And now for something completely different… I have just listened to Gretchen Ruben’s Happiness Project again. I love all her books, I have listened to them multiple times. They inspire me to raise my game and try new things and just do the right thing. And folks, let this be a warning to you… I may not have been blogging much this last month, but I sure have been sleeping and I am beside myself with energy. I thought while I am full of energy and on an inspiration roll that I would challenge you all to a month of being nice to yourselves. I am a mom, this post is as much for you as it is for me… Let’s make Nice November a thing…
I am not kidding, we treat our kids like royalty, we check on our friends, we make sure the extended family is up to date… but traditionally we don’t give much thought to ourselves. You know moms are a downtrodden bunch (!), I am not even kidding. They do so much of the work… and we are heading into the crazy season, that time of year where teachers need gifts, your kids’ end of year functions explode in every direction, unexpected events that require “a plate of eats,” work functions and “must keep” traditions are overwhelming… one glance at the calendar makes you want to crawl under your bed and hide at least until March next year.
So here’s the thing, I challenge you to do one small thing, that’s just for you… each day during the month of November. I don’t mean a day at the Spa, I don’t even mean buying a new outfit… I mean – intentional, nearly no spending treats for yourself. You know you need it… we treat our kids all the time… but we don’t treat ourselves. So here are thirty ideas of things you could do… just for you during November… and we all know it takes 21 days to create a habit… before next year even starts you could be ready for a year of intentional living…
Thirty Thrifty Treats, That You Can Gift Yourself
- Drink a cup of tea while it is still hot… I know, this is obscure, but the world will not actually collapse if the house has to wait five minutes for you to just enjoy a cup of tea.
- You know how you scurry around to tidy the house for visitors, well set the clock for half an hour earlier… and then sit in your own home and enjoy it… for just those few minutes enjoy the home you live in.
- Set the table nicely for dinner, just once, you might be surprised your family might raise their game and enjoy it.
- Never underestimate the power of candles… light a candle at the dinner table, even a left over birthday candle still holds a little magic. Yes, someone is going to blow it out, someone is going to squabble about who should get to blow it out, but there will be a moment… when its good. Enjoy that moment!!!
- Start a dream notebook… and just write down on or two things you would like to do, another time write down one or two movies you would like to see, one or two books you would like to read, places you would like to visit… its just a dream notebook, you can be as wild as you like.
- Get some fresh air… have your morning coffee on the front stairs, instead of gulping half of it at the kitchen sink… be intentional… stop, pause and savor it.
- Create a basket of things you need for relaxing… it may be a notebook and pen, and a sudoku pen… it may be your special flavoured tea bags. It may be the blanket you like to nap under… whatever it is, gear up for that time that is yours.
- Gift yourself with an early night… go to bed when the kids go to bed… and go to sleep. Trust me you will feel like a million dollars the next day.
- Spend fifteen minutes dreaming about that trip you have always longed for… create a Pinterest board, or a scrapbook page… or a page in your dream notebook… start thinking about it… it may never happen, but if you haven’t started planning then it definitly will never happen!!!
- Start a windowsill garden… gardens make us feel better, green things are good for us… you don’t have to buy expensive plants from a nursery… next time you are visiting a friend with a beautiful succulent garden… ask for a couple of leaves… pop them in an old yogurt container and watch them grow… you will be surprised at how happy this can make you!!!
- You know that one project you have been meaning to do all year, and you haven’t started yet… make a list of what you need to get started. My project was to paint a desk… well… I haven’t even looked at the price of paint yet… but start.
- Go through the photos on your phone and pick one favourite from each month. You don’t have to sort a years worth of photographs… you have to pick twelve. Pop them in a folder called 2018… and be done.
- Clean out one closet, or one drawer, or one shelf… it is carthatic… spend fifteen minutes while your kids are getting into bed and sort the books on their bookshelf… boom done, job done and you will feel so much better for it.
- Watch a movie or a series that you actually want to watch… go ahead. Choose something that you really want to watch. I know I never get to choose (!). Make it a big deal, tell everyone you have a fantastic movie to share with them, choose well they may even let you choose again!!!
- Do a small task that you know you would enjoy doing, but you keep putting off for “more important” things. Just today I planted a punnet of herbs that have been sitting in my yard waiting to be planted out for weeks, it literally took five minutes and I loved it.
