Rinse. Repeat.

I’ve been a bit off target since my youngest’s birthday party last Saturday because, quite frankly, I fell off the motivation wagon. I stopped to relax for a moment, then my body decided to do a weird, possibly-mild-stomach-bug unwell thing, then I gave myself permission to let go for a day or two to recover, then that damn black dog came nuzzling about again, and then my ability to keep my head in the game completely fell apart. Again.

I’ve slowly come to accept that this is the reality of living with mental illness. I must be patient and set things up so that I can coast through the ditches with minimal effort or fall-out, so the step back doesn’t completely erase the headway I just made only days before.

I wouldn’t mind so much if it only affected me, but I do feel for my poor girls. My littlest miss is super-resilient and bounces back from disappointment and conflict within moments (although obviously I would prefer to not test this skill too regularly!), but my oldest ticks all the boxes for being a Highly Sensitive Child – a la Elaine Aron – so she really goes to pieces during my worst episodes. We had a SHOCKER of a day on Friday. I hit a point where I just couldn’t filter myself anymore and railed and screamed and let it all fall apart. It totally overwhelmed the poor thing and left me feeling horribly low and guilty.

She has to be my number one priority for the next little while! Her love bucket is more like a sieve at the moment: the more you fill it up the more it bleeds out all over the place…

I can feel myself on the way up out of this slump now though so maybe it’s a good time to assess how my current goals are going:

Health

Food

– Drink more water.

Not going too badly, although I have lapsed a little over the past couple of days. I have an 800ml bottle that I fill each morning and aim to get through it twice over the course of the day. I probably manage that about four days a week at the moment. Will aim for five to seven days now.

– Also cut back on coffee!

…next question.

– Get a loose meal plan going for dinner.

This is going fairly well. I swap days around quite a bit but the general structure definitely helps me think ahead more, which then helps with reducing decision fatigue and food wastage. Will continue to stick with this as is.

– Always eat leftovers for lunch.

So far so good!

Sleep

– No coffee after midday.

…next question.

– Practice mindful breathing and conscious relaxation during stretches before bed.

Not so much. I am doing the stretching (I need it for my back and shoulders) but generally still reading/playing games on my phone at the same time rather than breathing and relaxing. I might separate those activities out and just do the mindful thang once the iPhone is switched off (yes I know they say to keep your smartphone away from bedtime. I’m not ready to do that yet, ok?).

Fitness

– Play vigorously with kids for at least 10min a day bare minimum.

This went well for a while but I’ve slacked off for the last week. Definitely need to turn that around.

– Do simple yoga stretches in bed before sleep and while waiting for toast to pop in the morning.

In bed yes, most nights; morning not so much. I will prioritise this more to help me wake up and shake out the overnight twinges and aches (I have scoliosis. Have I mentioned that yet? Not sure that I have. It’s not operation-worthy or anything but still something I need to be conscious of to avoid chronic pain).

Happiness

– Stop to tune in to my body and head whenever I remember and write things out if necessary.

I got so depressed I didn’t even want to write the last few days. The grump just did not want to improve and fought all efforts to do so! I’m writing this now though so that’s a sign a corner has been turned.

– Start a daily gratitude practice before bed.

I have not done this at all. That changes now.

Finances

Day-to-day

– Track all my expenses for the next few weeks to get a better feel for budgeting.

Did it for a week, then let it slide before the party and never properly recovered. This week for sure!

– List some stuff on local garage sale sites.

Hasn’t happened yet but I at least pulled all the items together yesterday. Will photograph and post them on the sites tomorrow.

Long Term

– Seriously look into freelance writing/editing options.

No action taken.

– Crochet up some small items to sell at the crafty shop down the road.

Done, but nothing sold yet. I need to design more items and diversify (and probably add some bling. People tend to pay more for shiny things, even if they’re technically worth a lot less). The Melbourne Cup is coming up soon so maybe I can whip up a few fascinators to sell.

– Start looking around for self-education options.

No action taken.

