Jo Seagar: a slower pace
Come January, Jo Seagar relishes the opportunity to change gear and shake off the general busyness of life.
Now is the time to balance the books and take account of life. Throughout the year, our lives are a mad rush of appointments, meetings, school timetables, activities and study, but now we’re at the other end of the scale, what’s commonly known as downtime or good old-fashioned lazing about time – the holidays.
Christmas celebrations have rocketed by and, before we know it, it’s January. I just love January – it’s summertime and the living is easy… (I’m humming as I write!).
When we’re in the midst of a frantic period of life, someone is likely to say that things will calm down soon, but I don’t think a random slower day just pops around the corner. We need to make it happen and this requires a serious change of mindset.
Everyone is so busy these days. The bar has been set incredibly and often unrealistically high, and because it’s very difficult to go against social norms we just go along with it.
Stress overload is the greatest enemy there is of good parenting and family equilibrium. We mothers set the emotional thermostat in our homes and I think we really have to take control and turn the temperature down. It’s time to say, “Enough is enough!”
I want a rest and to spend valuable time with my family, my good friends and especially with my little grandies. My theory is that if you surround yourself with people who approach life differently, you start to mirror their behaviour – so get together with those who enjoy a slower pace of life.
Lots of people make lists of New Year’s resolutions, things to do, but I’ve decided it’s equally important to have a list of what NOT to do.
My suggestions for achieving this include simple solutions like turning off the computer and all the screens (okay, you don’t have to go completely offline, but just set some very slim time limits). Breathe slowly, deeply and meaningfully. Don’t People make lists of things to do, but a list of what NOT to do is equally important. get snared up in all the details. Avoid time stealers – here I would include rubbish telly and social media overload, but also avoid “talkie talkie” people who just take and never give back or listen. It’s not your 1500 Facebook “friends” who make you happy, but those close to you – maybe a mere 15 people – who bring you joy in life. You know who they are, so get in touch with them now.
Get near or preferably into some water – the pool, a beach, creek, estuary or a lake. Splash about, paddle… try floating.
Potter in the garden. You’ve all heard about stopping to smell the roses – well, now it’s time to pick those roses and other flowers too.
Read and tell stories with different generations. Accept the need for sleep – book it in. Holidays are the time to prioritise sleep and get into credit with it. Your mother was right, everything does seem so much better after a good night’s sleep.
Enjoy the simple freedom of having time to think. Sure, jobs and chores need to be done, but take the easy road… sheets off the line and straight back on the beds, kind of thing. When it comes to meals, think easy salads, corn on the cob, avocados, strawberries for pud, slabs of watermelon, sliced tomatoes on Vogel’s for lunch.
January can be unexpectedly peaceful, if you allow it. It is the perfect time for reflection and planning the future. Decide what changes you could make to improve your wellbeing in the coming year.
One of the things I have found incredibly useful for this process is to write a journal. Not the “Dear Diary” approach, but more “a little note to self” entry every now and then. It helps me to problem-solve, to dream and scheme, to heal relationship rifts and generally understand what makes me tick. Writing in this journal is a time to literally count my blessings and focus on where I want to go. It’s life affirming and possibly just as good as a therapist.
Slow down, simplify and be generous – this is my plan for 2017.
Happy New Year everybody!