Embracing Self Care – Taking Some R&R

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It’s kind of funny that this week’s theme is rest and relaxation, considering LAST week was my spring break. We all know that doesn’t necessarily mean R&R, though, right? Especially whilst chasing around a little boy with more energy than half a high school football team and emptying, painting, and re-filling the dining room.

But, the truth is that this week is more about finding healthy ways of treating ourselves. Of finding that rest and relaxation in a healthy, self-kind (totally made that word up) way. In my mind, it’s also about a couple of the issues I addressed during my “self assessment“: life balance and making time for “us” (having fun together as a couple, having fun together as a three-peas-in-a-pod family, etc).

I thought it’d be helpful to make a list of the things that I think *would be achievable* to help bring some rest/relaxation/fun into my world (solo), our world (couple), and our world (family).

For ME:

Reading. For me, this involves turning off the TV at the end of the day and MAKING myself read. Sounds weird, being a librarian and all, but the fact is still that I’m beyond exhausted (even if I go to bed at 9) and if the TV’s on, I simply won’t relax or be able to focus on what I’m reading. I literally have a STACK of books and magazines next to my bed that I’ve started but haven’t been able to chip away at.

First things first, though. I need to look them over and see which ones I’m actually in the mood for. It feels daunting to see a stack 20 books high waiting to be read, like anxious puppies all vying for your attention. Guilt, guilt, guilt. So, the ones I’m waiting on will go in another stack, far far away from my guilt-ridden eyes. The ones I WANT (3, max) will sit…and will be read. I may not turn off the TV every single night, but every other night, it will be done. Oh, yes.

That whole meditation thing. I talked about this during my spirituality self care conversation, but think that it overlaps into the rest and relaxation side of things, too. Finding one’s center can soooooo help in handling the other side of the seesaw, can’t it?ย 

Research. Wait, is that fun? When it’s my guilty pleasure of trolling ancestry.com to discover enthralling facts about my ancestors and family tree, yes. The only issue here is that the only time I tend to find to dig around is at the end of the day, pre-bedtime (and often overlapping well into bedtime…last weekend I was up until 2am one night). So, I’ve gotta figure out the balance between reading, ensuring that I actually pay attention to my husband after the baby goes down, and sleep in order to allow myself time to do this stuff.

For US (couple):

Engage more. We are SO good at living life next to each other. You know the way: living in the “now” (not in that good way), making sandwiches next to each other, discussing issues ahead for that given day, scooping cat poop and changing diapers and chasing a naked toddler around…but not really TALKING to each other, or checking in about, “Hey, how you doin’?” or, well, lots of things.

I talk to my kids about “being engaged” and “actively listening and participating”, but I’ve gotta check in with him to see how he sees us doing this. I swear we email each other more during the day about personal issues we’re having than we discuss them in “real life.” Not that that’s a bad thing….

Date. We haven’t done this a lot since Hadman came around, but truth be told, we didn’t do it much beforehand, either. Maybe back in our “courting” days (man, I sound like a Duggar; a Duggar, I ain’t…love them, though), we did this, but the time, energy, and money don’t seem there for this.

The time, I understand, but we haven’t managed our time great lately. Energy…well, yeah, ya got me there. Our “dating places” tend to be 30 minutes in each direction, so it isn’t an easy thing just to go out to dinner or hit up a movie. If I’m totally honest, though, these are all silly excuses. A date doesn’t HAVE to be going some place special — or even some place, at all. Dang it, we’ve got a Redbox about 4 blocks from our house, Dave makes the best air-popped organic popcorn EVER, and we can totally swing some half-caff to keep our eyes open after the baby hits the hay. (I’m talkin’ a Friday or Saturday night.) On the other side, I’m dying to get to a REAL movie sometime, and I know he’s talked a lot about hitting up Beardslee or some other locavore haunt, so the time’s upon us.

For US (family):

Plan. Sometimes the planning is as much excitement and fun as the actual doing. The anticipation and preparation for a vacation (even just an overnight trip of some sort) is enough to give you energy to see through the really sucky or depressing times. Plus, planning a totally family-oriented trip means that you’ll be better prepared for traveling with a toddler and foreseeing his needs (such as planning plenty of stops to run around a grassy area — one of his favorite things) makes the actual trip run way smoother. Win-win!

Enjoy the now (in the good way). I mentioned “living in the now” before, but now I mean it in that “enjoy the good moments, for they’ll be gone before you know it; enjoy the bad moments, for they’re not so bad in the long run” sort of way. It’d be easy to get downtrodden with how many meltdowns Hadman has. It’d be easy to get downtrodden by how many times I find myself not yet showered (for time sake, I shower at night), with zero dinner plans, a fussy baby who also needs a bath, and a looming bedtime. Craziness. But, it’s not the end of the world.