Home

Ongoing Maintenance

– Wash dishes at least twice a day and mop kitchen floor at least once a week.

Hit and miss. It’s so easy to get discouraged when that stack builds up next to the sink!

– Do a “once over” dust and vaccuum through the house once a week (ignoring clutter if necessary).

Nope. The place is seriously disgusting at the moment. I hate how bad it gets when I let things slide for a few days.

Culling and Organising

– Aim to set up a kids’ craft/art space in the back room by toddler’s birthday.

Not even close. Our new easel is still firmly ensconced in the living room, now surrounded by an impenetrable wall of clutter. Awesome.

– Keep a box near the front door to fill with donation-worthy stuff and GET RID OF IT WHEN IT IS FULL!

Nope.

– Gather up good donations for the school fair next month.

Partial success. I now need to separate and organise it all – and figure out how to get it all up to the office during school hours (with no access to a car). Possibly a small bag each day til it’s done rather than all in one hit.

Family Life

Parenting

– More roughhousing (as covered in fitness goals) PLUS:
At least 10min a day playing pretend
At least one book each day
At least one sensory activity each day.

…next question.

– Work harder on yelling less. Sing in hammy opera; beat my chest; do some star jumps; go scream in a pillow; put on ridiculously happy music; ANYTHING to redirect my irritation and frustration in the moment rather than scaring my kids with it.

…………..next question… 😦

General Organising

– Toddler’s birthday; prepping for return to school; helping my oldest make up a scrapbook of art.

All this stuff went well, apart from clearing up 5yo’s desk (which is currently blocked by the easel and its wall of clutter). New general organising goals:

– Weed and tidy up the backyard as the first step to prep for my Big Miss’s impending 6th birthday party.

– Set up art and craft space in the back room BY THE END OF THIS WEEK.

– Dig the cross trainer out of the clutter in the front room (Hubby and I are going to start motivating each other to do interval training in the mornings, to try to shift our creeping tummy pudge. That’s the plan, anyway. We’re both as bad as each other at prioritising this sort of thing so the chances of success are pretty shaky…).

So overall there have been some successes and some failures. I’ll just keep chipping away at this stuff for now and aim for a better success:failure ratio by this time next week.

Finally, three things I’m grateful for today:

1. I managed to stop myself from getting testy while my oldest squirmed around and fought going to sleep this evening, and instead patiently talked her through some calming visualisations and stroked her back until she drifted off.

2. Hubby took the girls out to a local play centre for a few hours this afternoon. They got some great bonding time and I was able to devote a solid block of undivided attention to meticulously cleaning one area of the kitchen. PLUS I was able to sing at the top of my lungs for a while without comments or interruptions. That felt good!

3. I feel like writing and getting all motivated and productive again. Almost completely out of the current ditch and seeing a lot of light for the next little while. Aw yeah…

Bonus: I’m grateful you read all the way to the end. *mwah*

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6 thoughts on “Rinse. Repeat.

  1. Congratulations, rock star! Or should I say opera star? It’s the opening aria of the Barber of Seville for me. And Sesame Street is just full of happy tunes.

    Which yoga positions are you doing? I neeeeeeed to know…

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I haven’t done any full-throated singing for a while so I went from the Cranberries to Kate Bush to Sam Brown to Bjork to Farinelli to Liza Minelli (and I think a few others in between). I must say, cracking out the Italian arias from Farinelli felt the most satisfying. I am definitely going to look into some choirs or amateur opera once the girls are old enough to deal with me not being around in the evening!

      Yoga-wise I mostly do seated twists and leg stretches in the evenings and standing back bends and arm stretches in the mornings (I can’t remember all the terminology – it’s been a while since I did formal classes!). Nothing too strenuous, just enough to keep flexible and ease any muscle tension at this point.

      Like

  2. Your whole post cheers me. I feeel not alone, with all of it, even the parenting, tho my son is now 27 (I can totally remember back in the day)! As always your honesty inspires and refreshes, big-time. And makes me smile with self-recognition. Thank you, in caps.

    Dusty

    Liked by 1 person

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