Every three months, I pause and reflect on the past season and share with all of you.
(Linking up with Emily P. Freeman, who hosts this wonderful blog series.)
This season marked six months of being a coordinator of youth & young adult ministry. Winter has always been a hard season for me, and it was again this year, but I think I just tried to embrace it and take care of myself as best as I could until the sun came back.
Make habits stupid easy
Now that I’m working, I have been trying to have better morning and bedtime routines. In the fall, I really nailed the kids’ bedtime routine, so I knew that I could set up something similar for myself. I came across an app called Fabulous and did their free week trial. It suggested starting with just drinking some water every morning for three days in a row. That was a super easy goal that I knew I could accomplish. Then it added exercising for one minute every morning for three days. Just one minute. I didn’t have to worry about getting exercise clothes on, or bundling up to go outside, or carving time to get to the gym (which I cancelled 6 months ago). I just did five pushups, some jumping jacks, and running in place, for a total of one minute.
Here I am a month later going from drinking zero water to drinking some before bed, and when I wake up, at least a bottle a day. I’m now exercising about ten minutes every morning, and I’m taking my vitamins every night. I have even been incorporating different prayers, reading, and journaling. The app is very encouraging, helps you start small, and gives you good visuals to help cheer you on.
Do not beat yourself up
It is inevitable that a wrench will get thrown into my evenings. I work at least one night a week. Some days the 2 year old gets up 20 times. I know that I won’t always achieve my bedtime routine, and that’s okay.
I don’t like surprises
Unless it’s a surprise birthday party, I don’t do well with a wrench getting thrown into my life. No one does. I have always known that I don’t like these kind of surprises, but I have been working expecting it to happen and to not let it destroy my mood. This December, out pastor got a call from the Vatican that he was going to be appointed a bishop in Sioux Falls. Something really exciting! But it meant we were losing one of the best priests I’ve ever known. It made December and January really tough. Right now we have an interim parochial administrator, so a lot of things are on hold until we have a pastor in July.
I have learned that I have very high expectations in my work performance, and that I need to take that way down. The Fabulous app has some work habits that I have been working on, like keeping my email inbox clean, making a new todo list each day, then picking the three most important, then starting with one. I often feel like I am trying to do five things at once and am thinking about 20 different things, so I have learned that I can actually get more done by just focusing on just one thing at a time.
One thing that I have been trying to do more of is getting inspired. That might be from reading a devotional email or a blog post or a passage from a book. Note: this is different from my prayer time where I usually read from scripture or a spiritual book and then journal or meditate.
Peter and I will be married for five years this summer. Statistics show that year five is one of the hardest years, and is the most common years for couples to divorce. From experience, I think it’s a season where you’re finally getting settled and forget that your marriage is something that you have to care for like your physical, mental, and spiritual life. One thing that we are AWFUL at doing is going on dates. It’s a hassle finding a babysitter and it seems bonkers to drop 100 bucks on a date. So we have been finding the weird hours to go to a coffee shop.
We’ve only done it a few times, but we’re really seeing the benefits of just sitting down with no kids and no electronics to hang out, chat, and giggle. We usually take longer lunches and make up for the time later in the week. This has also inspired us to have more evenings once the kids are in bed to spend time together eating a snack and chatting. I know we both are fried once the kids are f i n a l l y asleep and both want to have quiet time to decompress, but doing this once in a while has been really nice.
I realized that drinking too much much coffee makes my heart rate drastically high and also plays a role in my anxiety. For the fasting part of my Lenten promises this year, I am having one normal cup of coffee a day, and then any after that has to be black coffee. Basically I’ve gone from 3-4 cups a day to 1-2. It has already made a huge difference.
So this winter, I just tried to take care of myself. Spring, it’s so good to see you.
I’m looking forward to chatting with you next time! Until then, let’s take small simple steps towards being more intentional.