Do you ever feel like you’re just operating on autopilot? You just wake up and perform the same routine? Is that truly living? I desperately want more out of life and I have made so many changes to live life to the fullest. Check out these five things I’m doing to live more intentionally.
Less Screen Time
This is definitely a hard one for all of us. Our entire lives are based around technology. Specifically, I had two businesses that required me to constantly be attached to my phone. If I miss out on a client’s inquiry that meant I could potentially miss out on an order and income for our family. I can’t count the number of times I shooed my children away so that I could focus on what I had to get done on my phone. I don’t want that to be something they’re constantly worried about. “I can’t talk to mommy because she’s busy on her phone.” How many moments have I missed out on because I was too busy looking at my phone?
I’m also applying this concept to my children’s lives. We agreed to put their tablets up until the weekend. That’s had a huge impact on my two year old because I could tell she was really starting to become addicted to watching her videos and playing games. We were much stricter when Maddie was younger, but sometimes we did find ourselves just shoving technology in their face to occupy them for a while. Instead, I should have been shoving a book in their hand or giving them crayons or toys to play with. This really has had a positive impact on how we interact as a family unit.
What exactly does it mean to decrease your responsibilities? Do you ever find yourself doing things simply because you feel obligated? Is it difficult for you to say “no” to others? Are you on multiple work, school or church committees? Do you work multiple jobs? All of these are responsibilities that we have the option of decreasing, in my opinion (the 2nd job isn’t always optionally I know).
I worked so hard to build my small businesses to where they were. I was bringing in thousands with my photography and tumbler crafting businesses, but the trade off was less time with my family. There were so many nights I was frustrated and rushed the kids to be so that I could simply stay up late to work on orders. More times than not, I found myself waking up at 3 am to work on orders or edit images prior to working my shift as a nurse. It. Was. Exhausting. I truly did love it, really. I love being creative. I love making beautiful things, but I love my family more. So, I let both go, for now. My photography business is on an indefinite hold. As for my tumbler business, right now I’m just enjoying making things for fun, especially with my children. Then, I’m selling said items. So I’m still doing something I love. I just found a way to balance it in a way that accommodates my family.
Another way I’m decreasing my responsibilities is by changing jobs. My previous job was so hard. Our hospital takes on the sickest of the sickest patients. As compensation they did pay fairly well. However, at what point is money a fair enough trade off for emotional, mental and physical exhaustion? I had absolutely nothing left to give to my family when I came home. So, I prayed, trusted God, and took a leap of faith to a different job. The work load is substantially less, but what comes with that? Less money. Believe it or not, since we started back attending church regularly and tithing appropriately, we have not had a need that wasn’t met. We are obviously also cutting back on spending and decreasing unnecessary expenses. It’s worth it! I have such peace of mind. I have more energy to interact with my children and husband and with my new job being so close to my house, I’ll have more time to spend with them. More money definitely brought on more problems for us. And for what? You can’t take it with you when you die, so live more minimally and enjoy life now.
I know so many people feel like minimalism is just a fad, but it truly is a way of life that makes you stop and enjoy the simple things. Our “need” to have more stuff really makes life more complicated. More stuff means you’re spending more money, you have more to keep organized, and you don’t necessarily appreciate the things you already have. No, my children don’t need another toy. They have a room full of toys. When we decluttered their toy room, we found so many things that they forgot they even had. They were perfectly happy playing with those few items! Kids mirror what they see. If we show them we are happy with less, they’ll learn to be also. Minimalism can apply to so many areas of your life. Let’s stop wasting our money and effort on things that don’t matter or that simply complicate our lives! I have several posts about how our family is moving toward living a more minimal lifestyle. Find them here and here.
Traveling is one of the best ways you can live more intentionally. There are so many beautiful places in this world. Get out and see them! Not only does traveling help you build new memories, but it decreases stress. Have you ever just arrived to a destination and felt a sense of calm? This is particularly how I feel any time I’m near a body of water. There is just something healing about the ocean. You stop, take in the moment and truly appreciate life. Some of my favorite memories are at the beach with my husband and children. My best friend and I just went recently for a day trip and that was beyond needed.
Speaking of traveling, this is something we really need to expose our children to. Stop wasting all this money and stress on ridiculous birthday parties. I don’t know about ya’ll, but I’m so sick of putting in all of that work for one day. From now on, I plan on letting my children (as they get older) pick a place within a certain proximity on a map and we travel there for their birthday! Traveling creates memories that they will never forget! It also exposes them to new things. They learn to respect and become interested in the world around them. I didn’t travel much as a child, maybe 5 times? My girls have already been on more trips in their lifetime than I’d be on by the time I was an adult. They’re only two and five. And we don’t plan on stopping anytime soon!
Lastly, self-care is an important way that I’m living more intentionally. Moms, self-care is more than an occasional bubble bath and wine. Self-care is something we need to practice daily. This is caring for yourself mentally, spiritually, emotionally and physically. What does that look like for me? I changed my job. I read my bible and make my relationship with God a priority. If I’m healthy spiritually everything else falls in to place. I make sure I get down time and I do something I enjoy with that time. Right now I love playing The Sims 4 on my PS4. I started back working out but really need to commit to a regimen! Most importantly, I say “no!” No, I don’t want to go to your event. No, I’m not taking orders right now. No, we’re skipping that birthday party so we can have family time. No, I won’t be hanging out with toxic people or putting myself in uncomfortable social situations. Nope. No. Not happening. It feels good! Set healthy boundaries. That’s what self-care is all about. Completely taking care of your self. We are notorious for taking care of everyone else and neglecting ourselves. Moms, we matter. We have got to do better. When we’re happy, we’re able to give more of ourselves to our families, friends and careers.