Above all, the best way to get some rest and relaxation is to cut yourself…and your loved ones…some slack. Isn’t it strange that we’re harsher on ourselves than we’d ever be on an enemy?

Embracing Self Care – Peace in the Home

Welcome back to our third installment in the “taking care of yo’ self” series! (Not really; I just called it that.)

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This week’s “Embracing Self Care” theme involves peace in the home. Now, this can encompass many different topics — from finding peace through organization, surrounding yourself with decor that helps you find peace (or finding decor that helps you feel at one with yourself; finding your “style”), finding a schedule/routine that works for you, etc. See? It really can mean ANYTHING! Love that!

For me, this involves a couple of things. Obviously, I’m in the midst of some “low-stress” spring cleaning. (Taking it a day at a time, folks.) When I’m done with the “cleaning” part (ie the scrubbing, dusting, mopping, vacuuming stuff), I plan to attack on the organizational front. I’m weird that way. I see cleaning as more of a “must destroy dust bunnies!” and “wash windows” sort of thing; yes, things are neat and orderly afterwards, but more in a “picked up” way.

So, after things are spic and span, I’m going to address any organizational issues that we have. This will entail looking at areas where we’re falling short (like finding better uses for our closets and built-ins, and my bills…I pay them, then pretend they don’t exist ‘cuz, y’know, I don’t like them…so they just end up in random piles) and areas that just need our attention, like the basement and garage (y’know…the dirty places).

This is twofold for us. Yes, we want to have an organized, happy, serene environment…but we also hope to ready our house for a possible move. See? Two birds, one stone. ๐Ÿ˜‰ (Hate that phrase, but it’s relevant.) And, of course, I’ll share any tips I pick up on the way.

The second “peace in the home” factor I hope to work on (which goes hand-in-hand with readying our house for a sale) is our style. This is the week I’m FINALLY working on painting the red out of our lives dining room, with the help of my uber-motivated mom. (Spoiler: It’s already gone! Just got some trim to do before sharing.) The other rooms are relatively light and airy (our bedroom is a little moody with a green wall, which we may or may not keep) or at least neutral, and the burgundy sticks out like a sore, outdated, 1990s thumb.ย 

Aside from that, I’ve got some Pinspiration regarding other areas of the house. Our front room was a spot that helped sell us on the place originally, so I’m hoping to modernize it a bit with the help of some better window treatments (we still use the short sheers that came with the house…for shame). So, I’m on the hunt for some extra long white curtains to hang “high and wide” and a few more bamboo shades, for an effect kind of like this —

Embracing Self Care - Taking Some R&R - image 6af11-frontroomidea3 on http://megactsout.com
Embracing Self Care - Taking Some R&R - image f9066-frontroomidea on http://megactsout.com
I’m also excited that my stepdad has offered to help me complete the tub surround with a ghetto he-thinks-it’ll-work solution (I have my doubts), so that’ll finally be a done project. I’m not happy with the art I made for that space, so I’ve got my eye out for other DIY art solutions that’ll make me happy. Not to sound picky, but I’m not a huge fan of the word art stuff (“Brush your teeth. Wash your hands.” Uuuummm. No comment.); I guess I’m more into either a graphic or a vintage botanical print type thing.

Maybe something like this… (Different colors.)

Embracing Self Care - Taking Some R&R - image 8e287-bathroomart on http://megactsout.com
Not sure of original source ๐Ÿ™ Hate that!
If anyone knows, let me know, please!

Or this type of botanical…

Embracing Self Care - Taking Some R&R - image da707-botanical on http://megactsout.com
Original Source

I also recognize that a big part of moving will be weeding out things that we don’t wish to drag with us to our next residence. That can be a horribly daunting task, or it can be an uplifting “ahhh” getting rid of stuff we don’t NEED in our lives task. Probably 50/50, in all honesty. There’s a part of me that looks forward to taking all the wine bottles off the shelf and in storage, putting only the pots and pans that we need in our cupboards, and having less “visual clutter” around the place. I’m already asking myself how many mugs we actual need to have on-hand for guests and for ourselves, how many utensils should be in our drawers, and what food we truly need around cluttering up our cabinets. Maybe it’ll be therapeutic, who knows?

So, the only way that “schedule” really fits into this “finding peace in the home” concept is that we need to better schedule our “to dos” to actually, um, y’know…get them done! ๐Ÿ˜‰ The goal is to remember to keep the peacefulness of our lives while working on these projects and focusing on our future, and to make sure that the monkey doesn’t get his routine too knocked out of whack.

