This month I’m hosting a series on Instagram called January R+R: 31 Days of Cultivating Life Rhythms and Routines. Each day, I’m posting a quick life rhythm or routine that helps me focus on the things that really matter. I invite you to join me, and feel free to focus on any of them that really speak to you. This is a weekly digest of the post for the week. Click for Week 1 and Week 2.
Day 15: Getaways
This weekend was supposed to be a fun getaway for my daughter and me. Her regional dance completion had been rescheduled for this weekend, and then was cancelled. Again. So much has been cancelled in the past year. We’ve still managed some fun getaways in the middle of it all. Under normal circumstances, we try to take a trip every so often, just little getaway to mix things up a bit. Sometimes we get out of town, sometimes we do a “staycation” at a local Airbnb. Sometimes it’s all of us, sometimes it’s just Jon and I. I’m sure looking forward to being able to do fun getaways with my family again.
Day 16: Life Celebrations
Life celebrations Today is my birthday! As I mentioned yesterday, I was supposed to be in Phoenix with my daughter this weekend. Instead, we are celebrating at home. I love birthdays. I mean really, really love them. Three of us have January birthdays. So it’s no surprise that it’s a month long celebration around here. One of my favorite birthday rhythms is to have the birthday boy or girl choose what we are having for dinner on the night of their birthday. When I was growing up, we did monthly birthday dinners for everyone who had a birthday that month. I think this is where my own twist on that came from. Eventually, we might have to shift to one birthday dinner per month, but for now, we are still able to let everyone choose.
Focus prompt: How do you celebrate important life events? How does it look different right now and what can you do to make it special?
Day 17: Kid Activities
Kid activities: This is one area that looks majorly different right now. And while the slower pace of life combined with all of our kids driving themselves now has been nice, I sure do miss going to all of their different activities to support them. For years, a huge rhythm of our life was arranging evening plans around picking up and dropping off, attending meets and concerts, and making sure they were well fed in the middle of it all. My youngest is a senior this year, and my older two have moved on to other pursuits, which means that my days of attending activities are coming to a close. It’s bittersweet, but I know I’ll find other ways to cheer them on!
Day 18: Pets
We love to snuggle with our Dolly girl. In the evenings, she often curls up with us on the couch (always on a blanket), and keeps us company as we relax. She loves walks but is terrible for pulling, so we don’t walk as often as we should. She loves getting “pets” and attention, and we love to give it to her! We haven’t felt like we have space in our home or our lives for more than our Dolly girl, but she brings love and joy to all of us.
Focus prompt: Can I be more intentional about time spent with my pet(s)? What am I doing to keep my pets healthy so that we can enjoy each other for a long time?
Day 19: Lunchtime
As a teacher, it’s easy for me to work through my 30 minute duty-free lunch. If I’m not intentional about guarding that time as a mental “step-away” time, I get lost in the miasma of emails, to-do’s, grading, etc. When a day feels particularly stressful, it’s my cue to make sure I take an actual break during my lunch to make sure I am clear-headed and ready for the afternoon. If the weather is nice, I will often take a walk around our school to get some fresh air and daylight (I have no windows in my classroom). Another way I like to decompress during lunch is to read a chapter of a book, or spend some time journaling to clear my headspace. It’s also a great time to connect with my colleagues in an informal setting, so I’m definitely looking forward to when we are allowed to eat in the staff room again. I nearly always drink a protein shake for lunch, which leaves me time for those other “decompressing” things.
Focus prompt: What can I do to use my lunchtime as an intentional “reset” time? Am I making sure I take a break in my day to reset, or do I work right through lunch?
Day 20: Bills, ew.
Paying the bills is one of my least favorite chores, a close second to laundry. I’m grateful that our jobs give us the means to pay our bills, but I really don’t like the process of it. One way that has really saved me over the last few years is the move to automatic payments. I LOVE that I don’t have to think about it. I still have a few bills that I pay manually, or those random medical bills that crop up now and again, and my solution to the annoyance is to pay all the manually paid bills at the same time. That way it is done for the month, and I don’t have to think about it again. We are both paid once a month, so I pay my bills close to the beginning of the month so that it’s done!
Focus prompt: How can I streamline my bill paying routine? Are there bills that I still pay manually that can be switched to automatic payments? Make a list of accounts, logins, and payment dates and put it in a secure location.
Day 21: Self care
Self-Care gets a lot of attention these days. And while I’m definitely not anti-spa day or anything like that, I do tend to think of self-care a little differently than what we see on social media a lot of the time. For me, self-care looks like making sure I get to the dentist for my cleanings, getting my yearly mammogram and annual exam, eating well and exercising, and making space in my schedule to do things that I love, which in turn cares for my mental well-being.
Focus prompt: What are my own ideas of self-care? Are there any appointments that I need to make to make sure I’m taking care of myself? Is there white space in my schedule for things I enjoy? What do I need to say no to in order to take care of myself?
Thanks for joining me for week 2 of January R+R! If you enjoy these posts and know someone who would also like them, please share this post with them. I also have a monthly newsletter where I share more about my own life rhythms and routines and exclusive content like recipes and creative sharing and reflection to help you and encourage you on your journey toward leaving a legacy that matters. Click here to subscribe.