Last year was full of good things, but in reality, way too many changes at once that consumed much of my time and energy. I entered 2013 feeling full of stress and 15 pounds heavier than I was when 2012 began. I knew I had to make some changes when classes and private tutoring started back up after the holidays.
My husband was getting ready to read Deepak Chopra's new book Super Brain: Unleashing the ExplosivePower of Your Mind to Maximize Health, Happiness, and Spiritual Well-Being, so I decided to join him. While I have skipped around the book a lot, what I found in one chapter has dramatically changed the course of how I am now choosing to organize my time and live my life. With 10-15 pounds to lose, I was drawn to the chapter on weight. Towards the end of the chapter Chopra says to “make a truce with fat.” A truce with fat? Exactly. Instead of feeling angry at the fat that has developed on my hips, stomach, and breasts, start looking at what is causing that fat. What is missing in my life that is causing that fat to be there?
It didn’t take long to answer that question, in fact, I have known for some time. While I love the teaching field I am in, I feel overworked and overstressed by the schedule I have set for myself. When I looked at my options, I knew there wasn't anything I felt ready to give up for now. So, I needed to find a way to work more efficiently so I am not spending 100% of my time thinking and worrying about what needs to be done next.
- I scheduled specific days and times on my calendar to accomplish all of my “work”. Sundays are now official “non-work” days except for an online meeting I have once or twice a month. In 2012, they often ended up being non work days because I kept putting the work off, but all day I felt anxiety about not doing anything. Mentally taking the day off feels like it gives me so much more time during the day to enjoy things I want to do.
- Rather than planning a whole afternoon to clean the house and then finding I am too tired, I am doing one or two small things a day. (The house is actually staying cleaner.)
- On Tuesday and Thursday, I am either driving or teaching a class for 12-13 hours of the day. I have a short 1.5 hour break between daytime teaching and night teaching. In 2012, I rushed home to make dinner and eat which usually resulted in crappy meals and eating on the run. This year, I am preparing a meal the evening before and throwing it in the slow cooker before heading to work in the morning. Last night my husband asked, “You don’t have to work tonight?” I think he was surprised that I was casually sitting at the table eating with everyone else rather than rushing around before heading out.
- I bought some Eucalyptus Epsom salt and have been treating myself to a hot bath when I get home.
- I have made daily meditation a priority. Each day of meditation seems to calm my mind more and more throughout the day. If I plan my morning right, I can find 15 minutes to do this one thing for myself.
- Rest. On Tuesday, I felt some rheumatoid arthritis pain and fatigue. I chose to spend thirty of my 1.5 hours at home napping. On Wednesday, I played hooky from half of my private tutoring students and laid in bed watching a movie. I have decided I am going to do more of this when my body begs for it.
- Making daily goals that are small. My sister and I text each other every morning sharing one small goal that we want to work on. Sometimes we adopt the other’s goal and other days they are completely different. Having her support and encouragement, as well as having someone to be accountable to, has really changed my perspective during the day.
- Laugh. I am really trying to make this more a part of my life. I like laughing and I know how great I feel when I do it, but I often let stress and schedules take over. Laughter is often what connects my family and in turn gives my day a powerful boost.
I have found that by simply scheduling my time to be a more efficient person, I am accomplishing more and reducing my stress levels a lot while also doing some luxurious things for myself such as napping, taking a bath, and enjoying a good laugh.