What about you? What “peace” do you hope to achieve in your own lives? How are you hoping to achieve it? Feel free to post a link to your blog (if you have one), or just share in the comments.


TThisWednesday, April 16: Peace in the Home

This can encompass home decor, fashion, organizing and decluttering, schedule and routine, etc. Whatever needs to happen in your life in order to restore peace and equilibrium will be represented during this week!

Wednesday, April 23: Taking Some R&R

This week weโ€™ll dive into taking time to pamper ourselves, time to fully relax, putting aside the to-do list, etc. We will recognize that we need to find healthy ways of treating ourselves so that we arenโ€™t tempted to bad habits that ultimately harm us (i.e. emotional eating of sugar, etc.)
– See more at: http://thehumbledhomemaker.com/2014/03/embracing-self-care-community-blogging-project.html#sthash.aWSSQQGz.dpuf

Embracing Self Care – Health & Spirituality

Last week, I did a self-analysis for the blog project hosted by The Humbled Homemaker called…


Is it weird that I feel a touch of guilt to turn the focus on myself vs. taking care of everyone else? Ack. That’s what this whole thing is about, though; recognizing that it’s imperative to take care of OURSELVES in order to properly care for our families and loved ones.

Anyhoo, back to the task at hand. One of the issues that I mentioned last week is that, thanks to the crazy scheduled, toddler-centric, over-tired aspects of our life, we seem to be out of touch with our spirituality.

*record scratch*

Okay. This would probably be a good time to state publicly: We’re part of that growing percentage of folks who don’t really identify with a religion. Read: We’re non-religious. Not atheist. Not nontheist, even. Just…don’t identify. I like to say that we’re both recovering Catholics, and I think Dave is a mix of atheist with a good dose of Buddhist. And I’m essentially “undecided” on the checklist.

It feels terribly taboo to even make such an announcement, but since this week is all about spirituality, it seemed a good time to mention it. See, I’m not sure the last time I read a blog from someone who wasn’t a known Christian. Not kidding. Most of the homestead-y blogs I follow are run by uber Christians. Even a lot of the shelter blogs I enjoy are run by super religious folks.

And I enjoy them, even when I think to myself, “Huh. I’m a tad uncomfortable that I’m not ‘part of the club.'” Read: I never write about religion because I don’t want to alienate anyone… So hopefully no one’s offended by our current religious decisions. It’s where we are, and I’d rather be honest than mute.

I’m actually quite well versed in the religions (I was very close to majoring in philosophy in college, and as I see it, religion is all about a person’s life philosophy) and have a plethora of priests/ministers on both sides of my family. I’ve been “converted” once [clearly didn’t stick…and my mom flipped, understandably so; I was, like, 10 years old]. I’ve had a love-hate relationship with traditional organized religion and experimented with Eastern religions in high school. (Thanks, Beatles and Peter Tork, for your influence.)

The most “in touch” I ever was with my spiritual side was definitely when I was in about 9th grade and had read A LOT about transcendental meditation. I’ve gotta tell ya…that $%&# is real. Meditation helped me to find myself during a normally confusing, crazy hormonal time. It helped me to recognize the “truth” of life. It helped me learn how to cope with stress and center myself in ANY situation. It helped me to connect with my surroundings and nature in deeper consciousness levels. Heck, I used to be so in-touch with my inner being that I still remember my first out-of-body meditation experience — in a very busy cafeteria during study hall the day of Mr. Hefner’s funeral. How’s that for specific? LOL.

So, let’s just say, I don’t judge folks for their religion if they don’t judge me. Can’t we all just get along? ๐Ÿ˜€


Needless to say, I’m not centered anymore. The life of a teenager is worlds away from that of a grown up mama. I can still analyze the stress level of a situation and calm myself mentally, but there’s zero meditation. Zero spiritual connection. Zero gravitational pull.

Dave has mentioned an interest in meditation before, but nothing has ever come of it. I’m going to bring it up to him and see if he’d be interested in a) learning how to do it (I’m rusty, but I’ve got a pretty good foundation) and b) actually putting it into our schedule rotation.

Even if he’s not interested, I’d like to be able to add PEACE into each day. Even a minimum of ten minutes spent with zero TV, zero phone, zero internet will hopefully help me start to center. A little at a time. ๐Ÿ™‚ And I think that I’ll be able to find some patience to deal with an almost-terrible-twos munchkin and an ability to focus better on Dave and his needs.


On a health note, we also need to analyze our sleep situation. We’ve been going to sleep earlier and earlier, to no avail. We still wake up relatively exhausted. Whuh??

