Halfway Healthy: Sometimes Less is More!

I subscribed to a couple of magazines last year. I started getting Shape and Parenting magazine as a free trial. I also got Better Homes and Gardens and Women’s Health for a ridiculously low price. Around the same time, I joined some groups on Facebook. One is called “Marie Kondo, Tidying up”, based on the books and Netflix Series. Another group is an art group covering all types of architecture, clothing design, photography, painting, drawing, and fantastic makeup. Some of the artsy things people can do are just amazing! (I’m an artist, too.)

It has been over a year that I have been following these different sources of information. I notice the people in the magazines or giving advice on social media seem to easily keep up with everything. They have thriving businesses, fantastic jobs, and their skin is flawless. Their houses are beautiful (and spotless), their gardens are magnificent, and when they cook, the food is supremely healthy, beyond gorgeous, organic, and locally sourced.

When I read all of this, I feel like I should do more. I compare my life to these media images. Do you ever compare yourself to social media? I think, “These people are doing it. Surely, I can do it all too.” One group says I should be organizing and alphabetizing my pantry. Another suggests I should be painting every day. This magazine says I need to deep condition my hair twice a week and promises to teach me how to become an “Expert Multitasker” so I can do more. It is tempting to just keep piling on more and more and more into my week.

I think there is a lot of drive for staying constantly busy. But what is the cost when we are overbooked? When I don’t have any wiggle room in my week to just relax and watch a movie or go on a walk, I get stressed out. If I am very stressed out, I focus on my stressors at nighttime, and I don’t sleep well. If I don’t sleep well, I can’t think. Everything is hard on those days. I get crabby and short-tempered. On days I feel like that, I don’t want to make dinner.

Does this sound familiar? It is 6:50. I just walked in the door. I have an arm full of packages because I popped by the grocery for bread, ketchup, blueberries, and bananas. I don’t have a plan for dinner. I’m tired. It’s late. I’m hungry. My family is hungry. Takeaway food sounds really easy right about now, and with the week I am having, I would like things to just be easy. (I didn’t settle on takeout, by the way. I ended up making my “Working Late Pasta Salad” for dinner.)

The rational side of my brain says to step back. I try to tell myself to relax. But I have so much to do. I don’t feel like I can spare the time to paint or read or go on a walk. Guilt over what I have to do will ruin my time when I try doing any of the things I actually enjoy. Lacking free time means more stress, less sleep, a junkier diet, and an inability to relax. I will start to feel worse as each part of my life feels the impact. I will become overwhelmed, and I will quickly burn out.

That is one of the reasons why I like the Me and My programs. They fit around my schedule, and they are tailored to making any of the changes that matter to me. They aren’t just about diet or weight loss or cooking nutritious dinners. There is a whole series on stress, sleep, and mindfulness. The Me and My Mindful Family course that Anthony recommended had some simple breathing exercises I could put into action right away when I was feeling stressed.

My whole family can feel it when I am very stressed. I have been experimenting with giving myself permission to take that pause. I have been taking the time to practice the breathing exercises and it helps me to feel less overwhelmed. And when my son sees me doing this, it also means I am teaching him how to take that same kind of pause when he is feeling stressed.

Since I have started the nightly gratitude journal, I have been spending less time at night on social media before bed. (I completed every night this past week.) I also left some of the Facebook groups I was in that I didn’t have time for or that weren’t adding anything to my life. That will leave room for me to spend that time on things that do add to my life.

It is Sunday. The mulch I bought last weekend is still in a pyramid on the back patio waiting to be put down. I’ll get there. I also didn’t make time for this week’s module for the health reboot. My life was very busy, and I needed a little room to breathe. I will get back to it and do it next week. And my course will be waiting for me.

Blog written by Sarah Holtz on 20th June 2021