How to Take Back Control of Your Life
I was just sitting here thinking about how, just a few weeks ago, everything seemed easier, yet I was doing more. Not more work, just more in general. It was like my schedule magically created these pockets of time and I was relaxed despite the usual work load.
I had veered off my usual course of “mommy maintenance,” thinking I’d be okay to coast for a bit. Even if things are running smoothly, who doesn’t want to take it a little easier from time to time, take a few things off the daily to-do list?
Yeah, that didn’t go over too well. Here are some of the things I personally need to remember to do almost daily:
Meditate: I finished my meditation series. My 40 days were up and I was feeling very centered, full of love, and just very accepting in general (which is probably a big key when it comes to whether you feel overwhelmed or not). Clearing your mind and just listening to your breath can connect you with your intuition, making decisions and interactions with other people much easier.
Exercise: Even 15 minutes a day is enough. I was doing HIIT workouts from YouTube just to get something in every day. Then I stopped. Completely. Using even 15 minutes of the day to get in some exercise makes your mind feel much sharper, so despite less time chained to a desk, it’s possible to get more done. If your child likes to run, skate, or ride a bike, go out daily for some fresh air, quality time, and movement.
Plan and prepare meals: If I don’t plan out my meals for the week and do the prep work, I’m going to either snack all day or hit up a drive-thru. Because “snacking” = “shoveling dark chocolate and coffee into my face and pretending it’s healthy” most afternoons, I’m not doing myself any favors. My energy level may spike for an hour or so, but then I’m way more irritable than I should be and I crash before my daughter’s in bed and I’m done with my work.
This seems to be one of the most important tips for leading a healthy lifestyle and/or losing weight, from what I’ve read. Prepare salads, freeze meals ahead of time, learn to love the Crock-Pot, or prep vegetables to throw in with some egg whites in the mornings.
These healthier homemade meals give you more energy for the exercise and spending time with your family, and they won’t contribute to brain fog the way junk food would, so you’ll find work less taxing, too.
Say no: No one’s to-do list is always just a list of mandatory things they can do without overextending themselves. Say no to a birthday party, don’t take on the extra work project if it’s not absolutely necessary, don’t turn on the television when your child requests it, skip girls’ night if you’d really rather spend your time alone.
Instead, take those little pockets of time and just stay home. Spend time together with no electronics. Talk, do crafts, go for a nature walk—do something for your soul and to connect with your family. Don’t be afraid to say no.
Say yes: If you have no problem saying no, you may say it too much (especially to your kid). No, no fingerpainting right now because it’s messy. No, you can’t have dessert before dinner. No, we can’t go to the park right now. I’m guilty of this one. Sometimes I get into a routine of saying no that I forget the word “yes” even exists. Say yes more. Do silly things. Let loose.
Purging rather than accumulating: Clean out your closet, throw out the old food no one’s ever going to eat, even if it’s canned and will never expire. Simplify your life and de-clutter your space. Sometimes I’ll accumulate stacks of books on my desk and they’re distracting. Once I clear them off, I work much more efficiently.
Purge those negative relationships from your life, too. If you have a friend, cousin, acquaintance, sibling, etc, who drains you and generally tosses around contagious negativity that you’ll never be able to counteract by trying to help them, cut off contact as much as possible (see the “Say no” section).
Don’t give in to temptation to return to old habits, even for a few days (but a day or two at a time could be okay). No one’s perfect all the time, and even if you could be, where’s the fun in that?
Throw a planned meal out the window and go satisfy a craving. Bust your butt to help a friend who’s always been there for you even though your schedule’s begging for you to say no. Skip the meditation or exercise for a day or two.
Once you’ve hit your stride though and feel like everything’s in balance, don’t stray off-course for too long or you may find yourself piecing everything back together from scratch all over again. I feel like stopping one thing leads to stopping the others and then I’m back at square one.
What are your tips for taking back control?
Photo credit: Dru Bloomfield – At Home in Scottsdale