Even though it doesn’t look like it on paper, 2017 is starting off well for me. What I mean by that is this: my family and I currently live in a renovation project, so I’m surrounded by a general state of chaos; my foot has been giving me grief for weeks now and is only just now starting to heal, and weird weather has kept us oddly indoors. Which leads to inevitable cabin fever.
I’m also prone to depression, and I’ve had waves of that off and on for about two months. Nothing serious right now, but it’s been gravely serious before, so I know to look out for it.
If I were to laundry list the status of my life, it doesn’t look so hot. But actually, things are going well. My attitude’s been largely okay, I’ve already read two books this year, and we’re eating better than we have in about a month.
It helps me to break down what’s saving my life, in big or small ways. It does my soul good to acknowledge the little gifts that make my life sweeter in the moment. These are pegs throughout my day I can hold on to and climb the hours.
As Andy Warhol once said, “You need to let the little things that would ordinarily bore you suddenly thrill you.”
Here’s what’s saving my life right now.
1. Good slippers.
Kyle and I have had this weird history of getting dud slippers for me, so this year, his “gift” to me was, “Order yourself some slippers, okay?”
I did more research than is probably necessary for this, but I was tired of indoor slippage disappointment. I read reviews, I looked up various company’s sustainable practices (which are often hard to find), and I did price comparisons.
I finally settled on these slippers by Acorn (yes, the men’s version!), and I have been so happy. They are exactly what I’ve been looking for: warm but not hot, a thin sole but not nothing, cushy but not ridiculous.
In fact, I think they’re a large contributor to my foot’s healing. The insole is divine. I’m wearing these bad boys all day, every day.
2. Bullet journaling.
Yep, I’ve got some stuff prepared to talk more about bullet journaling later this month. But the past few weeks, I’ve been reminded why I love this system of thought-catching and to-doing so much.
It works well for me, I love that I can customize it however I need (and therefore change how I use it on a whim), and it forces me to slow down and process what’s on my plate.
More on this soon, but just know it’s been so good for me right now. It’s old-school. It’s simple. It’s analog.
No, not the concept in general (though I’m sure that’s always on auto-play in the background), and not the George Michael song. The app.
I tried Freedom a few weeks ago as an experiment for an upcoming project, but I wasn’t sure what I’d think about it. I’ve decided that I love it.
It’s a hand-holding app that basically self-inflicts parameters from distractions. I didn’t think I really needed this, but it has increased my concentration and helped me focus. For me, this is particularly in the evenings, when I found myself mindlessly scrolling through Twitter or Facebook instead of doing what I actually wanted to do: read.
I created two sessions called Weekday Evenings and Deep Work Mornings. On the first one, I’ve blocked all social media, my email, and Netflix from 10 pm to 7 am, Sunday through Thursdays. On the second, I’ve blocked all social media and email from 9 am to noon, Tuesday through Thursdays.
It’s really helped. I had no idea how often I “quickly checked” some of those sites while I genuinely preferred to be doing other things (reading, sleeping, writing).
I feel like it’s decently priced; I did the annual plan at $29. (Edited: I just found out that it’s 40% off with the coupon code FOCUS. No idea how long that’ll last!)
4. Water (duh).
I’m saying ‘duh’ to me here. I haven’t sipped a soda in years, and other than black coffee, herbal tea, and the occasional old-fashioned or gin-and-tonic, I drink almost exclusively water. But? I noticed I wasn’t drinking anything at all.
My problem over the holidays wasn’t that I was indulging in icky drinks; it was that I simply wasn’t continually drinking water. I think this was partly because of my foot, and trips to the bathroom become a Major Feat when you’re on crutches.
But I’ve been more intentional in always having a glass of water nearby, and I’ve been reminded why water makes me feel so. much. better. My skin is clearer, my mind is sharper, and I have more energy. I think I’m even sleeping better.
Kyle got me this blender for Christmas when it went on a crazy flash sale (I’ve been watching for years). It’s so nice to have a powerhouse in the kitchen, and it’s gotten me back to smoothies several times a week.
I love how it forces me to get my veggies in, yet still feels like a midday (or morning) dessert.
My favorite standby? Coconut milk + several large handfuls of fresh spinach + a cup or so of frozen berries + banana + raw honey. Done.
6. Really good leggings.
I ordered these girlfriend leggings months ago and then promptly forgot about them, so it was like a mini-Christmas when I got them in the mail back in November. These things are as fantastic as they advertised. I’m wearing them constantly. (They’re in the slippers pic, above.)
Plus, ethical! Hooray.
7. My Kindle.
I think I mention my Kindle Paperwhite every time I talk about what’s saving my life, but it’s still true. Yes, I’m a big fan of paper books, and I still read them (mostly thanks to Book of the Month, which I also love).
But I’m in the habit of carrying my Kindle everywhere, and because it’s synced to my local library, I am always reading something. Perhaps my local digital library is also something saving my life right now, because anytime I hear or read someone say, “You have to read this book!” I run over add it to my library wish list.
When I’ve finished a book, I immediately go to my wish list and download something new to my Paperwhite. Never without a book.
(Oh, and starting this year, I also add read books to my Bullet Journal shelf.)
I want to take better advantage this year of the glory that is audiobooks, and so far, so good. I keep my earbuds in my purse so that I can always listen to something, and I tell you as an introvert, this is the only way grocery shopping has become palatable (yep, I wait until I don’t have to take the kids).
I’m good at listening to podcasts when I grocery shop, but I’ve added audiobooks in the mix, and I’m getting more reading done already. I listen in the car on longer errands, too, but only when I’m by myself, and that’s not as often as I’d like.
(Right now, I’m listening to Lilac Girls and Still Life. Both so good.)
So, there you have it—these things are saving my life right now, in what is otherwise a dreary time of year. These pegs are where I hang bits of my day, helping me climb through my daily liturgy and make it to the evening in one piece. It’s been good lately.
What’s saving your life right now? I’d love for you to tell me one thing in the comments below.
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