I’ve been saying no more often lately. No to being involved in extra activities. No to listening to another podcast when I’m woefully behind on the ones I do listen to. No to adding another thing to our homeschool just because it sounds cool.
One of the reasons for doing this? I’m trying to create a little bit more wiggle room, a little bit more margin, in my life.
I want that extra time to just hang out with my family. To watch my kids play, to read more, to play the piano. To do the things I used to be too busy for.
But you know what’s funny? I’m so used to being busy and doing things all the time that I have a really hard time NOT being productive. I sit on the couch and I get antsy, feeling like I should be getting something done. I take time for myself but I have a to do list in the back of my mind.
I have to retrain myself how to relax.
How silly is that?
It might be silly, but it’s worth the effort. Teaching myself to slow down and to include those moments in my day that I genuinely enjoy, that are good for filling my bucket, is making me a happier person overall.
And you know what? The things that need to get done still get done.
Adding little moments of relaxing and doing nothing into my day is a form of self care. (If you want to read more about self care vs. self comfort, this post and this post do a good job of explaining it). Don’t get me wrong – I still do plenty of self comfort, usually in the form of lattes and ice cream and mindless Facebook scrolling. But self care, that’s much more important. And as an introvert surrounded by my people all day, those little moments to myself keep me sane.
But what does that look like in real life?
Some days, it means that even though I have things to do, I listen when Jesse tells me to go to the coffee shop and read a book.
Some days it looks like playing through a few songs in a piano book and leaving the laundry unfolded in the basket until tomorrow, and just pulling clean clothes right out to wear.
Some days it means listening to a podcast and knitting during the kids’ quiet time, instead of writing a blog post or scheduling social media posts.
Some days it means cooking something extravagant, which takes a couple hours and all the clean bowls. And then leaving the dishes for the next morning.
And some days, it means taking a day off of homeschooling to run errands right away in the morning so that I can have the afternoon to do what I want.
Obviously I don’t do this every day. If I ignored my responsibilities all the time, I’d be in trouble. But little moments each day? Bigger blocks of time a few times a week? That’s totally doable.
Today is Valentine’s Day, a day to celebrate all those people you love. While you’re doing that, why not take a few minutes to give yourself some love too?
What can you do today, just because you want to? Do that. And keep on doing it, frequently. I bet you’ll be a lot happier, and you’ll find that everything that needs to get done fits around those bits of time you carve out for yourself.