Jo Sea­gar: a slower pace

Come Jan­uary, Jo Sea­gar rel­ishes the op­por­tu­nity to change gear and shake off the gen­eral busy­ness of life.

Australian Women’s Weekly NZ - - CONTENTS - AWW

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!

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