Our American lives are filled with busy-ness. Consider a typical day.
Five or six o’clock in the morning, we wake up. Time for breakfast and preparation for the day. If you have kids, you are trying to get them out of bed and help them get ready for school. At the same time, you are trying to decide what to wear, throw on an outfit, put on your makeup, and prepare your morning coffee. You drive them to school, drop them off, and head off for a day at work. Lunch time comes. One of your peers wants you to go out to lunch with her. You go to lunch, come back. Five o’clock, finally, and your work day is over. Time to head back to school to pick up the kids. You get the kids, and head to basketball practice. After basketball practice, you stop by to drop off your youngest at her music lesson. Because you are so tired, you decide to stop and pick up McDonalds for dinner. Not the same as a home-cooked dinner, but the kids won’t complain, at least. By now it is 7 o’clock. Hubby is home from work, wanting some attention. Together, you eat burgers and fries, checking your email and Facebook on your phone. Time to help the kids with their homework, change the baby’s diaper, and start getting the younger kids ready for bed. Oh, and you remind Hubby to wash the car and mow the lawn. Both of you are tired and have some words. You check your schedule. Monday is dance practice, Tuesday and Thursday basketball practice, Friday night is an out-of-town game, and Saturday is an early morning track meet–oh, and the neighbor girl’s birthday party in the afternoon that you need to go to and pick up a gift for. Sunday is church, if you are a church-goer. Time to get the kids in bed. Now, for your evening routine. You look around at the messy house, but you are too tired to think about cleaning. You throw some clothes into the laundry because you are getting your evaluation tomorrow at work and you need to look your best. You remove your makeup so you can take a shower. After your shower, you sink back into your bed to rest. Just to start the previous day all over again at five o’clock the next morning.
Does any part of this day sound familiar? Just reading about it makes me so tired. What a day! No wonder we are so stressed out.
We live in a hectic America. There is very little chance of taking care of ourselves. We are always on the go. InterExchange explains to foreign exchange students that this is one of the top 10 Things to Know About U.S. Culture. We are constantly driving somewhere. Constantly going. Sometimes we do it because we are so used to it, other times we are made to feel guilty for not doing so, other times it is simply what we are expected to do. We are tired and yet we go anyways, cramming yet another thing into our day.
Do you need to do everything? Do we really need all of these things in our lives? Decide what is most important and say no to the rest. Remove it from your schedule. There is nothing wrong with that, and no one should make you feel guilty for doing so. Maybe you should take the gift over to your neighbor, wish her daughter a very happy birthday, and mention that you are so sorry you cannot make it to the party, but you have family plans. Maybe you should skip the double date and movie with the other couple, and spend time together in the evening with your hubby instead, talking and learning about each other. Maybe instead of going to lunch with your peer, you should excuse yourself and have a quiet lunch alone, where you can refresh yourself and be prepared for the challenges of the afternoon. Maybe you should choose not to immediately answer your phone when it goes off, and instead take some time for yourself.
Do you schedule your life around your children, or around your family goals? Florence Mars and Pauline Lévêque discuss this issue in their book “Say Bonjour to the Lady, Parenting from Paris to New York.” One of the things they mention is that, “In Paris, children follow the adults’ schedules on the weekend. In New York, on the other hand, schedules are jam-packed and centered around kids’ activities.” Not allowing your kids to participate in everything does not make you a bad parent. As a public educator, I have observed that overloading students only stresses them out. It does not help their learning and it does not make them smarter or more talented than any other child. They usually end up getting sick. Do you need to set aside one of your kids’ activities in lieu of spending more time as a family? What are your family goals and do your children’s activities meet those goals? If you don’t have kids, what are your goals? Is your life being dictated by your friends’ schedules, or by you?
Do you schedule a morning and evening routine? Rachel over at Simply Thriving has written two great articles about Morning and Evening Routines. Christy B over at When Women Inspire blogs about Making Marvelous Mornings A Daily Occurrence. While not all of her commenters say they are morning people, in general most of them seem to agree that either a morning or evening routine is refreshing. Something as simple as creating a safe morning or evening pattern for yourself can help create some stability and order you can look forward to in the middle of a hectic life.
Do you allow yourself to indulge? Take a long bath in the evening, and soak the worries away. Wake up 15 minutes earlier to sip a cup of hot coffee and read a book while you’re doing so. Put a chicken in the crockpot in the morning and when you get home, enjoy the luxury of having a home cooked meal! Enjoy a piece of rich, decadent chocolate cake like this “Decadent, Dangerous Chocolate Cake” from the blog The Dutch Baker, and stop comparing yourself to the miserable, starving model on TV. Before you go to bed, choose your outfit for the next morning. These things are good in balance. Relish your day instead of rushing through it.
After you read all of this, do you think “yes, that sounds nice, but it is not for me“? True, this lifestyle may not be for you. You may enjoy dashing through the day. You may love being constantly on the go. However, I urge you to try it for one week. Take a break. Experiment with an evening routine for one night and see if it makes a difference in your next morning. I think you will find that when you come back, you will be refreshed. You will experience the magic of having been re-energized and fortified.
Hub City Girl
FTC: This is not a sponsored post. All opinions are my own. This post may contain affiliate links.