- Get out of your food rut… go through a recipe book and find two or three new easy recipes to try, especially pick recipes where you have most of the ingredients… you really can find them. If you have always wanted to make pasta… then set aside time this month and just make yourself some pasta… you totally can do it and you will have fun doing it. Make a loaf of bread… it is cathartic, its doable and its fun.
- Call a friend, even better have coffee together… head for the beach, grab a coffee, the kids can play and you can chat… its good for the soul, try it.
- Download an audible book that you have been dying to read, but you are never free to read. Treat yourself… if you sign up for audible, you get the first book for free… try it.
- Gift yourself with a magazine, head outdoors to a spot where the kids can play, spread out a blanket and just enjoy the moment… when you are done, gift the magazine onto a friend. Then she can enjoy it too!!!
- Take fifteen minutes to put up a calendar, and mark off a couple of non-negotiable “time-out” days for you and your family. No playdates, no visitors, no phonically… just let it go days.
- Learn something, remember that language you always wanted to learn… download the Duolingo APP, its free!!! And spend one or two minutes a day learning a new word. It works, you can do this and by the end of the month you will have learnt a whole lot more than you new at the start of the month.
- Move, do some real exercise not every day, especially if its not your thing… but if you love swimming, then make this the month that you get yourself into the water. Go for a walk, dont just watch your kids skipping, grab their skipping rope and take a turn… its hard, but not impossible and you might find you have a hidden talent.
- Go and explore somewhere you have never been before, ever. New things are fun, it doesn’t have to be somewhere pricey… a walk through a different part of town, a market you have never been to before. Take some photos, make some memories and have fun.
- Write a postcard to someone you know will love it… and never expect it. Trust me no-one gets snail mail anymore … you will feel great sending it, and they will feel great receiving it… win/win.
- Eat fruit… I don’t know why, but making the effort to buy fruit and eat it, makes me happy. Not just a bag of boring old lunch box apples. Treat yourself to the perfect peach or a giant watermelon. Take it home and really enjoy it.
- Find a pile of “shoulds” around the house: the book you should read, but know you never will; the sweater you should love but you can’t want to wear; the nicnak that you hate but was a gift fifteen years ago; the educational game that everyone hates and you will never ever play… pop all your “shoulds” into a box and give them to a friend… a good friend will get rid of them for you!!!
- Look at your calendar and let something go… I am not kidding, this is the silly season… no-one will miss you if you don’t attend one of the ten Carol Services that you have scheduled. Really, there are things that you don’t have to do. The trick is not to fill that time with another responsibility… treat yourself, go and browse in a bookshop… wander through a nursery, go out for ice-cream.
- Plan ahead for things, very occasionally like once or twice in forever my family has scattered in different directions and I have had no idea what to do with myself. If you don’t have a plan then you waste that time, I made a promise to myself that is everyone is out, or even almost everyone is out, then I won’t catch up on chores… I will do something that I want to do instead… potter around, read a book, enjoy the silence… a million things. You have to plan for it and pop your plan into your dream notebook, just in case!!!
- Remember when colouring books were all the rage, and yours has been sitting on a shelf for ever… well pop an audible book on that you can all enjoy together and while the kids are drawing their own pictures, commit to colouring in, just the length of a chapter. Honestly, you will be surprised… we listened the whole way through the Little House on the Prairie Series like this… I doodled, I coloured, I made sure everyone had access to all the pens and pencils necessary, hit play and give your kids a chance… they will get better at it, and everyone doing their own thing. A corner of a page is better than nothing… just start.
- Use all those things that you are keeping for a special day… wear that perfume, use that pretty notebook that you got for your birthday. Light that candle… use that delicious soap… this is the month of doing something lovely for yourself… Just use the lovely stuff… it was most likely gifted to you, with the intention that you would enjoy it. I know I got things to my friends in the hopes that they will enjoy it, but most likely they are like me and save these little treats up for a rainy day… this is your rainy season… when you need all the encouragement you can get. Use those treats up right now, and don’t even think of regifting them. And thank me later.
That’s a start… I could carry on with this list forever… Just simple ideas, it doesn’t have to be fancy or expensive, I am sure you have your own ideas. The intention is to be a little nicer to yourself. Treat yourself as you would a friend… don’t wait till you are rock bottom and collapse in a heap and sleep… if you have a tough day… and this is the crazy season, when things can escalate fast… treat yourself right. Gift yourself with a little fresh air, a walk in the park or an early night. The world will go on, the dishes will get done and the laundry will continue to pile up… but you will feel a whole lot better about it.