I’m doing an OK job of being slow and intentional in many areas of my life, but I’ve also completely dropped the ball in many other areas. Such is life, I guess. Work has been sporadically high stress for several months and the summer heat has been exhausting, so I’ve been picking and choosing the things I do to take care of myself.
Over the past few months, I stopped doing daily yoga, I stopped using my sort-of bullet journal, I did less art, I’ve struggled with getting enough sleep, I shopped online more, I browsed booktube and book blogs instead of reading books, I ate more junk, I stopped going to the farmer’s market, and I stopped walking to and from work.
Some of the good things have come back: a new Sunday market in my neighbourhood has made it easier to do weekly market trips; a watercolour challenge has meant that I’ve been doing art most days, sometimes for hours; and, a few really great or short books have helped me get back into reading (also, I’ve been focusing on just 1 or 2 books at a time, instead of my usual 4 or so).
Despite these few improvements, I have to admit that things have gone a bit south during the last couple of months. A few weeks ago, I would have told you that I felt that I was doing a really good job of my slow year experiment, but when I started reflecting on how the year’s been, I realized that I’ve been slipping backwards.
But, that’s OK. Sometimes we can’t control or avoid stressors in our life and I know that I always struggle more with dealing with stress in the summer (I don’t like the heat, I don’t have A/C, I get a lot of traffic noise because I have to leave my windows open, etc. – so, I’m grumpy and tired all the time).
After I realized how poorly things have been going, I was a bit tempted to just throw my hands up in despair. But, I promised myself that I’d take things slowly this year, so I took a more thoughtful approach and looked for things that I could control and things that could be adjusted to make life a bit easier. For example, I’ve made a mental list of chores that can be done with less care than usual. A great example of this is cleaning my floors – right now, I’m erring on the side of “good enough” instead of my usual habit of moving every piece of furniture and getting every corner.
I’ve also been reviewing my social media habits and follows, making big changes where I can. For example, I weeded Instagram and YouTube, cutting the number of channels/people I had been following by at least half. I usually do this sort of review every new year, but I guess I just needed to cut back some more this year.
Oddly, the one thing that I’ve been consistent about and that I’ve been making steady progress in is my goal to be more eco-friendly. I’ve made some big changes that have not only helped me to be more eco-friendly, but also made me pretty happy (my new all-purpose cleaning spray smells amazing because I make it myself and add whatever essential oils will make me happy – currently, it’s citrus). I’m also going to be participating in Plastic Free July and trying at least one big change for me that I’m not yet sure I’m OK with (more on that in July). That might add a bit of stress to July, but I’m excited that I’m willing to try (go me!).
Over the next couple of weeks, I hope to add more of my good habits back into my life, but mostly I’m going to be focusing on finding the balance I need right now and accepting that life sometimes gets in the way of our plans to “better” ourselves. Also, I’m going to do an apartment review, because I think that a “spring clean” would be a good idea (it’s something that I find relaxing, because I’m one of those odd people who loves a decent spring clean at all times of the year).
And, I think that it’s important to recognize and celebrate what is probably the biggest win of the year, so far – I may be struggling with my goals, but I’ve clearly been making some mental shifts because I stopped to reflect before giving up. Taking this more thoughtful approach is huge for me. If it’s the only gain for the year and the only consistent change from this year, I’ll consider this whole experiment a giant success.