Following on from my post last night I wanted to spend some time discussing the ways I find help me stay in control and be calm. Despite what outsiders might think I do have quite a busy, multi-faceted life with several things happening at once. Firstly, I am a mother to a 4 and 5 year, I home educate them so they are with me 24/7, my husband and I run our own business from home and we are in the process of renovating a house that will soon to our home, so lots of decisions to be made.
If you do wish to read this, please don’t think for one minute I am preaching, I would never ever want to do that. I just want to share with you what works for me. I don’t follow it to the letter and I am just like everyone else when it comes to putting off the ironing one week in favour of watching a film. I get tired and slumping into bed is sometimes all I feel like doing.
It was over 10 years ago that I left my job (whilst off with stress related depression) as a primary school teacher. I completely lost control.My recovery was a long one and it has only been in recent months that I actually quantified exactly what it was that led to my illness. It was control or lack of it. I clearly like to be in control of my life and the things that happen in it. I like to know when things are happening, who with, what time and although I am perfectly capable of dealing with spontaneous arrangements I do like to roughly know what is going on. I like a plan. The end. I can’t work without some sort of plan especially if a said objective needs to be achieved.
So, this reflection brings me to how I deal with my home life and the many things that are going on.
1. Meal planning – I have posted about this in the past and I still maintain it is the single most critical thing to do each week if you want to be relaxed. I am quite detailed about my food plan. I plan a different menu each week depending on what I fancy to eat or what I like to cook. I plan a week in advance. I schedule what we are going to eat around what we are doing. So, for example if we have a date in the afternoon I will plan something simple for tea that evening and have our main meal at lunch time. I also base my meal planning around the food I already have in the cupboard and freezer, trying where possible to use things we already have. I then write my menu, place my online shopping order and write my list for all my fresh fruit and vegetables which I source from a local farm shop. (I will post much more on this at a later date)
2. Slow cooker – every now and again I drag out my slow cooker. It isn’t particularly big but it can hold enough meat and veg for a family meal. I try when possible to cook the meal in the slow cooker the day before then all I need to do the next day is prepare some vegetables. I always very sadly feel rather good about myself when I have done this. It makes me feel super organised and of course, super in control. Importantly it leaves me lots of time to give to the children which it very, very important to me.
3. Make time every week to clean my house – a clean and tidy house leaves me with a clean and tidy mind. I don’t have a very big house and by simply setting aside a couple of hours on a Saturday morning to clean the bathroom and vacuum upstairs and down makes me feel good. I can then spend the rest of the day baking with my daughter or going for a bike ride with the satisfaction of knowing it will be clean when I walk in the door. I feel irritated by an unclean bathroom and it only ever takes half an hour.
4. Tidy up at the end of the day – a simple but effective way to start the next day feeling great. I hate coming down to make breakfast only to find all the pots still need to be put away or they is a pan festering on the hob. I try most evenings just to spend 10 minutes putting everything back in its place. ‘A place for everything, and everything in its place’ Sad I know but true!!
5. The ironing – I like many other people in the world, love ironing. If my ironing pile is either empty or under control I feel under control. So, generally on a weekend I will put the radio on or watch a food programme on the iplayer and merrily plough my way through the mountain. My husband thinks I am mad about most of the above but I know it works and keeps everything ship-shape.
Reading this post you will undoubtedly think that I should belong in the armed forces, and maybe I should have joined but I have always been this way. I always like to be on time. I always like to have things done before the scheduled time and I can not work under any sort of pressure, especially last-minute when I know so many people perform. It is just me and after nearly 40 years I have finally accepted that being me is ok. I have accepted that my way is not a bad way, just a different way. Who knows maybe from writing this blog I will find others agree with me too!!!