’s perfect. Short sections, not as much to think about, easy to blow through and get on to something else.

I’ve been trying to make the most of the time freed up by my routines and keep some of it for myself, but I still fight the pull of all the work around the house that seems to be staring me down as I settle in to do something for myself. But it’s getting easier with each time I practice. I just need to keep doing the thing, Amy-Poeller-style. (“You do it because the doing of it is the thing. The doing is the thing. The talking and worrying and thinking is not the thing.” ― Amy Poehler, Yes Please)