This article was written by Grace from graceandlivewell.com.
Where does all the time go?
As women we wear many different hats: partner, mother, daughter, co-worker, friend, carer, coach, teacher, motivator, nurse, homemaker, driver. Our days can become never ending ‘to-do lists’ and trying to meet everyone needs.
By the time we finally sit down at the end of a long day, we’re too exhausted to be creative or make a decision beyond ‘shall I have a chocolate chip cookie or a jaffa cake?’
Then we feel guilty as we’ve promised ourselves we will eat no chocolate so that we fit back into our summer wardrobe! Sound familiar?
Or maybe the list is over-whelming and you don’t know where to begin. Quite frankly for a couple of years I had a daily fight with ironing.
I know it is ridiculous – and I never won, because no matter how much I wanted to beat that ironing mountain, on the very rare occasion I got to the bottom of it, the very next day it started again.
For the record. THIS IS NO WAY TO LIVE!!
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It sounds trivial who could be bothered by ironing? Yet I would see this pile every day and it was a reminder that I hadn’t achieved all that I had set out to do the day before. That no matter what was on my list for that day, I probably wouldn’t succeed.
This inner struggle wasn’t really about the ironing, it simply acted as a symbol for me, that I wasn’t good enough, that I couldn’t cope. This mindset is incredibly negative and damaging.
After a few years of soul searching and exhaustion, I realised I needed to change my thinking and adopt practical solutions.
I got help, my husband’s and son’s shirts are professionally ironed.
It’s relatively inexpensive and saves me a couple of hours per week! The professionals do a far superior job and I do not resent the time I’ve given up. GAME CHANGER.
I taught my older children how to iron.
I iron a lot less, I simply don’t iron half of what I used to. I fold and give the pile of laundry to whoever it belongs to put away. If I have sorted the washing, put it in the machine, hung it out and folded it, (rarely ironed) someone else can at least put it away.
The ironing pile, it is out of sight, it taunts me no more.
I allocate maybe an hour a week now to ironing (maximum), rather than an hour a day. I have saved SIX hours right there.
Once I was in the correct headspace I could see the potential of changing my daily lifestyle and replacing it with a daily routine that included ME TIME!
This is what we all need to do, understand and find way to manage our time. Adopt practical solutions and understand you may be spending more money but you are buying more time!
Once we have the time, think carefully how you spend it.
I found the time! My youngest was a baby then and come naptime the temptation for me, was to collapse and do nothing. I would make a cup of tea and switch on the TV for an hour.
After finally coming to terms with the ironing mountain, I rewarded myself with TV!! Any TV, probably rather dreadful TV, but if I am being honest I did look forward to it. Sometimes, I’m embarrassed to say, it was definitely the highlight of my day.
The thing is when we get to this point we can be pretty close to running on empty and convincing ourselves that providing we are meeting everyone’s else expectations, our own passions, interests and dreams can become forgotten. Now I had found the time I needed to use it to best serve me.
This is where I was about six years ago. I had been a full-time mum for twenty years, (with a small gardening business) and after someone asked me how I spent my free time, I genuinely struggled to come up with anything.
Even the things that I loved to do: cooking and gardening, they had become part of my day, things I had to do. Rather than things I enjoyed and relaxed doing.
It was a starting point for me to examine my life more and work out what I wanted to do, how was I going to carve back some ME TIME.
I decided ME TIME wasn’t meeting up with my friends, that to me is essential and separate from what I’m talking about here. Socialising with our friends be it a coffee, a drink, a walk or a weekend away are important, vital!
ME TIME is about that nag at the back of your mind, when you’re lying awake at night, thinking there must be more to life. It is remembering the dreams we had and finding ways to explore these yearnings.
I’ve yet to meet a mum who can understand where all the time has disappeared to since she had a baby. It simply doesn’t come back. We need to reassess how we spend our days and prioritise.
I cannot magic you more than 24hours a day, but I want you to really understand where those 24 hours go.
Also think about how you would spend free-time if you had it. (It can be tempting to scroll endelessly through our phones, or put the television on, but these won’t nourish you).
I promise you if you start making time for yourself you’ll feel better and this will have a knock on effect on those around you.
Often, others can see women at home with their children, many juggling jobs as well, and think they can’t or shouldn’t want anything else. ‘They have enough to do.’ I would argue our society quite likes us to feel like this, it stops us getting ideas!
When our lives are full it is when we most need to find our own time. We should never be running to empty, not even close. A bath, maybe a good way to finish an exhausting day, but you need more in life than a good soak to look forward to. (Also use the lock on the door, or you’ll be pestered constantly).
I believe we must grow and move forward. Nurturing ourselves, benefits all around us. Communicating how we feel to those that love us is so important. It can easily become a competition of whose had the most uninterrupted sleep or who went out last.
By making our partners aware how much we need time for ourselves it can be the most important step we make in finding time for ourselves and ultimately become happier.
If you’re a single mum or dad is rarely at home, reach out to extended family and/or also your friends. Consider looking after each other’s children once or twice a week. Make it a fixed part of your routine.
Once our children grow up, and time may at last seem more plentiful, it is our confidence that can stop us from trying out new things. It may be a long time since we have learnt a skill or taken up a creative course.
Please try something new, you may not enjoy it at first, especially if you’re out of your comfort zone. Remember this is normal but remember also that you owe yourself to give it a chance.
Learning new skills can be intimidating especially if we’re in a group environment. Yet it is vital that we listen to ourselves and if you have always wanted to paint, sign up for a class. I think you’ll love it, but seriously, what is the worse thing that could happen?
You create a painting that you’re unhappy with, (I’m positive your teacher will find elements that they like and will be encouraging) you may have to go back next week and start again, maybe you even get paint on your jumper.
YOU can cope with this!
Worse possible outcome is you not going to that paint class and never finding out that you love painting, just like you knew you would.
Another possible outcome, five years from now you sell your first painting, in a local exhibition, it gets posted online and someone calls who loves your painting and asks could you do something similar for them.
This is how we make life interesting. Think of the skills you have learnt on the way, the like-minded people you may meet and where this one six week class may lead.
It is exciting, isn’t it?
Right now I’m offering a free two week course, for you to do at home, where you document how you spend your day and how it makes you feel.
By the end of the two weeks, I hope you understand how you can carve out time for yourself each day and also have a small challenge in place.
Let me know how you get on and when I hear back from five amazing women who have signed up to a new challenge in their lives, I’ll sign up for that painting course I just spoke about – I’m about to finish a course on nutrition, so there will be room for something new!!
My email is [email protected] Simply leave your name and email and I’ll ping over the course. It is as simple as that.
After finishing the blog today, I had a quick look at my Instagram account @grace_and_live_well and this was the first post of the day!
‘If you use your time well, you have more time for making your difference in life. That’s why we’re all here’.Brendon Buchard
How perfect is that?!
This article was written by Grace from graceandlivewell.com. To read more from Grace, please follow her blog link and send her your support.