According to this British article (love those!), there are a couple of things I’m doing wrong. Firstly, I hit snooze. Heck, I actually set two alarms on my phone — an initial one, then the “bonus!” one that makes me feel like I hit the ten minute jackpot. Silly girl. No more of that.

Secondly, the thing that makes the most sense AND helps us get in touch with our spirituality (hello, 2 birdsย + 1 stone) is GETTING OUTSIDE. It’s been one heck of a winter for, um, everyone everywhere, so we’ve definitely gotten in a “sit on our arses” rut. It’s time for us all (as a family) to get a-walkin’.

Remember when we were kids and the first nice day hit? We’d run outside and play with anything that wasn’t covered in cobwebs, or just walk around the block — LOVING that we just had to wear our brother’s hand-me-down light jacket (since we’d only needed it for, like, a week). Didn’t we sleep like babies that night? Of course.

Well, that’s the idea here. I wish we could do it daily, but with P/T two nights and dinner-making, I just don’t think it’s plausible. However, if I make a concerted effort to plan SIMPLE meals and get outside a few times each week, it might help recharge us enough to try it even more. Baby steps. ๐Ÿ™‚

How are you doing with your spiritual and health journey? Are you in need of any fine tuning in any areas? Do you ever feel uncomfortable when your religious views don’t align with someone else who wears it on their sleeve? Or is that just me? ๐Ÿ˜‰

Embracing Self Care – Know Thyself

Over the next few Wednesdays in April, I’ll be taking part in a little blogging exercise (hosted by the Humbled Homemaker, woohoo!) by chatting about the different facets of self-care. You know the ones. Things like health and spirituality, finding peace in the home (this encompasses several concepts), and healthy ways to find R and R. Those things we tend to ignore on a day-to-day basis. Remember those?

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I absolutely love this theme. Whether you’re a student who is too busy (or too stubborn…hey, I’ve been there) to properly take care of yourself, or a parent who is too swamped and exhausted to think past the rest of the family, or just an individual who has gotten into a rut, anyone can relate to forgetting to take care of yourself.

There are so many more relevant, important things to worry about, right?


This is an underlying, unspoken issue that I see bubble up from time to time in my family. The Dorky Daddy and I are able to compartmentalize — parenthood/family, work, maybe a hobby from time to time (acting or writing or working on our websites). But, those are the only constantly-present “compartments” of our lives.

What else falls to the wayside? Um. Lots. Here are some of my personal concerns:

Cleaning and true organization. Just ask the cake of dust on my bedroom TV. (What? We’re the only ones watching it, and rarely at that. Why clean it often? Ahem. Yeah, I’m wrong.)

Health. (She says as she sits sneezing and nursing a headache while writing this.) But, seriously, this also relates to the fact that a lot of days we find ourselves just so exhausted or fatigued.

Inner peace. We’re not what anyone might call “religious,” but I know we’d both like to get in touch with our spiritual sides better.

Balance. Okay, for realsies, I’ve heard a lot of folks say that this simply isn’t possible. Well, I’m pretty sure that’s not 100% true. Life is totally a seesaw, and that’s not a bad thing. But it’s obvious when things are tipping far too much in one direction. For example, when Dave was working at his previous job, it didn’t just take the time he was there, but additional work from home, as well as the stressful distraction that it caused for him. His seesaw is now officially WAY more balanced, and it’s a better thing for ALL of us. Side note: We’re still grateful for this DAILY.

“Us.” This is more of a “we need to make a concerted effort to spend time together and HAVE FUN” than a “we have issues” thing. We’ve gotta make some dates and enjoy them. We need to focus on whether or not the other person is doing too much and try to take the load off. We need to discuss openly tasks that we have to work on around the house (or other things they need help with) and actively plan on days and times to work on them. This has all been easy to forget when so much of life revolves around a high-maintenance toddler. We need to take folks up on the offer to babysit more, and find more things that we can do as a trio (not just baby-centric stuff).

My ultimate issue is simply figuring out how to use my time wisely. There’s so much I want to achieve, but getting motivated when I’m exhausted, or balancing the time between family and the rest of life, or ensuring that I don’t let something important fall to the bottom of the list. Focusing on a different topic each week may help me implement a few small, achievable tips — and I’d LOVE to hear any suggestions you have (or even to commiserate a bit about our individual issues).

Remember, our ultimate goal here is to focus on self care.

So, how well do you “know thyself”? What areas do you need to work on?

On this week, weโ€™ll be assessing our needs and our personalities and getting a handle on what kind of self-care needs to happen in our lives. – See more at: http://thehumbledhomemaker.com/2014/03/embracing-self-care-community-blogging-project.html#sthash.USyLHbo4.dpuf